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How does the director of

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How does the director of "Dead Poets Society" prepare us for the suicide of Neil Perry in the preceding scenes? "Dead Poets Society" deals with the angst of growing up in a public boys' school, with the typical themes of pressure to achieve academically and the themes of rebellion featuring heavily. Several young boys' worlds are changed forever when Mr. Keating (Robin Williams) arrives at their school. The director of the 1989 film, Peter Weir, utilises a variety of techniques to subconsciously signal to the viewer that all is not well in the Perry household. Through these techniques, it becomes evident that Neil is unhappy with life. This triggers the assumption from the viewer that he will commit suicide. This section of the film focuses on the important return of Neil to his home after the play. The entire sequence is set in the father's study. Weir utilises the camera efficiently while filming the characters to reflect their relationships. Their body language is also essential as this implicitly reflects their stance within the situation and secondly it suggests the archaic nature of the family's lives. The entrance of Neil and his Father conveys tension within the study, with no ambient sound or music, the scene effectively evokes emotion within the viewer. ...read more.


I believe so. When the symbol of suppression, black, is removed, a window of opportunity opens for Neil where he is free from conventionality. The audience should then proceed to ask the question: "Surely Neil will take this opportunity to liberate himself from this torture?" Upon entering bed, Mrs. Perry sniffs and begins to cry. The response from Neil's father is "It's gonna be alright." This evokes that he is arrogant and believes that simply because he wishes for Neil to be withdrawn from Helton, that Neil will conform with no questions asked and no further confrontation. This conceit suggests that Neil's suppression has not simply been recent, but has been long term. However the most instrumental part of the scene is when Mr. Perry places his slippers onto the floor. He does so in such a notable manner. He places his slippers equidistant from each other and perfectly aligned, ready for the morning. The camera zooms out and the scene ends with the view of the slippers. This conveys and implies a sense of control and it is this traditionalism, this conformity that Neil so desperately wishes to escape. The combination of the suggestion to the viewer that Neil's father will not change his mind on his decision (shown through his response to Neil's Mother); and the conveyance of conformity within the Perry household leads to the first main assumption that Neil may not wish to stay in this environment. ...read more.


The scene contains no ambient sound, only music. This aboriginal theme runs up to Neil's death and emphasises the now slow speed of Neil's movement. This could possibly be thought of as Neil's heartbeat slowing down before his departure. Weir effectively shoots this scene with the camera placed above Neil as he descends the staircase into the study. This suggests that he not only is he returning to the setting of a previous feud, but that he is descending into something different, something bad. A series of disjointed and fragmented images then appear. Body parts, a key and an item wrapped in cloth finally conclude with Neil's full body being shown, sitting at the desk. Those who may know American culture will immediately realise that the item in cloth is a gun, and without showing it, Weir has effectively suggested the death of Neil is inevitable. The camera finally zooms out, as Neil stares into space, the audience know it is time to say goodbye, and the bang of the gun sounds. Peter Weir utilises a variety of film techniques to precede the death of Neil Perry. The use of sound, colour and props prove to be successful but the most effective technique, I think, is the use of body language. Through the character's movements and positioning, countless things are suggested, but the viewer is made to conjure their own interpretation of the scenes. Nik Haggerty 10MWY ...read more.

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