The opening lines below are from Gone Baby Gone, a film directed by Ben Affleck and set in Dorchester, a working class district near Boston. In just a few sentences, we are introduced to the narrating protagonist ("I find the people who started in the cracks and then fell through"), to his environment (poor and run-down but strong and proud), and to his origins (religious upbringing in a tough neighbourhood). The latter we infer from the advice his priest gives to the narrator as a child, and which sticks with us ("You are sheep among wolves. Be wise as serpents, yet innocent as doves.").
It's a short, sharp, and sincere opening.
It's all a good opening should be.
"I always believed it was the things you don't choose that make you who you are. Your city, your neighborhood, your family. People here take pride in these things, like it was something they'd accomplished. The bodies around their souls, the cities wrapped around those. I lived on this block my whole life; most of these people have. When your job is to find people who are missing, it helps to know where they started. I find the people who started in the cracks and then fell through. This city can be hard.
When I was young, I asked my priest how you could get to heaven and still protect yourself from all the evil in the world. He told me what God said to His children. 'You are sheep among wolves. Be wise as serpents, yet innocent as doves.' "