Dead Poets Society and the Suicide of Neil Perry Essay

Dead Poets Society and the Suicide of Neil Perry Essay

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Dead Poets Society and the Suicide of Neil Perry
"Dead Poets Society" deals with the angst of growing up in a public
boys' school, with the typical themes of pressure to achieve
academically and the themes of rebellion featuring heavily. Several
young boys' worlds are changed forever when Mr. Keating (Robin
Williams) arrives at their school. The director of the 1989 film,
Peter Weir, utilises a variety of techniques to subconsciously signal
to the viewer that all is not well in the Perry household. Through
these techniques, it becomes evident that Neil is unhappy with life.
This triggers the assumption from the viewer that he will commit
suicide.

This section of the film focuses on the important return of Neil to
his home after the play. The entire sequence is set in the father's
study.

Weir utilises the camera efficiently while filming the characters to
reflect their relationships. Their body language is also essential as
this implicitly reflects their stance within the situation and
secondly it suggests the archaic nature of the family's lives.

The entrance of Neil and his Father conveys tension within the study,
with no ambient sound or music, the scene effectively evokes emotion
within the viewer. One is then concerned for Neil's welfare. When
Neil, his mother and father are all present in the study, Neil's
father stands tall while Neil is seated. This difference in height
suggests that the Father is in control, while it could also suggest
that Neil is less of a person in calibre than his father. However, I
believe that the positioning reflects Neil's suppression; w...


... middle of paper ...


...ges then appear. Body parts,
a key and an item wrapped in cloth finally conclude with Neil's full
body being shown, sitting at the desk. Those who may know American
culture will immediately realise that the item in cloth is a gun, and
without showing it, Weir has effectively suggested the death of Neil
is inevitable. The camera finally zooms out, as Neil stares into
space, the audience know it is time to say goodbye, and the bang of
the gun sounds.

Peter Weir utilises a variety of film techniques to precede the death
of Neil Perry. The use of sound, colour and props prove to be
successful but the most effective technique, I think, is the use of
body language. Through the character's movements and positioning,
countless things are suggested, but the viewer is made to conjure
their own interpretation of the scenes.

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