Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Green Mile - Film Technique

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The film “The Green Mile” is an adapted screenplay that was written by Frank Darabont and is based on the novel by Stephen King. It was released in December of 1 and has manu leading actors and actresses. These include Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse, Sam Rockwell, Bonnie Hunt and James Cromwell. The movie used various techniques throughout it. Some of these techniques include the camera shots, the music, the sound and the special effects. These techniques were used to create empathy for John Coffey, but also to sustain interest in it.

The story takes place at a Louisiana Penitentiary, which is nicknamed 'The Green Mile' because of the colour of the faded limestone that makes up the floor. Paul Edgecombe, which is played by Tom Hanks, is the head prison guard at the Penitentiary and is in charge of four other guards. During this time he is suffering from a painful bladder infection. Although things change when he meets a man named John Coffey, which is played by Michael Clarke Duncan. He is a large man with a muscular build and looks like the kind of guy you’d find in a boxing ring, but we discover that he is quite harmless and surprisingly scared of the dark. John has been convinced of raping and murdering two young girls, but Paul doesn’t believe the conviction. He doesn’t believe a man that does things such as curing his bladder infection would do a thing like that.

During the movie extreme close ups are used. They are used in the movie to attract the viewer’s attention and to highlight something important. An example of this is during the first. There was an extreme close up of Pauls as an old man getting ready to retell a story, which happened a very long time ago, it really allows the viewers to watch the man’s facial expressions. Another example is when John and Paul shook hands. The camera zoomed in on this and this suggested a possible future friendship and respect for each.


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Dialogue is used in the movie to explain situations or emphasize certain things. Examples of this are during the start of the when the guard describes the truck how the trucks rear axle is bending and also when he warns the guards of John Coffey’s tremendous size. Another example is when John Coffey is speaking with great respect towards the. The dialogue can also be used to get an idea of what kind of a person the character is by what they say and how they say it.

During the movie many different camera angles are used. The idea of this is to make people feel a certain way or to emphasize things. An example is the shot of Coffey’s feet. This is done so that it builds suspense and the audience is unable to look away until Coffey’s face is shown. The next example is from the height of Coffey’s chest. The effect is once again to emphasize his enormous size. Next is a shot up from the handcuffs and the camera pans up to zoom in on Coffey’s face. This shows us the feelings that John was experiencing while he was entering death row.

The acting of the character also determines how the audience interprets the character. The acting of Michael Clarke Duncan makes his character seem like he is a gentle and fearful person. This would make the audience feel sorry for John Coffee even though he has been convicted of rape and murder.

Camera zooms are used in movies to show the audience anything important or significant. An example of this is when the camera zooms in on Coffey’s face as he says, “I tried to take it back”. It shows the emotions on Coffey’s face at this moment, but also highlights a scene that is important to the storyline.

Editing is used in the movie to make the audience to feel a certain way at a time, but also to get the desired impact on the audience. One of the editing techniques is flashbacks and these are used a few times during the movie. They are used to flashback to the time when Coffey is caught with the two little girls in his arms. It lets us see what really happened when he was caught and wether or not he was guilty of the crimes he was convicted of. In the flashbacks sound is used very commonly to build suspense. In the flashback of Coffey’s crime the music being playing, dogs bark and the two girls screamed dogs and the screaming of the girls all added to the tension and suspense in what was going to happen next. It is also used later on to show his true innocence.

The use of special effects adds greater viewing pleasure for the audience letting them see very remarkable acts of detail. An example of this is when Coffey cured Edgecombe from his bladder infection. He placed his hands over Edgecombe’s organ and immediately his hands began to glow miraculously. After sucking the disease from Edgecombe’s body it entered his and after a few seconds later Coffey spat it out into the air showing us the millions of tiny particles escaping his body.

The scene of “The Green Mile” is very convincing and looks very realistic. The use of an old prison in the movie brings out the realism of the movie making the audience believe what they are seeing to be true. All other details contributed to the believability of the film including the cars, uniform, homes, music etc. This was because they were from the 10’s, the year the movie was set in. The frequent series of executions is used to build up the effect of how unbearable the pain really is and makes us feel sorry for Coffey as he progresses through the line of death row. The song “I can’t give you anything but love” sung by Billie Holiday are finally making love once again after the curing of his bladder infection. The song suggests that Paul has been waiting for this moment for a very long time and truly loves his wife very much.

The techniques used in the film “The Green Mile” are all used to create empathy for John Coffee and sustain interest in the story. Techniques such as close up and camera angles are used to attract the viewer’s attention and also show us many shots and views of the different characters. All of these techniques contributed into portraying the character of John Coffey and add empathy and understanding in the role he was playing as an innocent character.




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