Sam mendes

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* English stage and film director Sam Mendes won an Oscar for American Beauty and went on to direct successful films such as * Revolutionary Road (2008), Sky fall (2012) and Jarhead (2005). He is well known for his authentic and original way of directing which make his movies powerful and dramatic. They all have a deeper meaning which draws the audience in and helps them relate, sympathise or just purely feel unexpected emotions. I have decided to talk about the two films American Beauty and Jarhead, the reason for choosing these two films is because Mendes has made great use of techniques to highlight important events and ideas. I believe he is one of the best directors as he is very critical with what techniques and shots he chooses. * Sam Mendes lives by the quote “For me certain shots and techniques are key for scenes in a movie.” * In these two films, the two techniques he uses are voiceover and montage, these work extremely well to express the characters feelings to the audience. Instead of just using dialogue, Mendes gives us more insight into the journey of the characters life by using montage and voiceover. American Beauty is about a man Lester who re-engages in his life after quitting his job, he finally realises that family is the most important part of his life before he is murdered. In the final sequence of American Beauty, * Lester is mistakenly assumed to be a homosexual after Frank Fitts makes sexual advances towards him and is rejected. This leads to his death a few hours later. The aim of this sequence is to show that Lester has realised that he is actually happy and content with his life. He is * looking at a photo of his family and reflecting on his life when he gets shoot in the back of the head, although dying a happy man. One technique that has made both of these films so well-known is the use of voiceover. Voiceover is when you hear a character speaking over an action, although they are not actually speaking within the scene shown. In American Beauty there is a voiceover of Lester in the final sequence. He is explaining how he just realised that he is happy. * “I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every second moment of my stupid little life...” Mendes does this to show the audience how Lester has reflected on his life and now has come to terms with his family and life, he remains calm and reflective throughout the voiceover. Voiceover is so successful used in this scene as it makes the audience feel a sense of surprise in that Lester is so peaceful with the fact he has died, where as viewer assume he would hold anger and hatred for how his life has come to an end. * He explains how he “could be mad for what happened to him but it’s hard to stay mad with so much beauty in the world.” This voiceover has developed so much feeling. The audience can see how Lester regrets losing his family’s respect so early on, he makes the viewer’s understand that even when it seems like life is not worth it you will always appreciate it more than being dead. To me, any other technique used here would have been boring, the voiceover makes the audience get inside Lester’s head and feel his emotions, If dialogue was used here instead we would only know what he is telling us but with a voiceover we feel for Lester. Jarhead * is about a man named Swofford who has a good life, good girlfriend and upbringing but then goes to war and comes home with nothing. This film shows the mental and physical struggles of the US soldiers during First Gulf War. In the final sequence of Jarhead the war has come to an end and the men return home to praise in celebration. The soldiers all adapt back into everyday life and Swofford finds himself alone and empty after coming to face with the death of his best friend Troy. The aim of this sequence is to show the audience that upon Swoffords return home, life for him is still isolated as he loses his girlfriend and best friend, reflecting that life is no better at home than at war....
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