American Gangster

FR Release: 2007-11-14

US Release: 2007-11-01

Length: 02:30:28

Director: Ridley Scott

Studio: Universal Pictures

Protagonist: Frank Lucas

Actor: Denzel Washington

Protagonist present: 30.9%

Protagonist speaking: 4.62%



There are four primary visualizations that share a common horizontal relationship with time. Vertical white hash marks mark the film's duration at 15-minute intervals. Attributes across all four visualizations (and across films) are aligned vertically to allow comparison along a single point in time.

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Presence Attributes

Participants coded six presence attributes that describe shot types, ranging from the extreme close-up to the extreme long shot. These variations are expressed through both color and height. The taller the individual mark, the further the camera is from the protagonist, and vice-versa. The six shot types are color-coded as follows:

  • Extreme long shot
  • Long shot
  • Medium shot
  • Medium close-up
  • Close-up
  • Extreme close-up

Presence and Speech

Participants marked any time when the protagonist was present in a scene. Shot cuts or reframing were marked as a new 'presence,' so multiple present timestamps might be marked before a corresponding absence. The orange bars in the second visualization represent the band of duration from an opening 'present' tag to a closing 'absent' tag. The green bars represent time segments when the protagonist is speaking. In cases where a green bar has no corresponding orange bar underneath, the protagonist is speaking in voice-over. Thus, their voice is heard, but they are not bodily present.

Absence Attributes

Absences were coded with three possible attributes, depending on how the protagonist left the scene: Shot cuts (i.e. edits), a camera movement, or exiting the frame on his or her own accord. In the former two cases, absence is directorial decision, while the latter cases assumes the character's own 'agency' (within the narrative). The third visualization represents the shot cut attribute as centered purple tick marks. When the camera moves, these are marked as green ticks below the center lines, while the protagonist's exits are marked as green ticks above the center lines.

Acts of Violence

The fourth visualization represents four types of violence, as follows:

  • Blue triangles indicate when the protagonist commits non-lethal violence
  • Pink circles indicate when the protagonist is wounded
  • Yellow diamonds indicate when the protagonist commits murder
  • White squares indicate when the protagonist is killed

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