ENG225: Introduction to Film
December 9, 2012
“People used to think that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes...only sometimes the crow brings that soul back to set the wrong things right (The Crow, 1994).” Who doesn’t love a classic and tragic love story with a lust for revenge and justice for all? Where the power of love gives hope even in the most desperate and darkest of times? The Crow, directed by Alex Proyas in 1994 and based off of the original comic The Crow by James O’Barr, is a powerfully, dark, emotional film teasing at the strings of our hearts every moment of the way. The Crow has been labled a bleak action flick due to the very depressing, dark, atmosphere; however with the excellent cinematography, superb acting, and spectacular sound, even in all of its darkness and despair from the constant pouring rain and dark tones it is complimented by layers of beauty and aspiring hope that made this film so much more. We might not yet see a rainbow, but the sky has finally cleared.
The film is based off a comic so it obviously possesses a bit of a comic feel to it. Along with being based off the comic, it was also produced by Alex Proyas, who has a tendency to be dark and violent with his work, the perfect fit for this particular film, as it has a very dark and violent theme. It is set in the 1990’s in Detroit Michigan, surrounded by gothic cathedral buildings decaying in chaos and destruction and drowning in rain and sorrow. The film unfolds in a non-linear order, jumping from present to the past (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011) in order to mimic a memory. The non-linear method is very important to this film as it is useful in showing the audience the memories of the protagonist, or main character (2011), Erick Draven played by the late Brandon Lee. These memories are the fuel to Erick’s desire for vengeance as they remind him of the injustices done to his wife also influencing the mood of the audience to feel sympathetic for Erick and feel a sense of his pain and misery.
With any film or story there always seems to be some sort of conflict usually with the protagonist. In the case of this film, there is indeed conflict. Erick Draven fueled by the love he felt while living and the pain of the injustices done to him and his wife rises from the dead seeking vengeance bringing order and balance between right and wrong in a city seeped in chaos and immorality. The crow that raised him from the dead acts as a lifeline for him giving him immortality, assuming the crow stays unharmed. Along with the external conflict of keeping the crow protected at all times in order for Erick to remain living and finish his quest of vengeance, there is also internal conflict. Overwhelmed with the memories of his past surrounding him with an aura of sadness and grief that he cannot seem to overcome becoming another weakness, as he cannot escape the effect these memories have on him. This creates a duality of a character within himself, as he puts on the persona of vengeful superhuman while falling apart at the seams. This leads to the reason he paints his face, in order to hide the emotions and the pain he is feeling from his enemies, friends, and himself hiding from the reality. The only way any of the conflict is resolved is by Erick getting his vengeance and accepting his death, moving on to the afterlife.
There is a lot of hidden symbolism throughout this film giving more meaning to not only the film, the characters, but to the audience as well. The rain is a form of symbolism as it represents the pain and sorrow the town is suffering from. It is mentioned in the film that it has not stopped raining for a year, since the day Erick and his wife were brutally murdered. Erick famously replies, “It can’t rain all the time” (The Crow, 1994), which is another form of symbolism representing a...