Saffa Awadh Micro-analysis No Country For Old Men
Filmmakers have a variety of tools to assist them in leaving a long lasting impression on an audience and the creation of meaning within the film. The following essay will focus on the use of mise-en-scene and lighting in a five-minute extract from the Coen brothers NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2007) and how these features of film are used to form meaning and develop a specific response from the audience. The scene below under analysis throughout this essay involves Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) who kills or tries to kill almost every person he meets in the film and a gas station proprietor who is about to be confronted by one of the most brutal protagonists in the film which he is oblivious to.
The Coen brothers use mise-en-scene in a very precise way throughout the film. One of the most effective uses of mise-en-scene can be seen from merely observing the costume of the protagonist which is in complete contrast to the petrol station proprietor. The protagonist is dressed in all black basic jeans top and coat making him seem ordinary whilst reflecting upon his dark and brutal persona. To expand, throughout the film the protagonist displays extreme violence and brutality, whilst also having a strong view on fate. These two characteristics of Anton are not only used to display the contradictions between the protagonist’s personality but also as a representation of fate because the protagonist has strong views on fate, which appears to be a juxtaposition to his personality. The Coen brothers used this to symbolize that human choices as we would call them, are vague constructs; a choice is nothing than a probabilistic outcome. Regardless of your notion of free will, all actions are driven by luck and chance which account for those elements of reality that exist entirely outside of free will and the power of choice. The Coen brothers use Anton to represent this because of his strong belief in fate which is demonstrated by his coin toss. However, the petrol station proprietor is an elderly man who is dressed in a mustard coloured top and overalls, the colour mustard relates to the colour of the desert which the scene is set in, a desert is isolated and neglected just like the elderly man. The use of the elderly man is used to represent innocence and vulnerability which is in contrast to the protagonist. This creates tension as a defenseless old man is left alone with such a brutal character portraying the binary opposition between good and bad, making the audience form a hate for Anton because of his dark intentions whilst keeping the audience engaged as they are anticipating to see what happens next. This relates to the genre which is thriller/drama.
The Coen brothers use only natural light throughout this scene, to make it as effective as possible, the dull and grim lighting all add to the tension, making the audience feel disorientated and not knowing what is going to happen next relating to the...