Film review Essay Example

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Film Review

Brave Heart (1995)

Cast: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Angus McFayden

Synopsis: Braveheart is a film that is categorized to the drama genre, it’s sub-genre is the historical drama. It is a film about Scottish hero, William Wallace. It is a story based on the thirteen century where the Scottish army is rallied by Wallace against the English Monarch and Edward I (Peter Hanly) of England. Wallace with a group of warriors marches to face off with the Eglish Soldiers after he suffers a personal tragedy. The Warriors prove stronger than the English army.

The mise en scène in any film is useful in creating the visual theme of the film. It encompasses its design and the arrangement of the film elements. The elements include lighting, costume, and actors. Each of the elements plays an important role in this historical film. Lighting is important in how the audience will view the film and understand its meaning. The cinematography on the other hand is what captures the attention of the audience. John Toll is the Cinematographer in the Braveheart. He carefully conveys certain themes by choosing particular light setting throughout the film. The film also employs different lighting on different characters. For example during battle, the character of William Wallace is characterized by high key lighting. This enables the audience to see all the bloody detail, the wound, scars, grit, sweat, and dirt. The high lighting is also employed to display the axe, the blades, and every skirmish. Also, the men it the battle are seen to be sweating, mud in their hair, blood all over their clothes and bodies. The lighting setting clearly was a success because it enables the audience to see clearly the battle details. The high lighting setting is also employed at the William Wallace death scene. The cinematographer can use the high light settings to display the extreme torture that Wallace endures. He is seen to refrain from crying even though he is in pain. The audience, therefore, sees the torture details, the pain on his face, the display of the love he has for his country. All this is due to the perfect lighting setting.

Cinematographer Toll has also used soft lighting in the movie. He uses this at the scenes with female characters in the film. He uses this when shooting scenes of Murron (William Wallace Wife) and Princess Isabella. He clearly displays a theme of serenity and femininity using this lighting settings. An example of this is when Princess Isabella meets William. This was the clandestine meeting where the princess gets pregnant. Throughout, the princess is seen in nothing but soft lighting. This theme makes her special. For Williams Wife, all though her scenes, she appears in soft light except the scene where she is publicly executed. The lighting at the scene is high key, this was probably meant to display the brutality dictated by blood and dirt all over. The brutality is a display of the warfare between the nobility of the Scots and of the Brits that is, the peasants versus the nobles.

The use of lighting, therefore, has had a huge impact on the success of the film, Braveheart. The Cinematographer, Toll, used lighting to convey a great visual theme to the film. The brutality and the rebellion are well presented due to this. The lighting clearly displayed the film setting of the thirteenth century in the Scot and Brits highlands. Both the heroics and the romantics are shown in a good match. The historical battle scenes have also been clearly and perfectly presented. The natural lighting at the battlefield would not have made the film attractive because of the weather at the scenes. This is because mist and rain surround the highlands. This would have prevented the sharp images in the scenes that would capture the audience. The night scene lighting was also adjusted and a soft lighting employed. The natural lighting would have been too low. Like in any historical film, the lighting of Braveheart has successfully led to its audience enjoying it. This would not have been the case if a different cinematography and lighting settings were employed.

Braveheart employs a 77-minute soundtrack in the scene. It’s revenge and bloodshed scenes are characterised by ‘ Attack on Murron” which hints to action the first scene of bloodshed. ‘Revenge’ is also a powerful cue for the revenge scene. The romantic scene is perfectly introduced by ‘‘A Gift Of A Thistle’. This speaks a lot in the romantic and beautiful scenes that follow. Braveheart soundtrack is a great reflection of the scenes.

Works Cited

Internet Movie Database. (n.d.). Braveheart. (1994).United States: Paramount Pictures. Retrieved June 23, 2014, from