The Released: A Reflection of the Plights of Mentally Ill Convicts Essay

The Released: A Reflection of the Plights of Mentally Ill Convicts Essay

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The general public does not usually go around contemplating the trials of the mentally ill. Especially not the mentally ill that have a habit of going in and out of prison. “The Released,” however, is trying to change that. Focusing on the lives of convicts under the persuasion of mental illness, “The Released” is a current documentary that intends to display an intimate look at the lives of these men with a proposition that they need help. Help that they cannot give themselves. Help that is not easy accessible. This claim is presented and reinforced by appealing to the audience’s emotion and logic with the use of strategic camera shots, education or experience-backed testimonials, and the pattern of a vicious cycle.

Camera Shots
The documentary opens with a low-aimed shot of a man pacing back and forth in a prison cell, only his lower half visible. Soon, the camera pans up to reveal his face. This is a simple shot, but meaningful nonetheless. The low shot does not identify the man. This is a symbol of the general view of inmates. The public does not know them, at least not on a level anything deeper than “they must have done something wrong.” But, the pan up reveals his face, often a feature people use to identify others. This makes it more personal, creates a better connection between the viewers and the inmate. This ties back to the purpose of providing an intimate view into these men’s lives. Shots of the face are repeatedly used throughout to create a level of intimacy. The audience begins to attribute these faces with a name, a personality, a story, and an illness. They begin to see these men as people.
Contrast is also used to show these men as people. People with issues but people nonetheless. One man’s st...

... middle of paper ...

...herefore kicked out of the shelter for thirty days. The director of the refuge talks of how he has not heard from the man since then. Right after that statement, there is a cut to the outside of the refuge with a voiceover of a 911 call about that very man attacking a camper. He ends up back in jail. It is a pattern, it is a cycle, and these men are stuck in it.

“The Released” in itself acts as a reflection of the plights of mentally ill convicts. With its somber, serious storytelling, it expects a certain acceptance that these men’s stories are the truth.
And because of this expectation, objections are not really handled. Granted, it is hard to refute someone’s life. While the precise solution is left ambiguous, that is not the purpose. It is meant to bring these men’s lives into the light for the general public with a simple message—they need help.

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