An Example of Tension

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This week, my other half introduced me to the Batman Movies.

*Spoiler Alert*

In The Dark Knight Rises, there is a scare that no one must cross this particular bridge. We’ve been following Police Officer Blake, who knows that irrespective of the reason they mustn’t cross, the city is about to be harmed, and thus that he needs to try to get some children to safety on the other side.

As a viewer, (though Blake doesn’t know this) we know that the button for “someone is crossing that bridge” has been deactivated.

So when Blake pleads with those blocking the bridge; that no matter what happens, the city is doomed; I, as a viewer, thought “come on, he’s trustworthy, let them through. And it’s been deactivated.”

I was completely thrown when they cut off the bridge with explosives; the only option for escape in the city.

~

Novels are frequently described as “work out what a character wants, then stop them getting it. Repeat until the final scene.”

This was a great example of tension for me – I knew something the character didn’t, he then knew something the person guarding the bridge didn’t; and both I and Blake knew the best thing would be for them to let the bus through.

But the fear of the guards and their orders won out; and we felt Blake’s anguish as he swore at them before returning to try and give the children some hope back.

What are your favourite examples of tension?

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