The 1985 film ‘witness’ directed by Peter weir is a crime/drama that develops the theme of conflict though individual power on a social, cultural and personal level. These areas of power are highlighted through the use of film techniques such as; camera shots, camera angles, lighting and costume. The film outlines the juxtaposition between mainstream American society and the Amish community in regional Pennsylvania, the theme of power between Book and his world precisely emphasize this juxtaposition. The competent American society is seen as a violent and arrogant group of people, whereas the Amish community is seen as the defenceless peaceful, religious group of people.
Peter weir is careful to portray power realistically; he does this though the use of violence. Weir uses three basic groups when it comes to violence. The Amish, who refuse violence in all circumstances, men like John Book who use violence to achieve justice, and the perpetrators of violence, people like Schaeffer and Mcfee, who use violence to achieve outcomes and power. Books life is one abundant with violence that is the consequence of his line of work, which essentially is present due to his authorised general level of power, he is a police officer so by law enforcement is required to exert his power though violence and literal means in order to protect and support the community in which he lives, even if this means extermination of one’s life. Weir presents the violence in the film in a graphic, confronting way. This is done to emphasise to the audience the bloody consequences that come from negative use of power to achieve justice or commit crimes. By not sensationalising violence, weir creates a realistic mis en scene; however Weir presents that violence, as used by people like John Book is necessary, as long as people like Mcphee and Schaeffer exist.