Use What You Got (Scene Analysis)

This scene from “Good Will Hunting” extensively uses single shots while the two characters are talking.  One character tends to always be on the right, the other the left.  It starts and ends with the camera in front of the characters, both in frame.  The shot changes between the characters as they talk, putting focus on the one speaking.  They are in construction site, and the lighting gives off a rugged feeling.  I get a sense that the character on the right is meant to be some sort of influence on the character on the left, though it is difficult to tell if it is positive or negative.  The position of him and the character on the left’s reaction would indicate that the one on the right is challenging the other to think more rationally, as the one on the left is in the middle of a big decision.  He ponders this at the end of the scene with a blank expression.

Listening to the audio, there are numerous spaces between the characters speaking.  The music gives a nice transition to the conversation.  The pace of the dialogue is frantic, making it clear this is a bit of a stressful conversation, as the characters are arguing.  The construction sound effects are throughout, giving the impression the workers are swamped by their work.

Putting them both together, the camera works well with the argument to focus on who is speaking.  With the character on the right being the one giving advice to the one on the left, it makes it more obvious that he is meant to be seen as a positive influence, despite his methods of communicating.  The background elements are also used in effect, as the construction machines are made clearly visible and the noise throughout clearly noticeable.  This works to make the job seem overwhelming, when it is evident that the character on the left is capable of more.

Jack Brooks

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