Friday, March 06, 2009
The Denny's Mafia
This Denny's Super Bowl commercial appears to be in the form of a narrative. Although you don't see the beginning or end you can conclude from the information where it is going, and what has already happened.
These three men are in a meeting about someone they know who may have ratted them out. Benny, the person who supposedly "talked", has caused this meeting. The conclusion to the Benny story isn't fully in words, but when one of them says "I think it's time we let everyone know what happens to people..." you can assume they plan on doing something to Benny based on any preconceived notion of what gangsters do.
The mise en scene of this particular commercial also helps portray these men as mafia or mobsters. They have their Italian accents, and they are dressed in stereotypical mafia clothing. The lighting of the scene is pretty bright, where it looks like it may be very early morning.
Since this is shot in a Denny's they also have the set right. Many booths for seating, and the waitress is dressed up in a uniform with a name tag. The shot of the table also shows the different kinds of syrups, and three plates of widely accessorized pancake platters.
The cinematography includes mostly medium close ups, except for the opening shot which is more of a long shot to establish the location. The camera angle is straight for the conversation between the men, until the waitress comes in with the whipped cream. Then there is a low angle shot of her applying the whipped cream, and a high angle shot of the smiley face she is applying to the pancakes. There also appears to be some sort of fuzzy filter applied to the camera, which gives me the feeling of The Godfather movie.
The editing of this scene is a transparent spatio-temporal continuity where it presents a scene in a single space and time, where the scene holds many different shot and then reverse shot angles.
I think the production of this commercial was very successful in humor and getting their message out at the same time. The "serious breakfast" slogan allows them to have a scene where it appears to be very serious, more or less about the death of one of their friends, which then allows them to show these "tough guys" getting very childish platters of pancakes.