Semiotic and Ideological Analysis of Extraordinary Measures

Topics: Extraordinary Measures, Glycogen storage disease type II, Sign Pages: 5 (1683 words) Published: May 23, 2011
Semiotic and Ideological analysis of ‘Extraordinary Measure’ - Directed by Tom Vaughan.

Valentin Voloshinov declared: 'Whenever a sign is present, ideology is present too' (Voloshinov 1973, 10). Signs do not merely reflect reality but involved in its construction; therefore those who control the sign systems also control the construction of reality.

Film a media text, uses visual imagery to tell specific stories to promote specific ideologies. This essay will explore the film with the use of semiotics and ideology approaches. Semiotics as the study of signs and signs are associated with visual images at various levels of usage, ideology on the other hand, is defined by Terry Eagleton as the process of production of meaning, signs and values in social life and also that, which offers a position for a subject.

This film is an inspired true-life story from a book, titled ‘The Cure’, by Geeta Anand is a 106 minutes ‘drama’, released on the 26th of February 2010 in United Kingdom. It’s centred on a Portland couple, John and Aileen Crowley, whose two amongst three children were diagnosed of a rare, deadly and genetic disorder disease, called ‘Pompe’- which long life span is nine years.John and Aileen Crowley has limited time to either enjoy their children while they can or find a cure for the deadly disease after Megan’s eight birthday party and Patrick’s muscles collapsing by the day. Instead of wishing or waiting for a ‘miracle’, John Crowley, who is an advertising executive, puts his job at jeopardy, after many months of ‘no response’ messages and unsuccessful telephone conversation with Robert Stonehill, a researcher in Nebraska, who has done an extensive research for an enzyme cure but has no money to finance his laboratory and he’s ‘spiky’ attitude, many of his colleagues and sponsors cannot stand.

With many hurdle to cross, ranging from establishment of a ‘Pompe Disease Foundation’, to fund raising, to researcher’s anger attitude even during meetings with sponsors, to the deteriorating state of the children day by day, to other researchers coming on board, to the finale test of the enzyme manufactured by Robert Stonehill, by skipping protocols, after a major conflict between John Crowley and other executives of the organization, sponsoring the scientific experiment, which resulted to the termination of his employment, a ‘blessing in disguise’ leading to the long awaited miracle, as the disease became curable not only for the kids but for other victims such as ‘baby Megan’, particularly when used once there is a symptoms at infant.

The film starts with a line of statement, ‘inspired by true invent’. These are linguistics signs signifying the movie as a true-life story, preparing a good ground in the senses of its views. All the signs in various levels contribute to production of the myths on Parents’ unending love for their kids, going extra mile for them especially when related with death and life.

For instance, the opening shot of helium filled balloons with one bearing the linguistic sign of ‘birthday girl’, in an office environment, signifying, a parent’s involvement in the celebration of a child’s growing status, even during working hour. Leading to the introduction of John Crowley, who is the father of the young celebrating, who hastily dropped the call he was receiving, picked up the helium filled balloons, rushed out of the office, turn off the lights but came back to pick a gift item, with a close up shot on the gift item, alone in the scene, shows the importance of the gift in the movie. However, the gift as an iconic sign, denoting a lady driving a pink car, connotes the importance of the girl celebrating her eight birthday in the movie. This opening sequence works as metonym for the rest of the narrative.

The main cast hidden in the film that became a driver for the existence of the narrative was the ‘Birthday girl’ named Megan. She is a very significant character in the movie, by the...
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