Friday, April 6, 2012

Anatomy of a Scene: Metropolitan

By the time it dawns upon Tom that he's in love with Audrey, we're in the last ten minutes of Metropolitan. What's worse, she isn't around. She's left with a friend for the villainous Von Sloneker's beach house, and Tom and Charlie are going crazy at the thought of what might be going on in that den of vice. And sure enough, when they reach there, the friend and Von S are in a state of undress. Audrey, though, is reading a book and looking bored. Tom announces his intentions: he's here to collect Audrey. A scuffle breaks out and Tom pulls a gun; in keeping with the innate civility of the movie, no blood is shed, and the matter is settled in seconds.

We join Audrey and Tom talking on the beach. She is clearly happy that he came all the way to perform a rather unnecessary rescue, but she's committed herself earlier in the movie, and it didn't go well, so it'll be up to Tom this time. They're getting closer - there's a touch of the hair here, a hint of a future meeting there. Audrey decides to take a chance and clear up something important. Van Sloneker had said in parting, "Get outta here and take this flat-chested, goody-goody, pain in the neck", to which Tom had replied, "She's not a goody-goody". That's all very well, but Audrey now wants to know, "Do you really think I'm really flat-chested?" Tom starts by saying he hadn't thought about it, then retracts the statement, finally stating , "You look really great, and that's what's important". As Audrey smiles shyly, Charlie, who's been walking towards them from a distance, comes into focus, and stands over the couple like a priest at the altar. He's been a rival for Audrey's affections, but has grown closer to Tom since, and more importantly, he realises Audrey's just got the reassurance she was looking for. He takes a breath and relaxes his shoulders; if you look carefully, you'll see the ghost of a hope leave him. With a sublimely inscrutable look on his face, he smiles, and the camera cuts away to the otherwise deserted beach. The last scene sees the three of them walking down the road, trying to hitch a ride home.

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