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The Transformative Crafting Of Body Language In The Insider

1204 words - 5 pages

We all perform body language unconsciously on a daily basis, but have you ever considered how much you convey to others about you as a person through your body language? Dr. Mehrabian claims that 93 percent of our communication is non-verbal in nature ( Albert Mehrabian, silent messages, 1972) Throughout film history, all directors utilize it as a way of conveying meanings to the audience. Even the tiniest detail has a meaning behind it.In the film The Insider, body language plays an important role. Especially when it comes Russell Crowe’s character- Jeffrey Wigand. He is the tobacco industry whistleblower, responsible for the biggest court settlement ever reached in the history of litigation. (Master settlement agreement, 1998) And he is a somewhat unlikable, man of science and professional integrity. However the characteristics he displays makes him human and powerfully emotional to the audience. (Michael Mann interview by Charlie Rose, 1999) Therefore it enables audience to be as subjectively related to him as possible. Because the body language is so well crafted, even if the film is muted the audience can still interpret the meaning of the content through Crowe’s body language. Mann manipulates us to sympathize and relate with Wigand through the exhibit of his raw humanity. Mann said “I want the audience to feel that they are underneath the skin of Jeffery Wigand and sympathize with him.” (Michael Sragow, salon magazine, 1999) We can see from Crowe’s body language such as the constant adjusting of the eyeglass, the stiff and tensed posture he always employed and the finger fiddlings etc that he is socially incompetent, however there’s a vulnerable human side of him that makes the audience sympathize and relate to him. Wigand praised Crowe’s acting in a recent interview, “I think his portrayal was spot on, I could not believe the emotions I felt through seeing his body language, and how it alters the meaning of the text I saw from the screenplay.”

Crowe worked closely with Mann through the process of building characters and a sequence of body language to reflect the humanity of Wigand. Michael’s vision of Wigand as a character is that he’s flawed and real. Here’s what Crowe said in an exclusive interview with Salon Magazine.
“Michael and I worked together to deliver that aspect of him implicitly through my body language. He is clearly not competent at social interaction, so in scenes where Wigand’s integrity is challenged I often tend to do a lot of jaw twitching which shows the audience Wigand values his integrity and does not like to be challenged especially in his professional area. Despite his poor social skills, he truly does love his wife, he just has a hard time communicating his emotions across. I’ve spent a lot of time on one of the particular scene where Liane, Wigand’s wife tells him she’s giving up on their marriage. Prior to learning that news, I had a soft facial expression, relieved to see her and my body position was...

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