April 11, 2017
The fourth wall is an artistic concept, which presumes an invisible wall that separates the actors from the viewers. It means that the audience can see the actors while the actors cannot see their spectators. Initially, the concept allows the actors to ignore the audience and fully concentrate on their performers. However, the actors “break” the 4th wall from time to time and address their lines directly to the viewers. This artistic device adds a little something to the character, it adds context to the scene and gives a better understanding of a character that audience observes. Want to take a look a t some of the best examples of the 4th wall break in cinema?
The Merc with the mouth is one of few comic book characters who realize that they’re just fictional characters and Wade Wilson aka Deadpool seems to be totally fine with it. Obviously, it was imperative to carry over his ability to break the 4th wall in Deadpool’s first full feature film. In fact, the post-credits scene in the movie is homage to another movie that is famous for its 4th wall breaks.
There was no other way to tell a story of a depressed man with a split personality disorder. And Edward Norton nails that part. Fight Club is full of 4th wall breaks and all of them were delivered beautifully. When you think about it, a lot of Norton’s performances are about personality splits, oftentimes he played two characters in one movie – starting from his earlier films like “Primal Fear”, “The Incredible Hulk” or even “Leaves of Grass “.
Wolf of Wall-Street
Throughout the movie, the character of Leonardo DiCaprio was helping the audience with all of that financial mumbo jumbo. Also, only through the 4th wall break could we understand what a shameless scumbag Jordan Belfort. Talk about shameless, let’s get to the next pick!
Nice segway, eh? This show is a real emotional roller coaster. In addition to its numerous merits, the show also excels at breaking the 4th wall at the beginning of each episode. One of the Gallaghers scolds the viewer who missed previous episodes and tells the crucial plot points to get the viewer up to speed.
House of Cards
This political drama focuses on a path to power of Frank Underwood, a ruthless politician who stops at nothing to achieve his goals. The man even became a president without a single vote cast in his name, which is pretty impressive. Frank had to explicitly explain his actions, thoughts and motives for us, naïve viewers, to comprehend the complexity of Frank’s schemes. Saying that Frank is a bad person is definitely an oversimplification, but you’ll find yourself kind of rooting for him. Needless to say that Kevin Spacey’s performance is beyond amazing and deserves the highest praise.
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
This is the movie that was referenced in the post-credits scene in Deadpool. It’s a great film, it really is. It’s about Ferris Bueller (played by Matthew Broderick), a lazy teenager who decided to skip a day of school. Ferris constantly breaks the 4th wall, so the audience would feel like they’ve been BFFs with Ferris for ages.
Who needs Star Wars and your Rogue Ones when you’ve got Spaceballs? Mel Brooks is a genius and here is another proof of it. Check out the classic comedy called Spaceballs where you could see the character of Rick Moranis (Dark Helmet) finding out the location of damsel in distress by actually watching the VHS of Spaceballs, the movie Dark Helmet is in and the very film we are watching at that moment. So meta!
Dragon Ball Z
As a bonus, we would like to include the iconic anime that is notoriously known for its epic battles that drag on for dozens of episodes. Even the most loyal fans may have missed a moment when a major character of the series had broken the 4th wall. It was done by none other than the prince of all 2 and a half Saiyans after Kid Buu was destroyed. Check it out: