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The Outsiders - How effectively does the director create an atmosphere of tension, fear and drama in the scene in the park?

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Introduction

The Outsiders - How effectively does the director create an atmosphere of tension, fear and drama in the scene in the park? Set in the 1960's 'The Outsiders' by Francis Ford Coppola is a story about two rival gangs, the Socials (upper class - rich boys, expensive cars) and the Greasers (lower class - leather jackets, greased hair). This is a tense and dramatic scene set in Manhattan in an urban playground, late at night where the plays protagonists Ponyboy and Johnny (Greasers) are situated after Ponyboy has run away from home. Previously that evening they had been socialising with a couple of the Soc.'s girlfriends, the Soc.'s found out and have come after Ponyboy and Johnny. As Ponyboy and Johnny enter the park, you see them walk by out of the frame, then there is a pause and you see the lights from a blue Mustang as it crawls into sight, it's the Soc.'s. While this is happening there is eerie sinister music playing under the growl of the car's engine. This is a very effective beginning to the scene as it is quite tense and mysterious for you have the Mustang portrayed as a predator, growling, crawling into the park, camouflaged by the darkness of the night, all you can see is its eyes - the headlights. ...read more.

Middle

. . . . " By saying this Bob is daring Ponyboy to reply as metaphorically Bob is asking them to fight, if they return the insult they are accepting the proposition, the boys jump of the climbing frame and Ponyboy hesitates before saying, "You know what Soc.'s are? White trash with Mustangs and mansions!" He then spits before the Soc.'s feet. This signifies the start of the fight and as Ponnyboy and Johnny break into a run there is a sudden change in the pace of music as it becomes faster and more intense. At the same time you are watching a tilted frame focused on the park fountain round which the boys are chasing one another. Together this helps the audience feel the sense of threat and danger escalating as the music is drumming, like a heartbeat, and while they're running round the fountain, so to are you as this is the effect of the tilted camera angle. There is a lot of pandemonium as the Soc.'s catch up with the boys and they struggle with each other. Eventually Johnny is struck and left on the ground while Ponyboy wrestles against the Soc.'s as they gather round him at the fountain. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is the sound of a train and a dog barking in the background, another reality jolt, they are in a neighbour hood and they will be found out and arrested if they don't get away. Their reactions to the murder makes the atmosphere more intense as they are worried and aware of the danger that now surrounds them, this leaves the audience feeling anxious. The director of this scene created a good atmosphere of tension, fear and drama as the scene was cleverly directed as at all times. The director made it seem as if you were being involved in the drama by using the effect of different camera angles, so that you were looking at things and experiencing things from their point of view. Also the lighting and music helped to heighten the drama and fear factor. For instance the dark setting used along with the moonlight was effective as it highlighted Johnny's blade and the boys faces causing shadows, making shots more sinister. Also the music (which ran along most of the scene) helped to narrate the scene as it would grow bolder and more urgent and exciting during tense parts and more calm (yet still eerie) during calmer frames. I think the scene was successful and included a lot of drama and apprehension. ...read more.

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