Neil Jordan - Appearances and Understanding
"A Strand of Jordan's work is concerned with challenging sight as the primary sense of understanding and knowledge. Indeed, throughout he is interested in appearances and visual surfaces."
A picture paints a thousand words is a proverb that has been used by many to describe the works of many famous artists. A work of art can depict a message that does not have to be said or written, a painting can spark a lot of speculation and indeed this in itself is part of the art form. It could be said that a director is to a film as a painter is to a painting, that a director is the painter and the various other members of staff and cast are the paints in which the director uses to colour the film. This would suggest that the direction of a film is an art form. This is central to the concept of auteurism; that may be defined as "the belief that cinema was an art of personal expression, and that its great directors were as much to be esteemed as the authors of their work as any writer, composer or painter." Ref: Lapsey, Westlake: Film Theory Notes.
An auteur is a filmmaker, usually a director, who exercises creative control over his or her works and has a strong personal style. Jordan's authorship is conveyed in a lot of his personal trademarks. His films are dark and moody and sometimes comic, darkly comic that is; he says this reflects the way Irish people are. In some of his films he has taken scripts written by someone else and imposed his own directional style where he makes this script partly his and he becomes a co-writer of that script. This is evident in The Butcher Boy and The Good Thief.
His trademark stamps of auteurism include his interest in appearances and visual surfaces to give the viewer depictions of themes and characters. Francie Brady in The Butcher Boy appears together in his thoughts and confident. Dil in The Crying Game appears to be a woman. This is what he wants the audience to understand. He likes to shock and deceive the viewers and plays constantly on realism and fantasy. He delves into the exploration of different genres. His CV includes thrillers, comedies, period romance, horror, crime and historical film. His characters are the tragic heroes and the estranged: Fergus and Dil in The Crying Game, Francie in The Butcher Boy and Bob, played by Nick Nolte in The Good Thief. His themes include politics, transformation, identity, morality, obsession, desire and love. The themes also tie into each other in a lot of cases e.g. transformation and identity; obsession, desire and love. His diverse selection of film genre does not affect the issues and themes that he deals with. The boundaries that he has pushed within the different genres are characterisation of auteurism showing that "genre is not something that imprisons a director but precisely allows him a freedom". Ref: Lapsey, Westlake Film Theory Notes.
Jordan is a master of deception. Things are not as they appear. He likes to...