Life Of David Gale Essay

998 words - 4 pages

Alan Parker uses various cinematic techniques to communicate ideas of capital punishment being a flawed system to the audience in his 2003 film, The Life of David Gale. Parker incorporated techniques such as camera movement, characterisation, symbolism, foreshadowing and juxtaposition to influence and shape the audience’s beliefs on capital punishment. Such techniques were evident throughout the film, in a number of significant scenes. These scenes include Gale’s Debate with Governor Hardin, the scene where the audience is introduced to ‘The David Gale Death House and Museum’ and finally when Constance learns of 17 year old Betty Sue Johnson’s execution. It was these scenes in particular that persuaded me to look at capital punishment from another point of view.

Throughout Gale’s initial interview with Bitsy the audience is returned to this time of his debate on capital punishment with Governor Hardin on local TV Program ‘The Batter’s Box’. Hardin is characterised as a calm yet often muddled character. This is presented to the audience when Gale quotes Hardin saying “What did Ghandi say about that? The old law of an eye for an eye leaves us all blind.” Hardin disagrees with Gale stating that it’s “fuzzy liberal thinking”, this is when the audience learns that Hardin actually quoted this in a previous campaign. Showing the audience Hardin has contradicted himself in a bid to defend capital punishment. Gale however is characterised as an intelligent yet hot headed man. This is shown through the way he refutes Hardin’s arguments easily until he essential let his ego get in the way and became carried away. This scene is particularly crucial in understanding Gale’s motivations. Towards the end of the debate Hardin asks Gale to “Name one innocent man that Texas has put to death during my tenure, of the hundred or so executions.” Gale was unable to name an innocent man that had been executed. This foreshadows the fact that he ultimately becomes an innocent man that has been executed. By using this technique Parker proves to the audience that innocent citizens can be wrongfully accused and executed, and although authority figures deny it, it happens. This technique is particularly useful in making the audience revaluate their opinions on capital punishment as it ultimately shows that it is a flawed system despite the authority’s efforts to prove to the public that it isn’t.

After reporter Bitsy Bloom concluded her first interview with Gale she and her intern Zac went to the house where Constance Harraway was allegedly raped and murdered by Gale. Once the pair arrive at the house, the audience is introduced to Nico, a dark, gothic appearing woman. She has named the house “The David Gale Death House and Museum” and charges twenty dollars for an inaccurate tour and offers a re-enactment video of Constance’s death. With the use of juxtaposition this displays to the audience that Nico is essentially...

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