Critical Analysis of the Opening Extract of Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet
Baz Luhrmann has used the three presentational devices in a specific
way in his film 'Romeo and Juliet'. The point of this essay is to
analyse them in the opening extract. The presentational devices are:
sound; mise en scene; and cinematography. The elements of mise en
scene are: why things are placed where they are; what the characters
are wearing; body language and facial expression. Sound is quite
obvious but there are many different types: Diegetic is sound which is
heard as part of the film world; non-diegetic is sound which we do not
recognize as part of the film world; parallel sound is music which we
expect to hear as part of the film alongside the image and
contrapuntral sound is when the music is in contrast to the film. The
elements of cinematography are to do with the camera such as; angle
and height. Cinematography is a primary tool with which the viewer
responds to the mise en scene. All three are closely linked together
as the director hasn't got the choice of not using them but does have
the choice to select how to use them.
The first presentational device, mise en scene, is seen in the scene
where the news reporter reads the prologue. The director has
positioned the reporter within a television set which shows us it's
going to be a more modern film instead of the older, more traditional
version like Tchaikovsky. This also suggests the story is over and we
will be experiencing the events in a flashback. The scene is very
measured as the director has been very deliberate in how the reporter
uses body language, facial expressions and costumes to show her role.
She looks very serious and in a suit which is what the audience would
expect of actual reporter.
Another use of mise en scene is the scene where the hip hop music
starts and the Montagues appear driving down the street. They are
wearing bright, flowery shirts. This gives the audience the impression
that they are happy-go-lucky boys. We also see that the boys are
confident and not very serious and, although they are have guns, they
are just playing at being men. Luhrmann deepens this effect by
choosing that they drive an open top bright yellow car.
The third mise en scene is when the Montagues are getting their
petrol; the Capulets arrive at the petrol station. The audience, don't
see the Capulets faces till they come out of the car, feet and legs
first. Both their car and their costumes are black with catholic
symbols. Which represents they are the complete opposite of the fun
loving Montague boys. The Montagues are visibly scared by the Capulets
which is shown in their facial expressions and their body language.
This shows how much fear the Capulets can create. This contrast
between them shows how different the two families are,...