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Dead Poets Society

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Media coursework Dead Poets Society Rebecca Kelly For my media coursework I am going to study the scene in 'Dead Poets Society' were Neil Perry commits suicide. I will examine the media techniques used in this scene and how they affect the audience. I will discuss how the director uses different shot types, camera angles, camera movements, sound and lighting to create the atmosphere and suspense of the scene. The story of 'Dead Poets Society' is set in an American prep school called Welton High. The main characters are Neil Perry, Todd Anderson and Mr.Keating. Neil is a talented student and is well respected by his friends, he shares a room with Todd. Todd has an older bother that used to attend Welton. Todd feels he has to match his brother's high achievements. Neil and Todd are thought by Mr.Keating. Keating encourages the students to think for themselves, he also used to be a member of the Dead Poets Society. When Neil is contemplating committing suicide the lighting and camera movements are vital throughout. If the type of shots and sounds were the same all the time, there would be no drama or suspense. ...read more.


This symbolises his father's strictness and that he has the final say in what Neil does. As Neil prepares to commit suicide an eerie music is played, sounds are still heard. This shows that it is still silent in the house. The music is known as a non-diegetic sound. Expressive lighting is used to make the scene more dramatic, this is done using a blue light. The light is soft and easy to watch, it also adds a spooky feeling to the scene. When Neil puts his crown of thorns on his head he goes to the window. This is very symbolic and it makes the suicide seem ritual. The shot of Neil with the 'Crown of Thorns' on his head remind us of how the 'Crown of Thorns' was placed on Jesus's head by the Romans to indicate that he was an 'impostor' king. When Neil opens the window the sound is, once again, emphasised. We are constantly reminded that the house is "deadly" silent. With the blue light and the eerie music this part of the scene is very dramatic and surreal. When Neil makes his way down the stairs the camera is at a high angle behind his as he walks down the stairs. ...read more.


loud as apposed to silent and soft. When Neil's father finally enters the study the camera pans across the room at eye level as if it was through Neil's fathers eyes. It then switches to a close up on Mr Perry's eyes as he spots the gun. This allows the audience to see his reaction fully. The camera goes to Neil's father's vision again and dramatic music is added. Mr Perry dives towards Neil in slow motion, his scream is also slowed down. This gives a dramatic impact on the audience, it's almost as if time has stood still. It also lets the pain that Neil's father is feeling be seen. When the door is opened the camera goes back to normal and the dramatic music stops. All that can be heard is Neil's parents crying. The scene ands on a very dramatic and tragic note. This scene is one of the main events in the film. If the techniques that were used weren't there then it wouldn't have the effect it had on the audience. The director has done an excellent job on making a very effective scene. Using certain camera angles, music and lighting creates a powerful image and adds to the suspense of the storyline. This scene was very dramatic and is not forgotten easily. ...read more.

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Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

An occasionally very insightful analysis that uses the technical language of film studies reasonably well. This is quite a good essay, but it is weakened by a weak conclusion and a poor sense of essay structure.

It is a pity the author chooses to limit the analysis to how the cinematic devices deployed in this scene affect the audience. The truth is that it is never just the cinematic devices used in the film that affect the audience; a full picture of how movies work would have to take into account how the audience's beliefs and prior knowledge affect the way they perceive things in the film. In the case of this film it would mean some discussion about how the audience relates to reprentations of wealth and privileged class, and to the ideologies of "freedom" and "individualism" that are explored both in the narrative and in the characterisation of every person we meet in the film.

I have given feedback on how to tighten the structure, and in some places on how to improve the depth and detail of the analysis.

Current grade: 3 stars

Marked by teacher Govinda Dickman 07/08/2013

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