Film Analysis of Dead Man Walking Essay example

Film Analysis of Dead Man Walking Essay example

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Film Analysis of Dead Man Walking

For many years, the death penalty has been a punishment for severe
crimes. However, the law has long moved on since then, and more humane
ways of death have been devised for the few states where the death
penalty is still legal. Lethal injection is now the main way of
carrying out the penalty, and Texas is the state that uses it most. It
is a very controversial punishment and the moral issues of it have
been debated for a very long time. Many protests have been made to try
and change this law, and they have been successful in most countries.
The film ‘Dead man walking’ is set in the state of Louisiana, near
Texas and re-enacts an ethical case where a decision whether to
sentence a murder to death or not has to be made.

During the film we can never be certain whether Tim Robbins is in
favour, or against the death penalty. He uses very effective methods
to represent both sides of this moral argument. For example, his
methods include his choice of the character Matthew Poncelet, his
choice of Sister Helen Prejean, sound effects and music, flashbacks,
characters viewpoints, costumes and many more. One of the most
important of these techniques is the way he has decided to present his
main character, Sister Helen Prejean.

The first time we see Helen Prejean is when she is driving to the
‘Hope House’ in her car. There is happy music in the background, which
is another media technique used by director Tim Robbins to suggest to
us that she is a likeable person. Also, there is scene skipping,
between her driving, and a video of her confirmation. We can tell it
is a video because it has a sepia effect, ...


... middle of paper ...


...t in our
mind last. Straight away, we hear the voice of the priest speaking, as
a voiceover at the very end of the execution scene. It carries through
to the scene of Ponclet’s funeral.

Because the last things we see are the dead body of Matthew Poncelet,
and people grieving at his funeral, the last thing we think of is how
much pain the death penalty has caused. This leaves us thinking the
death penalty is wrong. Although Tim Robins tries to even out the
arguments for and against, the arguments against come over stronger,
and overall, this film portrays the death penalty as immoral. The vast
amounts of media techniques and character choices allow Tim Robbins to
make us see exactly what he wants us to and this film is a very good
example of how media is used effectively in films to get the right
final impression.

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