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The 1985 detective thriller witness directed by Peter Weir starts Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis. The film is set in the city of Philadelphia and the Amish country in Pennsylvania. Setting plays an important part in the film as it reveals a clash

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Witness The 1985 detective thriller "witness" directed by Peter Weir starts Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis. The film is set in the city of Philadelphia and the Amish country in Pennsylvania. Setting plays an important part in the film as it reveals a clash between two cultures. The clash is highlighted by the use of music, cinematography and mise-en-scene. The first main event in "witness" is the murder of the Policeman by a corrupt Cop, McFee. Samuel, an innocent Amish boy witnesses this event. The second main event in the film is when John Book and McFee have a shootout and John is shot. John is then nursed back to health in the Amish community where he can also hide and protect Samuel at the same time. The third main event and the climax of the film is the big shootout at the end where the three corrupt Policemen come to kill John and Samuel. The Policemen are finally defeated because of the strength of the Amish community. Setting is clearly important from the opening sequence. ...read more.


This emphasises his fear. During this scene we are introduced to McFee one of the main characters and the murderer. Weir makes this an extremely brutal scene to highlight his view of the city. After the murder has been committed McFee is unexpectedly in no rush to escape. He casually straightens his tie and washes his hands. This symbolises McFee washing his guilt away. Another key scene is where Samuel is almost caught. Weir uses a number of close ups during this scene to emphasise the fear in Samuels eyes and his loss of innocence. Everything in this scene is done with split second timing to build tension. For example, Samuel locks the door just in time. He then jumps onto the toilet just as McFee looks. He then grabs his hat off the floor just as McFee opens the door. This highlights the tension in this scene As the tension rises Book is the one displaced, forced to stay in the Amish community to recover from a gunshot wound and to protect Samuel Lapp. ...read more.


As the three corrupt Cops walk down he hill into Lapp farm, it is in complete contrast to the start of the film where the Amish people walk down the same road bringing something good to Rachel where as now the Cops are bringing Danger. At the end of the shootout we find out that John is leaving. This is shown most clearly when he puts the dovecot back up. This symbolises him restoring the peace in the community by leaving. Another clue we get to hint that John is leaving is when he changes back into his city clothes. This suggests he is leaving as he looks out of place. Weir leaves he audience with mixed emotions at the end of the film. The main message he leaves us with is that the forbidden love between John and Rachel should stay forbidden, as life would be very hard if they stayed together. This is the main reason why we accept it in the end. In conclusion setting is very important in "witness" as we are given a sensitive picture of an unusual way of life. The contrast between the two settings helps us to understand the main themes of the film. Lauren Mooney ...read more.

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