Thursday, July 2, 2009

Mean Creek Essay #1

Describe an important idea in the text.
Explain how verbal and or visual features of the text help you understand.

An important idea in the film Mean Creek directed by Jacob Aaron Estes is revenge and consequences. This idea is conveyed through the verbal features music and dialogue and the visual features of lighting. Through the use of these techniques we are able to understand the ideas much more clearly.

The theme or idea of revenge and consequences plays an important part in the film. Revenge is the act of getting back at someone or responding to something that a person did that showed disrespect. This could either be targeted directly at one person or someone they cared about. The actions of a person getting revenge leads to a consequence whether it be positive or negative but in most cases related to revenge it is a negative consequence.

The first technique that alleviates the viewers understanding of the theme of revenge and consequences is music. There was an absence of music during the intense argument on the boat but that soon changed. When George fell into the water he became disorientated and hit his head on the camera. Almost instantly the music began when he bled from the hit and stopped struggling. The verbal technique of music took over as the dominant verbal feature in the scene symbolising revenge and consequences. The use of music when George died represented the end of George’s life and also the beginning of the other characters’ consequences. The music sparked the realisation of the characters’ actions and the full extent of their consequences. The silence or absence of music occupied the scene of the argument in the boat while revenge was a large role until George fell into the water and died. The music that played during this time changed the tone of the scene from a loud and bitter scene to a quiet and fearful or panicked tone.

Another technique that helps the viewer to understand the theme of revenge and consequences is the use of dialogue. A turning point in the film is when George continues to chant “all over the wall!” at Marty. This repetitive chanting begins to irritate Rocky while Marty stands up and walks towards George with the intention of hurting him. Rocky gets in the way to prevent confrontation but at the same time is annoyed with George’s chanting. When Rocky angrily yells at George to stop he accidentally pushes George making George lose his balance and fall into the creek. George begins to call out as he struggles afloat. His actions had a severe and fatal consequence because his constant chanting had attracted hate from Marty. George’s consequence was portrayed by dialogue when he cried out for help to inform the audience of George struggling. The calling out for help supported the theme of consequences as his revenge only landed him in danger.

The visual technique of lighting helps to portray the theme of revenge and consequences. In the film when George is dragged out of the water by Rocky the scene becomes darker giving the impression that something cruel has happened. When Sam, Rocky, Clyde and Millie decide to finally to confess to George’s mother a light switches on and shines on them. The visual feature of lighting subtly informs the audience in the change of tone in the film. When the lighting darkened it symbolised the end of George’s life as a result of revenge gone too far. The light that shone on Sam, Rocky, Clyde and Millie in a way represented them owning up to their action and doing the right thing. The visual feature of lighting embodies the emotions of the characters and the choices they made.

An important idea in the film Mean Creek directed by Jacob Aaron Estes is revenge and consequences. This idea is conveyed through verbal feature of music and dialogue and visual feature of lighting. These features help to improve the viewer’s understanding of the theme.

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