Dead Poet’s Society Essay Example
Dead Poet’s Society Essay Example

Dead Poet’s Society Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (1083 words)
  • Published: August 13, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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My focus for media coursework is analyzing the part in 'Dead Poets Society' where Neil Perry takes his own life.

Examining the media techniques implemented in this scene and their impact on the audience entails discussing the various elements utilized by the director. This includes shot types, camera angles, movements, sound, and lighting to build the scene's atmosphere and suspense. 'Dead Poets Society' is staged in Welton High, an American prep school, and features Neil Perry, Todd Anderson, and Mr. Keating as principal characters.

Neil is highly skilled and has earned the admiration of his peers, including his roommate Todd. Todd's sibling used to attend Welton and Trevor feels the need to equal his sibling's outstanding accomplishments. Mr. _____ considers Neil and Todd as reputable individuals.

During his time as a member of the Dead Poets Soci


ety, Keating fostered independent thinking in his students. In a crucial scene when Neil considers suicide, the lighting and camera movements play a critical role in creating suspense. Through the use of diverse shots and sounds, the director skillfully builds dramatic tension. The scene commences with Neil and his father entering a room.

Ambiance and practical lighting are critical parts of setting the mood during filming. For instance, realist lighting is used to brighten up the room with a table lamp. Meanwhile, an ambient sound of wind blowing outside is present while actors are in the room, fostering a calm but uneasy atmosphere. During Neil and his father's exchange, the camera points on whoever speaks.

The director employs both high and low angle shots to signify the dominant character between Neil and his father. The camera looks up at Neil's father an

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down at Neil. However, when standing up to his father, the camera position changes to behind Neil, possibly indicating his aspiration to become an actor and his willingness to confront his father. Later, the camera pans across the room in a sweeping motion, allowing us to see all characters in one shot.

Neil's mother appears uncertain during the argument and does not take sides. Once Neil retires for the night, the camera zooms in on his father’s slippers while focusing on the sounds in the room such as the lamp switch and rustling sheets. The use of gentle and authentic lighting create an atmosphere of stillness. Although an air of calmness is present, suspense ensues as the audience is unaware of what will occur next.

Upon switching to Neil's room, the camera focuses intently on his well-folded pajamas, indicating the control his father holds over him. Meanwhile, as Neil readies himself for suicide, an eerie non-diegetic music fills the otherwise silent space.

To enhance the drama in the scene, expressive lighting is employed in the form of a soft blue light. This light not only creates an engaging visual experience, but also imbues an eerie quality to the atmosphere. Additionally, the act of Neil donning a crown of thorns and proceeding towards the window is highly symbolic and contributes to the overall ritualistic nature of the suicide.

The scene featuring Neil wearing the 'Crown of Thorns' is reminiscent of the Roman practice of placing the same crown on Jesus's head, signifying his status as a false ruler. The sound is highlighted once more when Neil opens the window, emphasizing the eerily silent atmosphere of the house. Combining the

blue lighting and haunting music, this sequence is both dramatic and surreal. The camera captures Neil descending the staircase from a high angle, but does not continue to follow him further down.

Neil appears ghostly and a shadow appears to be approaching the study, possibly representing death. The increasing volume of the music drowns out all other sounds, further enhancing Neil's ghostly presence as his footsteps can no longer be heard on the stairs. In the study, specific objects are highlighted by the camera as Neil unveils a gun, causing the music to intensify even more.

As Neil sits amidst the intense atmosphere, the noise around him grows louder. The moonlight casts a glow on him while dominant music plays, creating a powerful image that is further enhanced as the camera zooms out for the final shot of Neil. Meanwhile, Neil's father springs up from his sleep in a zombie-like state after his son has committed suicide. The camera remains fixed on one shot as Mr. Perry springs up into view.

The moment of Neil's suicide is left unseen and unheard by the audience, creating a sense of suspense until the very end. The only sound we hear is possibly Neil's final heartbeat, while other everyday sounds like opening doors and light switches are emphasized. When Neil's father descends the stairs, it is in contrast to how Neil ascended them, with no eerie music but instead only the sound of footsteps and the cries of his mother. The camera captures this from a low angle at the bottom of the stairs.

The director may have used the contrast between Neil and his father's actions to differentiate between surrealism and

reality. Essentially, Neil's actions come across as ghostly while those of his father are portrayed as very real - exemplified by his loudness versus Neil's silence and softness.

As Neil's father enters the study, the camera captures the room from his perspective at eye level. The camera then zooms in on Mr Perry's eyes as he discovers the gun, enabling the audience to witness his reaction. This sequence concludes with a dramatic shot from Neil's father's point of view accompanied by intense music, culminating in Mr Perry's slow-motion lunge towards Neil and his slowed-down scream.

By creating a sense of time standing still, the audience is left with a powerful impression of the impact of the scene. Additionally, this technique allows for a clear portrayal of Neil's father's pain. Once the door is opened, the music ceases and all that remains is the sound of Neil's parents' crying.

The concluding scene of the film is portrayed with great poignancy and tragedy. It stands out as one of the pivotal events in the movie, and its impact on the audience would have been undermined without the expert utilization of various cinematic techniques. Credit must be given to the director for masterfully crafting a highly effective scene, achieved through strategic employment of camera angles, music, and lighting that accentuate the overall sense of suspense in the narrative.

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