Peter Weir, Witness Essay Closing Sequence

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Discuss the central concerns and themes of Witness and how various film techniques are used to in closing scenes of the movie.

Witness is a Hollywood film that was directed by Peter Weir in 1985. It’s a story about an Amish boy who witnesses a murder on his trip to the big city. Weir in the closing scenes is able to show through different themes, various techniques of sound, camera and lighting to correspond the Amish community, their connection to the land and disconnection from society. The main themes conveyed in this movie include violence vs. pacifism, community vs. individualism, moral judgement vs. personal choice, the clash of cultures and innocence and purity vs. corruption. At the start of the closing sequence of the film, the sound played is purely diegetic. But as the bad cops drive their way towards the Amish house the sound is then contrasted with high emotive non-diegetic music. Weir does this to highlight the upcoming events, where the audience begin to realise that a very important an interesting part of the film is about to happen. A low angle shot of the three corrupt policemen arriving in a car is also shown in this scene. Their car goes up the hill looking down towards the house and then reverses back where the camera cannot see it. The lighting is set very dark and cloudy, set early in the morning. The road is in terrible shape with bumps everywhere looking dirty. This emphasises the theme of corruption. The dirty road and the dark sky in a way represent the big city, where there is a lack of innocence and purity. The long camera shot of the corrupt police men walking towards the house resembles the way bad guys are depicted in cowboy movies. In these movies bad guys are shown riding or walking towards the sleepy, unsuspecting town or camp and the audience know that there will be a show down or a big final battle between them and the hero. Those movies also had dramatic music attended with it to also suggest impending doom. Non-diegetic...
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