Bottle Money and, The Audience’s Expectations of the Mystery Drama

Tyler, Rebekah Emily
Bancroft, Andrew
Zander, Bianca
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Master of Creative Writing
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Auckland University of Technology

The objective of my exegesis is twofold. Firstly I want to explore the key elements of the mystery drama in an attempt to write a screenplay that lives up to the expectations of the genre’s audience because, “constant exposure to a previous succession of films has led the audience to recognize certain formal elements as charged with an accretion of meaning” (Grant, 1995, p. 21). As a result I intend to study these formal elements, otherwise known as key signifiers, within the mystery drama, by looking at film exemplars within this genre and related literature. In particular, I will analyse Winter’s Bone (Kranik, 2010), Mystic River (Eastwood, 2003) and 21 Grams (Iñárritu, 2003), films that belong to the mystery drama genre. These films also contain themes of family, grief, guilt and revenge, which bring me to my second objective. I intend to explore how the mystery drama genre can assist me in the exploration of themes in Bottle Money explore the crippling effect that the disappearance of Emily’s 6-year-old sister Amy has had, not only on her, but also on her family and the wider community. In particular I want to focus on Emily’s 9- year-old niece Katy, who is denied her childhood because she has to take on adult responsibilities, and also local pig farmer Ben, who Emily’s mother Katherine and many of the local townsfolk have accused of being involved in Amy’s disappearance. I aim to research the structure of screenplays and contemporary theories of screen narrative to see how this can support my aim to write a screenplay that contains strong themes and falls within the genre of mystery drama.

Film genre , Audience expecation
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