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Violence And Media Textual Analysis Film Studies Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Film Studies
Wordcount: 1799 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Textual analysis is crucial in film analysis of any kind. Almost all film studies module will always consist of textual analysis as the first assignment. Textual analysis is usually focused on sequences from film or television program. (Anon, 2011). Always stick to the specified text, ensure that the analysis is demonstrably relevant to the asked question. (Anon, n.d.). I am going to analyze the films ‘un-forgiven’ and ‘Seven’ in this article.

Textual analysis of the film ‘unforgiven’

Most of the information on the film Unforgiven attempts to examine several concerns. The concerns include generic issues pertaining to western world, such as violence, screen violence, heroism, justice and myth making, gender relation inequity, and social and political parallels. This criticism tries to identify the most important as the film as ‘Clint Eastwood’ (nexus of most debates). Clint Eastwood finally becomes the measure of how the film succeeds in the topic. Despite the crucial role of this figure, the film tends to conflate the actor, the character and the director as a single ‘Clint Eastwood’.

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Early in the film, William Munny seems to be a family man and great farmer. He will only return to crime if he gets into financial constrains. William Beard suggests that the movie depicts that William Munny was forgiven by his dead wife, Claudia in a period that predates the opening. This led to Munny escaping the “maelstrom of nihilistic compulsive violence and drunken self-obliteration.” (Groves, 2001). Munny is only provoked back to violence by the humiliating death of his old partner, Ned Norgan late in the film.

The film, however, indicates the gradual transformation of Munny. The confession of the criminal is heard without any judgement based on the argument his forgiveness did. Though the past is never forgotten, it is usually displaced. This creates a chance for psychological renewal as that experienced by Munny on marrying Claudia. It’s though worthy noting the past is always present somewhere. It seems that if the criminal does lose or reject forgiveness, he is likely to commit to further crime.

The Schofield Kid reaches at the Munny’s farm to tell him that he was invited by the wronged prostitutes, the mise-en-scene and narrative look simple and clear. Munny is flailing around trying to save his dogs. He listens to the Kid’s story but refuses to accept the young mans plan. He returns to his dogs after the Kid leaves. We can accept his change and rehabilitation. He can be said to be living in self-imposed prison. He tells the kid that he thought he was coming to kill him for something he had done in old days. Before living for Big Whiskey, he tells his children that the dogs were getting even worse because of cruelty he had caused on other animals before he mate their late mum.

In their discussion, the kid reminds them how their uncle Pete Sathau implicated Munny as “the meanest goddamn sonofabitch alive.” (Groves, 2001). Munny only replies, “Pete said that, huh”? At this point, Munny’s children appear at the door and the conversation changes. Munny refers to Claudia, acclaiming her profound influence on him.

The night scenes on the train still portray the divided character of Munny. He expresses his sorrow to the crimes he committed to Logan, insisting his redemption was never jeopardized. The only source of light is the camp lamb and the men are surrounded by darkness. The camera shot is taken at about 45 degrees at the time Buddy refers to his former associate, Eagle (Hendershot) who hated him . Munny’s face is bathed in the lamb’s golden glow, but we can see little else of remaining body, his cloth blending into the darkness. As Logan goes to sleep, Munny remain seated in a rigid posture trying to keep warm with the overcoat. We have an impression that he is trying to protect himself from mental darkness surrounding him. Though the manner his face is illuminated is halo reminiscent, there is question on his forgiveness. This account is further reinforced next evening when the kid joins them. Munny’s determination during this period implies internal struggle. The kid questions him about his past deeds upon which Munny participates reluctantly. Munny remains stationery covered in a blanket throughout the whole scene. Though the lighting is brighter than the previous scene, his face is harder to see because of flickering light of the burning wood and his distance from the camera. It is hard to separate his forgiven present from damned aspects of the past. This is reinforced when they meet the prostitutes the following day. Munny gets a bout of fever and hallucinations which seems to be psychological: the threatening ‘darkness’ now seems to overwhelm Munny. This is further emphasized by the mise en scene where Munny adopts a similar posture as the previous night. He seems to be hiding and his eyes are obscured by his hat and the fact that the scene is shot from above or face level. His face disappears; his ‘halo’ has been replaced y shadow of darkness. The room has a smoky dim appearance and the characters seem to blend with the saloon surrounding- the brown color of the customs clothing resembles those of the walls and fixtures. This depiction of saloon and Munny tries to imply the hardship in separating good from bad, aggressor from victim.

In Greely’s, Munny refuses Logan’s offer of whisky, he refuses to have coitus with a prostitute. He does not hit back soon when the sheriff attacks him. Little Bill Dagget implies that Munny belongs to men he refers: “assassins and men of low character”. There two camera shots when Logan asks Munny if he wants a prostitute. In the beginning, his face remains in darkness while in the second he turns little so that only one eye is in the light. He turns refusing the suggestion. However his longing may be shown by the way he gestures and silence which is echoed when he is taunted by Daggett. The sheriff rants at him: “What if I was to say you were a no good, son-of-a-bitch and liar?” (Groves, 2001). Three left profile camera shots are taken. Munny does not respond to this provocation with violence though, the glare on his face indicates he wanted to respond violently. This profile shots emphasize his conflicted personality. Notably, the shots prefigure him during the final shots as he confronts and kills the brothel owner (Skinny Dubois) and the sheriff who ranted at him initially. (Groves, 2001).

Film textual analysis of the film ‘Seven’

‘Seven’ was released in the year 1995. It was written by Andrew Kevin Walker and David Fincher was the director. It’s a horrifying, dark and intelligent thriller. As the film opens, veteran cop Lieutenant William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) is appalled by the society that embraces apathy as a virtue. After 35 year on the police force, he is six years from retirement when John Doe comes along. He meets David Mills (Brat Pitt), a young cop; together they investigate equally murders involving Greed, Lust, Gluttony, and Envy, sloth, pride and wrath. ‘Seven’ takes place in an unnamed city which is rotting so fast, and places the detective in a stylized underworld. (Se7en opening scene: a textual analysis, n.d.)

The film features many famous actors thus good acting skills make it somehow realistic story. Apart from what happens in the scenes, macro and micro elements, editing, sound effect, mise-en-scene and music make the scenes excellent.

The camera shots, movements and angles used in the opening of the film have many extreme close ups, Dutch and high angles and still movement. The extreme close-ups show the details of torture and weaponry as emphasized during the shedding of the skin from the antagonist fingers. There images of badly mutilated people and corpses-disgusting to the audience. The Dutch angles and slanted angles emphasize the issue of spying to the audience. There is little camera movement in the beginning to ensure appreciation of what happening in the scenes by the audience which adds on the close shots.

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The editing of the introduction represents the characters feelings, it hides information from the audience, and it makes the audience understand what is happening in the scene. The rapid editing is to represent the characters thoughts. It implies the fact that a lot of ideas are going through his head. The use of red color overlay over the images to represent the macro element of blood, danger and death.

Blurring has been made use of to hide the antagonist from the audience which creates the feeling of uneasiness to the audience. The antagonist’s feelings ahs also been expressed through one edit of two shots overlaid together. This idea of superimposition connotes that the character is either psychological or mental ill.

Music has been used to create tension and feeling of romance by just variation in pace and tone. In ‘seven’, the music is industrial and tense with different sound effects added. This corresponds well with the editing as if things happening in the film are producing the sounds. Here is a high pitched scream that is used to show that he tortures people. We get the impression that he is feeling devious as the music becomes aggravating and jumpy.

The mise-en-scene creates tension in the audience. There dull colors of brown, grey and white with no inviting colors like blue or pink. He however uses the color red which stands out among the other dull colors. Red shows blood or signifies death which is what the plot is all about. Though out the whole introduction, the character is making scrapbooks about the people he has tortured and killed. The whole idea of serial killer is quite disturbing as evidenced by the scrap book which contains sepia colors to make them look old.

There element of weaponry as evidenced by use of scissors he uses to cut up his gruesome images, the books plus the needle he uses to attach the pages together. The extreme close up of tea bag dissolving in hot water like blood color gives the impression of danger and death. In one part of the opening, the word GOD is upside down to give the ideology of antichrist/ anti-religion. This is also seen in another seen where the word GOD is cut out. There is casts of shadows due to poor lighting and this creates fear- darkness. The idea of violence, death and suffering has been well illustrated in this film. (Se7en opening scene: a textual analysis, n.d.).


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