I quite like Sony Pix. And it’s not just because they seem to show some obscure but beautiful movies like David Mamet’s The House of Games. It’s mostly the trailers that do it for me.
In all the other movie channels, you see the commercial trailers, 70% of them starting off with the same voice saying the same words: “In a world where…” With Sony Pix, you don’t see any of that. You see a scene, or part of a scene, with an occasional fade out to a black screen with the credits. That’s it. Simple.
And you know what, it works for me. It doesn’t necessarily tell me what the movie is about, but it tells me, very often, what the experience of watching it would be like. It makes me want to see the movie, more than the normal trailers would.
The scene that made me want to see The House of Games is the one shown in the Sony Pix trailers, where an elderly con-man and his friend demonstrate a simple con to a woman. A man goes to a store, puts down twenty dollars in singles and asks for a twenty dollar bill in exchange to send to his aunt. He takes the twenty and puts it in an envelope and seals it. Meanwhile, the shopkeeper realizes that there are only nineteen singles in the wad he got. So the man gives the shopkeeper the envelope, takes the nineteen dollars back saying he’ll get the remaining dollar from his wife in the car and walks away. The shopkeeper opens the envelope and finds it empty.
It is a simple, uncomplicated scene. But that deceptive simplicity, and the fascination of watching a con unfold and be explained, has a lot to do with how the woman slowly gets sucked into their world.