The Sentinel Winner
Unless I miss my guess
But first a story
Two decades ago I walked through a consignment shop and saw a pair of table lamps. They stand chest high to me and take two people to carry, big cast-bronze things. Maybe-Asian, maybe-Celtic designs cover the bronze. If the house burns down, these lamps will survive. After I bought them and left my phone number, the seller called. He was a friend I hadn’t seen since high school. Decades later, by accident, we’re back in touch because I bought the lamps he’d put up for sale.
More recently a friend sent me a magazine picture of Jennifer Aniston’s bedroom.
Flanking her bed are lamps identical to mine. Big bronze monsters. Just another example of how objects can unify a story? Who knows?
Now the runners up
All of the following are morphing objects:
The cufflinks, the birthday cakes, the crucifix, the ring, the magic tricks.
But they’re not the central metaphor I was looking for.
Finally, the winner!
As the Sentinel, Allison Parker is in effect the canary in the coal mine. If there’s poison gas, she raises the alarm. So, yes, the cages and the yellow bird are the morphing object that suggests her fate throughout the movie.
As I see the order of Comments, it looks like Josh is the winner. If that’s wrong, someone let me know, please. Oliver also recognized the cages and bird, but he logged in after Josh.
Note how the birthday orgy scene gets real when the father knocks over the cage? That’s the old trick of, “If you want to ramp up tension, put an animal in peril.” Our hearts leap at the idea of a bird in danger, and our empathetic panic transfers to Allison. Likewise, Michael offers her a very big cage with his penthouse. The cage and the penthouse merge as she’s ensconced in the top-floor apartment. As the canary.
So, Josh, congratulations. Please send Dennis your snail mail address, here. If you’re outside the States, please include a phone number for the Customs people.
Sorry about the bother
I keep adding to the post Try This: One Sentence. These additions amount to a lot of important afterthoughts. It’s worth your time to go back and read the new portions highlighted along the margin in orange. This is likely the most important post I’ve ever made.