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This technique—of freezing on one frame over which the narrator speaks— would later be used to great effect by Martin Scorsese in his gangster ﬁlm Goodfellas. However, whereas Scorsese implemented this technique to accentuate a pivotal change in Henry Hill’s (the main character) life, Parker uses this Brechtian device to heighten both the whimsicality and the artiﬁce of his highly unique hybridization. The freeze frames in Goodfellas all occur at moments of startling and brutal violence, bolstering the narrative concept of Henry’s life being shaped and deﬁned by his experiences with such.
The voice-over is an archetypal narrative trope of the noir genre, and it has been utilized in the most canonical works of the genre, from Jacques Tourneur’s Out of the Past, to Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard, to the majority of the Humphrey Bogart detective ﬁlms. So, with its implementation, Parker seems to be coaxing us back into crime/noir territory and away from that of horror. However, that which makes this moment jarring is the fact that it is a child’s voice we are hearing—it is not the coarse baritone of Robert Mitchum or the nasally glib recitation of Humphrey Bogart.
The effect is jarring and the kids look somewhat ridiculous as they impersonate gangsters and lip-synch the voices of grown-ups, but it all seems somehow appropriate for a revisionist gangster movie, since the genre often portrayed characters who posture and perform. The ﬁlm also plays on our impression that old gangster ﬁlms now seem quaintly contrived. 10 Berliner and Furia’s review invites a more reasonable reading of this aesthetic audio choice. ” It was always intended to be a self-aware, generic pastiche, so it is both ﬁtting and appropriate that the ﬁlm would accentuate the artiﬁce of performance.