Free sample essay on “Brave Heart”:
In the film “Brave Heart” it sets the scene with Scottish highlands, valleys, rivers and tranquil Scottish music playing softly in the background to show what the men are fighting for throughout the film.
I am going to show through mise-en-scene, camera angles and representation how this adds to the enjoyment of the film.
In the beginning the main character William Wallace’s dad and brother are killed in battle and William attends both funeral. At William’s fathers funeral a young country girl is also there, and when the service finished she picked a thistle and gave it to William as a present to show she was sorry that his dad had been killed. In this part of the film there is a close up on the country girl giving William the thistle. This is a significant part of the film as the thistle reoccurs later on in the film!
An important technique used in this film is mise-en-scene this term describes what the filmmaker has chosen to put in to the scene, it includes the setting, the costumes, the props, the look of the characters and their position in the frame. The camera angles and lighting are also important in the mise-en-scene of a shot.
In the opening scenes the characters are dressed in tatty clothes to show they aren’t well off. The camera angles are long shots to give an overall impression of the location as the camera shows fresh vegetation fields and Scottish highlands this gives the viewers a feel of unspoilt land, very peaceful and clam with Scottish music. This compares with the camera shots of scenes showing the darkness of the landscape and the rain, which is sad, and depressing it reflects the mood of the Scottish people at that time following the funeral of their King.
Before the Battle of Stirling the Scottish warriors prepared for war against the English. The scene shows the William and his men dressed in dark, plain clothing with their weapons made from wood which made them look home made and inferior to the English weapons. The English army’s weapons were made from shiny metal that made them appear more effective. William painted his face blue which looked like part of a flag, the colour blue represents Scotland. The blue face paint makes William look ferocious and his long, wavy hair makes him look wild and tough, not to be messed with. The scene shows the Scottish and English both lined up ready to attack. Both sides looked very confident and determined to win the battle. The English were more physically prepared as they had been to battle before and had more body armour than the Scottish. The English army are shown on horseback. This gives the impression the English will have an advantage of the Scots as they are on foot.
But the Scottish are portrayed as more muscular. This is shown by the short-sleeved clothing that is worn in battle.
At the beginning of the battle the camera slowly pans along the line of the English and Scottish army in turn. This adds to the suspense that builds up before the battle starts. The camera picks up the determination on the faces of the warriors. There is a long camera shot to show the position of the two armies and the overall view of the battlefield.
Another technique used is Representation. This is the way the director chooses to present the characters in the film. For example in the wedding and market scenes William Wallace is portrayed as a peaceful man of love. William’s facial expressions change from being a warrior to being a smiling, tender, gentle lover. He is shown gently stroking Murron’s hair away from her face. In the wedding scene William rides on horseback to collect Murron from her house to run off and get married. The camera follows them as they ride to where they are going to be married. The camera action is fast to show that William is eager to be married to Murron and is a sign of how much he is in love with her. The camera shows them arriving at a field where a priest is ready to marry them. The lighting is dark; this is because their love is a secret. This is further portrayed by the fact the Murron has some wedding clothes with her in a bag which she changes into for the wedding ceremony. They exchange hankies. This symbolizes their love for one another and it is important at the end of the film. The colour white symbolizes purity showing that their love is pure. It can also symbolize peace emphasizing William as a man who represents peace rather than war. The camera angles has a close up of them looking at each other and then the camera zooms out there is a full picture of them in the middle of the countryside. It then zooms in for a close up of them kissing. Here the lighting is soft and slightly out of focus to emphasise the romantic scene.
This contrasts with William as the warrior. It shows William first as a lover and not a warrior so that he is not seen as all bad, he does have another gentle side. William is shown as a warrior in the scenes of battle with his face paint deliberately to make him appear fierce, unbeatable and very determined.
Camera angles are another technique used to provide information about the location in the film, the role of the characters and their reactions. It also draws attention and helps to create atmosphere. In the Battle of Stirling long shots are used to show where the battle is taking place, the landscape and the weather.
It is also used to show the position of the two armies, how many people are in each army and their distance from one another.
Close up shots are used to show the expressions and reactions of the characters. Determination and courage before the battle; perseverance and effort on their faces during the battle; exhaustion and triumph after the battle. Close up shots also show the consequences of the defeated – the wounded and dead bodies.
Low angle shots are used to create feelings of power. These are effective in the battle scene to show one man overpowering another. At the end of the battle a low angle shot is used to show William Wallace raising his sword in the air in victory and stabbing it into the ground. In contrast high angle shots do the opposite and show that a character is vulnerable. The camera angles changed quickly from one part of the battle to the other to keep the excitement flowing. The camera moved from high angled shots to low angled shots to keep the interests of the audience, the suspense and as to who would be the victorious side.
Throughout the film the different techniques effectively show the passion of William Wallace and his struggle to gain freedom for Scotland.
I enjoyed this film because it showed how passionate and loyal William was towards his country and people. He was even more passionate after he lost his father, brother and his wife. The film shows how the English and Scottish felt about each other. Although it’s not all factual it is based on a true story of the life of William Wallace.
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