Sequence Review: Six Feet Under Opening Theme
The sequence opens with the sharp “ping” of a piano key and a teal sky inhabited solely by the main characters name and a crow. The camera pans down to a grassy meadow with a tree in the background, and symmetrically grasped hands in the foreground. As the hands unclasp, the music chimes again and another actor’s name is shown in the middle of the screen. The body of the opening credits consists of tasks done by the caretaker between the death, and burial of a person; wheeling the body toward the morgue, washing ones hands before handling the cadaver, making up the face, putting out flowers, and carrying the casket from the hearse to the tombstone. If you didn’t know already, Six Feet Under is a show about a family who runs a funeral home, who must prepare a funeral service every episode.
There is nothing for me in this opening sequence which is unnecessary, or out of place. I think that it all works quite well. The consistently morbid tone works well for this opening sequence for obvious reasons. They achieve this tone, not only through subject matter, but also through a muted color palette, and elevator-esqe music for their theme song. I also enjoyed the way the flowers were shown dying, which kept the theme of death prominent in the shot in a very interesting way. In keeping with this theme, the sequence is finally ended with a shot of a tree, which quickly ignites and burns to a crisp, showing death yet again in unexpected way. Overall I think this sequence was masterfully filmed and thought out.