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Add in blocking figures to create delays, a hierarchy of villains (from swarthy and unshaven snipers to jowly, white-haired bureaucrats), a few helpers (principally Nicky and Pam), and a string of deadlines, and you have the ingredients of each film.

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More significantly, all three films are quite conventionally plotted.

We have our old friend the amnesiac hero who must search for his identity. It also means a boundary, such as the line between two fields of crops–just as our hero is caught between everyday civil law and the extralegal machinery of espionage.

Within that structure most scenes feature stalking, pursuits, and fights.

In the context of film history, this reliance on crosscutting and chases is a very old strategy, going back to the 1910s; it yields one of the most venerable pleasures of cinematic storytelling.

Mixed into the films is another long-standing device, the protagonist plagued by a nagging suppressed memory.

Developing in tandem with the external action, the fragmentary flashbacks tease us and him until at a climactic moment we learn the source: in , his first kill and his recognition of how he came to be an assassin.

The first shot of the first film shows Jason floating underwater; in the second film he bids farewell to the drowned Marie underwater; and in the last shot of no.

3, we see him submerged in the East River, closing the loop, as if the entire series were ready to start again.

I got so many emails and Web responses, both pro and con, that I began to worry. My opinions have remained unchanged, but that’s not a good reason to write this followup.

I found that looking at all three films together taught me new things and let me nuance some earlier ideas. For the record: I never said that I got dizzy or nauseated.

or, Film Archives and Me: A Semi-Personal History Shklovsky and His “Monument to a Scientific Error” Murder Culture: Adventures in 1940s Suspense The Viewer’s Share: Models of Mind in Explaining Film Common Sense Film Theory = Common-Sense Film Theory?

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