Soft, By Simon Ellis Essay

Soft, By Simon Ellis Essay

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In the short film entitled Soft, director Simon Ellis firmly establishes a combination of character types that enhance the dramatic action being conveyed. More expressly, the father (and his son to a lesser extent) is clearly established as the protagonist due to the fact that the video’s dramatic development is centered on him and the story advances from his point of view. Also, a protagonist is almost always presented with a seemingly insurmountable hurdle/fear that he or she must conquer by the conclusion of the piece. In the case of Soft, both the father and his son are pitted against a local band of thugs, which they each greatly fear. As a distinct method of illuminating the unique thoughts, feelings and actions of the protagonist, this film also presents a central antagonist in the form of primary gang leader. As the direct opponent of the protagonist, this ringleader both physically and mentally harasses the main character, thereby exposing the audience to the father’s deep seeded fear of violence and confrontation.
The structure of this video can most aptly be described as climactic for a number of reasons. Firstly, the piece takes place in an extremely limited number of locations (i.e., the home, drugstore, and street) that are each connected with one another in geographic proximity. Additionally, the director makes use of a very limited cast and does not introduce major subplots or key secondary characters. The film also takes place in a short span of time and uses very few scenes to convey the dramatic action. Ultimately, the piece starts extremely close to the climax and follows a climactic dramatic arc (i.e., exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution). However, it is vital to note that by th...


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... of complete silence. This heightens the dramatic rawness of these scenes and allows the viewer to truly explore each character’s inner motivations. Finally, by making the characters (i.e., the protagonist and antagonist) so fundamentally different from each other, both in attitude and appearance, the director succeeds in further promoting the film’s dramatic tension. When the father is preparing to face the gang, he takes off his tie and unbuttons his shirt. This symbolizes his crossing over from the realm of peace to that of violence. Conversely, the costume worn by the primary gang member (i.e., backwards hat, baggy clothes) establishes him as a defiant character that craves chaos and tension. Ultimately, the director utilizes blocking, sound, pace, and character to further the film’s central conflicts and encapsulate the audience with tense dramatic interactions.

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