Three Kings Narrative Techniques

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“Three Kings” (“Es ist schoen Koenig zu sein”) is a 1999 war film written and directed by David O. Russell. It tells the story of four American soldiers in the immediate aftermath of “Operation Desert Storm” in Kuwait and Iraq, as they scheme to find a secret trove of stolen Iraqi gold. While the film contains unique filmmaking and narrative techniques, it has clear signs marking it as a traditional American three-act film. In the first act (Set-up in Syd Field’s “Paradigm”), we see the exposition of the film. The viewer is introduced to the main characters and the backdrop of the story. An interesting aspect to this film is that it wavers between two central protagonists – Troy, a sergeant who has just become a father, and Archie, a major who is about to retire but is unhappy with his job. We also get an introduction to the world in which the characters operate. The very first scene sees a group of unprofessional, uncertain American soldiers on patrol in the desert. When they see a possible armed assailant in the distance, there is confusion about whether or not to shoot – after all, the war has just ended. Troy kills the enemy, and we learn that this is their first experience of action. Meanwhile, Major Archie is assigned to be press liaison to an American TV reporter. He is unhappy with his assignment and even questions the purpose and aim of the war. His captain orders him to keep his head down and just do the job. Nine minutes into the film, the inciting incident
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