1st September 2017

William Parcher continued

William Parcher

At the Pentagon

First appears when John is deciphering Russian codes at the Pentagon.

John has just explained to the general that the codes are “latitudes and longitudes,” and they “appear to be routing orders across the border into the US.” The General replies: “extraordinary.” A close-up shows John smile and look up. In a low angle, point of view medium-shot (from John’s perspective), a man in a almost surrounded by darkness is seen looking down at John. He has a black hat, black suit and black tie. Light appears enough to shine on his face. John asks the General “who’s Big Brother?” A medium shot focuses on the General who ignores the question and says: “You have done your country a great service.” “A close-up shows John looking slightly disappointed.” The General asks a captain to “Accompany Dr Nash” and John replies “Why are the Russians moving, General?” The General steps forward and says, “Captain Rogers will escort you to the unrestricted area, Doctor.” John looks slightly annoyed and looks up and in a point of view shot sees the shadowed man watching.

Outside Wheeler Labs

A long shot shows John walking out of the Wheeler Laboratory after dark; he has just finished his working day. Light shines on the stairs behind him. As the camera pans to the left, the viewer hears, “Professor Nash” and a point of view shot shows the man in the dark suit and hat, standing on the steps. John walks to the man who introduces himself as “William Parcher” and “Big Brother.” A close up shot focuses on William’s opened wallet with his identification. John says, “What can I do for the Department of Defense?” As the men walk, William says, “Impressive work at the Pentagon” with John replying “yes it was.” Williams says, “Oppenheimer says genius sees the answer before the question” and “his project was under my supervision.”

Side note:

“Oppenheimer was the wartime head of the Los Alamos Laboratory and is among those who are credited with being the “father of the atomic bomb” for their role in the Manhattan Project (producing the first nuclear weapons), the World War II undertaking that developed the first nuclear weapons used in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” (Wikipedia) 

John and William talk about the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and William says, “We incinerated 150,000 people in a heartbeat.” John replies, “Great deeds come at great cost,” but William answers, “Conviction, it turns out, is a luxury of those on the sidelines, Mr Nash.” William asks John why he has, “No family, no close friends.” John says, “I like to think it’s because I’m a lone wolf, but mainly it’s because people don’t like me.” William clarifies, “There are personal endevours where your lack of personal connection would be considered an advantage.”

A medium shot shows William and John walk through the security gate. John shows his identification but William says, “They know me.” As the men walk towards a warehouse, John says, “we were told in our initial briefing, these warehouses were abandoned.” William responds, “That’s not precisely accurate.” Ominous non-diegetic music is heard as John and William walk out of the shadows, into an artificially lit room.  A series of long shots and close ups show men in white coats leaning over dashboards of lit buttons. Radio frequencies and foreign languages can be heard faintly. The camera pans around John in a close-up and he looks inspired.

William says, “I am increasing your security clearance to top secret.” A long shot shows William use a remote to turn on a television in the wall. John looks at it and says, “those are a good idea.” Close-ups of black and white television footage show a factory and scientists. William says, “Nazis were attempting to build a portable atomic bomb. The Soviets reached this facility and we lost the damn thing.” John makes the connection, “The routing orders at the Pentagon, they were about this, weren’t they?” William focuses John and says that the Soviets, “intend to detonate it on U.S soil.” A black and white close-up shows a nuclear bomb wiping out a farm area. William says, “man is capable of as much atrocity as he has imagination.” William explains that the Soviets are communicating to their agents in the U.S. “through codes imbedded in newspapers and magazines.”

William asks John to decipher the codes. In a close-up he states, “what distinguishes you is that you are, quite simply, the best natural code-breaker, I’ve ever seen.” In a reverse close-up, John smiles and looks affirmed. He says, “What exactly is it, that you would like me to do?” The scene shifts and a panel with flashing buttons is shown. John is told to “commit this list of periodicals to memory.” A close-up shows John lean in to a lit scope, and William says, “scan each issue, find any hidden codes, decipher them.”

A doctor and a technician get John to “stare into the light” and a medium shot shows John with equipment around his body. A piece of equipment is placed over his arm and the doctor says, “This may be uncomfortable.” A quick screeching noise occurs and a close-up shows the machine press into John’s arm as he groans. William explains, “He just implanted a radio diode.” A close-up shows black light and red numbers over John’s arms. William says, “they’re the access codes to your drop spot.” John stares at his arm and says, “What am I now, a spy?”

What does William represent in this scene? Why is he important?

John creates this world because he wants work that is at his level of his genius. He also uses it to stroke his own ego by saying that he is the best natural code breaker there ever was.

When John gets married

John and Alicia are surrounded by family and look happy. In a medium shot, John looks across the street and lifts his chin, acknowledging someone. A point-of view shot shows William Parcher staring from a black car across the road. He looks smugly at John, then stares straight ahead.

Car chase scene– (see individual notes)

An instance of John defying his delusions, when he says no to William when asked to shoot out of the window. This is him starting to restrict their influence and opinions.

At John’s office at Wheeler Labs

John is unshaven, unkempt and in a close-up, stares out of the door of his office. As he walks out of his office, a close-up shows him get his keys and the viewer hears, “John.” An over the shoulder shot shows William Parcher. John states, “This is not what I signed up for.” William replies, “I understand, better than you could possibly imagine.” As the men walk through the office door, a security official seated at the entrance of the building stares towards John’s office. Inside the office in a series of medium shots, John and William talk. William says, “You need to calm down, John. We’re closing in on the bomb, in large part due to your work. Now don’t you think your fear is a small price to pay?” John states, “Alicia’s pregnant.” A close-up shows William thinking, then he states, “I told you attachments were dangerous. You chose to marry the girl, I did nothing to prevent it.” A close-up shows John look up alarmed. In a medium shot, William puts his hands on his hips, revealing his gun in a holster. He says, “The best way to ensure everyone’s safety, is for you to continue your work.” In a close-up, John says, “I’ll just quit.” In a reverse shot, William says, “You won’t.” John asks, “Why not?” William replies, “Because I keep the Russians knowing you work for us. You quit working for me, I quit working for you.” A close-up shows John upset and thinking. As William walks out the door, John goes after him, yelling, “Parcher!” but William walks into the darkness. Sol appears in a medium shot, stating “John are you alright?” but in a close-up, John turns away and goes back into his office.

What does William represent in this scene? Why is he important?

The situation with John’s delusions is becoming more and more dangerous. John is trying to remove him from his life but it is really hard to do. Giving up these addictions is a difficult struggle, as they keep revisiting him whenever he tries to get rid of them.

John stops taking his medication

A medium shot shows John sitting at his desk. Alicia has given him his pills, and she is “going to bed.” The relationship is obviously strained. John takes the pills and a close-up shows him put them in a tin where others are. As ominous non-diegetic music is heard, a low-angle close-up shows John stare at the newspaper and light flashes on it, as patterns of letters rise. John grabs his pencils and starts underlining words. A clattering is heard at the window and a series of point of view long shots show a soldier running by the windows. John runs out into the garden in the dark and follows the soldier he can see, moving deeper into the woods. A light shines on John’s face as rifles are cocked. William Parcher’s voice is heard, “Good to see you, John.” John looks angry and screams, “You’re not real.” In a close-up, William says, “Of course I am. Don’t be ridiculous.” John tries to run but a line of soldiers with guns and lights, cock their rifles. William says, “It’s time for you to get back to work. The bomb is in it’s final position here in the U.S.” William explains that they have made it easier for John to “keep a low profile” and a long shot shows William take John to a darkened shed. As soon as John enters the shed, electricity comes on and lights flick showing radio transmitters and military men setting up equipment and listening to frequencies. William says, “Look at this, John.” In a close-up, John smiles and moves away from Parcher. He says, “Dr Rosen says..” William slams the clip board down on the desk and says, “Rosen! That quack! Schizophrenic break from reality” right? Psychological bullshit! Look at me John.” As William holds his arms out, he says: “Do I look like I’m imagined?” “I can restore your status at Wheeler. I can let the world know what you did. But I need you now, soldier.” In a close-up, John sits down, wide-eyed and says, “I was so scared you weren’t real.”

What does William represent in this scene? Why is he important?

William represents a validation of genius for John, ‘I’ll let the world know what you did.”

He re-convinces him that the delusions are real and magnifies the difficulties that he is facing with the illness. He also represents the location of his imaginations. The place of his delusions is in a little shack way out in the woods, showing that he is being separated from his family more than ever.


Alicia tries to phone Dr Rosen

A long shot shows Alicia holding her son in a towel and trying to phone Dr Rosen’s office. William’s voice is heard: “You’ve got to stop her, John.”  And a point of view shot shows William in one corner of the room. Ominous music is heard as a close-up shot shows John saying, “You leave her out of this.” A close-up shot shows Alicia says, Who are you talking to?” William moves towards John and says, ”She’ll compromise us again, you’ll go back to the hospital, countless people will dies. I can’t let that happen.” In a close-up, William takes his gun and moves towards Alicia. John moves towards William and knocks Alicia over. The baby is crying and she screams, “Get away from me!” John states, “I didn’t mean to hurt you,” as Alicia runs out of the front door in a long shot. William says, “Finish her. She knows too much now.” In a close-up, Marcee’s hand is seen to take John’s and a close-up shows her pleading with John. William says, “Take care of her, you pathetic piece of shit, or I’ll take care of you.” In a medium shot, Charles appears and says, “Do what he says.” A medium shot shows William rasie his gun stating, “Move shoulder.” The camera reverses and shows William on John’s other side. A close-up shows Marcee looking up at John. The camera spins around John as a series of flashbacks and mumbling is heard. John states, “Charles and Marcee cannot co-exist with Alicia.” Finally, the viewer hears John state, “I understand.”

What does William represent in this scene? Why is he important?

He resists the delusions and it then becomes violent with him then hurting Alicia

William torments John when he returns to Princeton

John has asked Martin Hanson (the current Head of Mathematics at Princeton) if he can “hang around” the campus at Princeton, just to be in familiar surroundings. Martin says that they have always been “friends” and he agrees to John’s request. The film cuts to a long shot of Martin running down a darkened staircase when someone alerts him to “this guy tries to come into the library without a library card.” A high angle shot from Martin’s perspective show John erratically moving around in circles, screaming “You’re not real!” He is surrounded by students. From A close up shot from John’s perspective shows William in front of him screaming: “Is this what you are, soldier? Some useless ghoul? The local madman!” The camera spins to show John with his head down, cigarette hanging out of his mouth and people staring. John is mumbling, “I’m not a solider.” William states, “You’ll end up in a cell.” “While you rock and drool, the world will burn to ashes!” In a long shot, John screams, “You’re not real!” IN a close-up, William states, “You’re still talking to me soldier!.” Martin arrives to calm John and holds his shoulders in a close-up. However, a final long shot shows John moving out of the crowd, distressed.

  • as long as John speaks to the delusions they will continue to have influence on his life, this is the last time Parcher is involved significantly as John begins to shut them out even more so.


After John gets married, William Parcher begins to assert more “control” over John. Why do you think this is?

Car chase scene with William Parcher

Background: John has been instructed by William Parcher to decipher codes in magazines and written media publications. He packages his findings in a sealed envelope and drops the material at a secret location and designated mailbox. Numbers in a radium diode in his arm, give the “access code” for the gate.

    • An extreme close-up shows the glowing numbers “769342” which are unveiled in John’s arm under ultra-violet light.
    • A low angle close-up shows John breathing heavily as he punches in the numbers on a keypad.
    • A creaky sound of gate opening is heard.
    • A high-angle shot of John walking through the gate in semi-darkness accentuates how vulnerable he feels in this location, dropping off secret documents.
    • A single overhead light, isolates him on the path, light an insignificant figure in a larger space.
  • The location and date: Cambridge, MA- October 1954 is shown.
  • Eerie classical music adds to the intimidating atmosphere.
  • A long shot shows John walk back through the closing gate and a headlight shines on his face.
  • A long shot shows a black car speedily pull up in front of the gate with a license plate titled: “US Government.”
  • Bright lighting from the vehicle hits John’s frightened face in a close-up.
  • A medium shot shows William Parcher who says, “Get in, hurry.”
  • John gets in the vehicle and the hum of the engine adds to the suspense of the scene.
  • William Parcher says, “They’re following us.”
  • A series of close-up shots of John, his face lit up by trailing headlights and reverse shots of a following vehicle are used to establish a fearful chase scene.
  • John says, “Who’s following us?”
  • A low angle, close-up shows the superior figure of William Parcher looking down at John saying: “The drop has been compromised.”
  • A gun shot is heard and an extreme closeup shows a smashed hole through the back window.
  • Parcher yells, “Get down!”
  • John is seen in a medium shot to lower in the seat in fear. He is breathing heavily.
  • A dutch angle medium shot is used to show Parcher’s erratic driving as he nearly crashes into another vehicle.
  • A close-up focuses on the wheel of Parcher’s car, splashing into a puddle near the curb.
  • The dutch angle continues, briefly breaking to show a close-up of John panting, and then continuing (as if from John’s perspective) to show the vehicle nearly hit an oncoming taxi.
  • The taxi’s horn is heard.
  • A medium shot shows Parcher turning the steering wheel quickly to avoid oncoming traffic.
  • A point of view from John’s perspective shows a black car with bright headlights still following them.
  • A long shot shows a street wall with the shadows of the cars following each other.
  • William Parcher’s car is shown in a full shot to make it appear more dominant and the situation more precarious.
  • Gunfire is heard from the car behind.
  • A crane shot is used to show the cars trailing one another down a narrow deserted street.
  • An extreme close up shows a bullet hit the front window as gunfire is heard.
  • A close-up shows bullet sparks as they hit the front of the car.
  • A low-angle medium shot of Parcher looking down at John is shown. He says: “Take this” and he reaches out a gun to John.
  • A close-up shows John fearfully saying: “I ain’t shooting anybody.”
  • William Parcher is seen in a close-up, low angle shot yelling at John in semi-darkness: “Take the goddam gun!”
  • A close-up shows John petrified as he yells, “No!”
  • A medium shot shows Parcher swear under his breath and turn around to shoot at the car behind.
  • An extreme-close-up in slow motion shows the gun being fired and the bullet case being released from the top. The sound of the gunfire is slow and increased in volume.
  • A close-up shows John burying his head.
  • A medium shot shows the gun being fired through the broken rear window.
  • A wide angle lens shows the car following with a bullet hole in the front screen.
  • A series of dutch angle shots are used to show Parcher’s perspective as he drives in an out of alleyways to get away from the chasing vehicle.
  • A close-sup shot shows John looking out of the window.
  • Parcher is heard to say: “Stay back, don’t move.”
  • A close-up shows a man in the other car driving to the side of Parcher’s vehicle.
  • Out of the darkness a gun is fired.
  • John screams.
  • A series of medium shot show Parcher lean over John and fire at the men. The glass is broken and reverse shots show Parcher continues to fire.
  • In a slow motion close-up both men are shot, a scream and tyre wheels are heard.
  • A series of extreme close ups show Parcher’s foot on the break peddle and his wheel screeching to a top.
  • A long shot shows Parcher’s car come to a stop before a boat ramp.
  • A long shot shows the “enemy car” plunge into the water.
  • A close up shows John horrified at the outcome.
  • Music swells as the vehicle sinks into the water.
  • A long shot shows Parcher get out of the car to see the sinking vehicle.
  • A close up shows John staring at the water in disbelief.

Question: What is the purpose of this scene? What does the cinematography show?

What do we learn about William Parcher and John’s delusional life from this scene?

Significant details about William Parcher

  • Mysterious
  • Scary
  • Superior
  • Serious
  • Dangerous
  • Important

    Scene: John is at the Pentagon, first time we see William Parcher

    What is John doing/what is going on around John when William appears?

    What film techniques are used in specific scenes to introduce William?

  • Low POV shot – from John’s perspective to show William, only John can see him

    What film techniques are used to show Williams’ behaviour?

    What does William represent in John’s life?

  • William is the paranoia that John experiences. Could be brought on by stress.
  • William brings him a purpose, intellectual stimulation when he is bored William gives him more work.
  • William represents the intellectual support that John needs.

Scene: Outside Wheeler Labs

What is John doing/what is going on around John when William appears?

He is leaving Wheeler labs, going home after work, where it is dark, implying that he has been working all day on something he hasn’t been enjoying.

What film techniques are used in specific scenes to introduce William?

What film techniques are used to show Williams’ behaviour?


What does William represent in John’s life?

Respond now!