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Film Work

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6Nikitah Harvey- Williams Film Studies Ms Bundy

How are males represented in crime films The Purge: Anarchy 2014 and Down Terrace 2009?In this essay, I will be exploring the themes of how males are represented in crime films and how micro techniques represent males. I have chosen The Purge: Anarchy 2014 and Down Terrace 2009 to focus my textual analysis on and show how these male characters are represented in the films. I will also be analysing how all the micro elements were used to show the editing of the film and how Todorovs narrative theory and Stuart Halls theory was supported. The Purge: Anarchy (2014) has a BBFC certificate of 15. It was produced in Los Angeles, California and is an American action, horror, thriller and crime film directed by James Demonaco. The producers are by Michael Bay, Jason Blum and Sebastien Lemercier. The main stars in this film were Frank Grillo, Carmen Ejogo, Zach Gilford, Kiele Sanchez, Zoe Soul, Justina Machado, John Beasley and Jack Conley, These people played the members of the gang and the other five main characters passionately wanted to survive the annual purge. The Purge: Anarchy shows males how males are represented clearly through the micro techniques. At the beginning of the film, it is clear to the audience that the young couple are struggling as they are trying to survive the annual purge. The couple become victims of a gang that are participating in the purge, this represents males as scary and manipulating. This shows that because the couple looked vulnerable and scared, the gang thought it would be easier to intimidate them. The group of boys are shown in a wide shot, which captures the leader of the gang at the front and in the centre of the shot. In wide shot, the audience see the gang of boys standing in front of a burning vehicle. This shows that the boys are living in a low status in society and have positioned themselves in front of the burning vehicle, as they want to be seen as more intimidating. This is seen as more intimidating because of their body positioning and the background. During the scene, a close up shot shows the gangs face being straight faced and revealing more of the graffiti background. There is low key lighting creates more suspense to the appearance of the character for the audience; this is typical for a thriller, horror and crime genre. The lighting is also dark because it blends in with the costumes colours and the background. The costume the gang is wearing is dark colours like black and dark grey as it builds more suspense for the audience and to blend in with the dark colours of the night. The costumes that the characters were wearing were tracksuits, jeans, t-shirts and jumpers. The costumes were black to increase a sense of fear and suspense from the couple that they are targeting. The costumes also represent suspicious and dangerous behaviour. The bright colours of the masks represent immaturity as the faces looked clown like and evil. The masks were white which didnt conceal with the rest of the costume colours, however the amount of fear and unapproachable presence of the gang fades. The fear and suspense was through their facial expressions on the masks which was unpleasant and their movement was slow and scary. The movement of the victims is shown to be quick as they are scared and running away as fast as they can. Director James Demonaco has chosen to make representation very clear as he makes it obvious the gang are threatening and are going to cause destruction to the neighbourhood. This can be told within this scene that males are represented as mysterious troublemakers that are taking advantage of the night by committing crimes, knowing they wouldnt get arrested. Demonaco changes scenes so more of the gang is in the shot reverse shot as the gang and the couple they have targeted are both watching each other to either scare the audience or exit the scene. There is a tracking shot when we see the gang on their skateboards into their first position. There was slow motion used for the tracking shot, creating more of a dramatic effect that is typical for the horror, thriller, and crime genre. This is typical for this genre of film as a slow motion tracking shot makes the audience feel apprehensive. Males are represented as unapproachable in The Purge: Anarchy as of the way they have been presented by James Demonaco in the scene I have chosen to study. Throughout the film, the atmosphere of this scene was placed in a dark area and dark clothing. This portrayed the films predictable narrative due to the colours and background settings. This suggests to the audience that the colours and background settings are commonly used in other crime films. This represents males as being mysterious due to the scared effect it has towards the audience. The Purge: Anarchy shows the gang along with other men to be intimidating and to take advantage that they have the opportunity to commit any crime within the time limit. This is supported by Todorovs narrative theory as this theory is based around destruction and equilibrium. The second film I have chosen to analyse is Down Terrace (2009), BBFC certificate of 18. It was produced in Brighton, England and is a British comedy and crime film directed by Ben Wheatley, produced by Andrew Starke. The stars of the film are Robin Hill, Robert Hill, Julia Deakin, David Schall, Tony Way, Kerry Peacock, Michael Smiley, Mark Kempner and Kitty Blue.Down Terrace explores how males are represented is evident through all the micro elements in the scene when the family are sitting at the dining table. At the beginning, what the audience can see in Down Terrace is a father and son after serving time in prison for a mystery crime. Bill and Karl want to discover who it was that told the police about their family business. During the dining room scene, the shots used were: close ups and wide shot. These shots suggest to the audience that there is tension at the table and gives the audience the feeling of being powerless. This shot also captures everyone in it and shows what is going on. The close up shot of Bill is when he is talking to Valda to show the seriousness in his facial expressions. The wide shot is used to show the family together. The costumes that the characters wore were bright and casual wear as the lighting area of mise-en-scene was bright. This suggested that it is a normal day for this family.I have analysed the high key lighting for this film and the lighting is bright which indicates that the atmosphere is calm. This has an effect on the family because I analysed the how the characters have positioned themselves, their eye contact; how they are communicating with each other. This also suggests that the family have a good relationship because of their eye contact and how they are communicating. During this scene, the mood quickly changes when Valda expresses how she feels Bill treats his son. Her feelings are she thinks Bill doesnt give Karl enough credit. This area of the scene is shown in a close up shot. This reveals Valdas facial expressions as well as Bills, Karls and Maggies. Bills character is represented as intimidating, powerful, strong minded and confident. Bill is represented like this because he feels to be inferior. Bill is also shown as patronising because of his remark towards Karls girlfriend Valda. For the audience, it is clear that males are represented as manipulative, strong minded people because of Bills comments and tone of voice towards Valda. Ben Wheatley represented Bill and Karl as fearless and patronising characters that passionately want to save their business. The mentality the males have could also lead up to them going back into prison. Bill and Karls body language; tone of voice also represents them as being patronising because of their tone of voice and body structure when they talk to the women in this film.The director of Down Terrace supports Todorovs theory by represents Bill as having an uncomfortable presence towards Valda and aggressive. Bills tone of voice is loud and low pitched meaning that he feels he has to be in control and to make himself seem superior. In The Purge: Anarchy, the leader of the gang is represented as the brave, confident individual in the group. The leader received little dialogue because it makes the narrative more effective and intrigues the audience more. In Down Terrace, Bill is represented as a strong minded character, which is also verbally abusive. In the scene I have been analysing, you see him being cruel to his son and aggressive towards Valda by his angry and frustrated facial expressions that were shown in the close up shot. The setting of the neighbourhood shows that they are in a high status in society because of their surroundings. The dialogue in this particular scene was equal. The dialogue shows that Bill was verbally aggressive towards Valda by his tone of voice and the way his face was positioned. By analysing the micro elements of sound, it is clear that Bill is intimidating by his use of words and his tone of voice. Bills tone was deep and muttered. This represented anger and frustration. The Purge: Anarchy and Down Terrace are linked to Stuart Halls theory of how race and class are often blurred because we often generalise groups by assuming they fit in a stereotype, which is a message by Joe Cornish to make us think about prejudice. Both the films also support Todorovs narrative theory because there is disruption and equilibrium. From analysing the micro elements we immediately know that the leader of the gang is the leader because of his body positioning in the wide shot, where he is placed in the centre of the boys and in front so he is closer to the camera. Both of the films The Purge: Anarchy and Down Terrace use similar micro elements to represent male characters as intimidating, powerful, confident men. This is shown through their character positioning and cinematography which