Thursday, 7 April 2011

'Ashes to Ashes' Practical Analysis

Gene Hunt

  • Low angle shots are used when filming Gene Hunt, to show that he is a heroic character, with high status. 
  • The car that he drives represents him, as a superior person.
  • As he steps out of the car, the camera focuses on his snake-skinned boots which were very popular in the 80s. The series is set in the 80s. 
  • He is dressed very smartly in a tie and shirt, and a long black coat. He is also wearing leather gloves. This represents him to be in a role of a detective.
  • When Alex realises who Gene Hunt is, the soundtrack portrays him to be a 'superhero'. 
  • Overdramatized music is played as Alex realises who he is, to emphasis his main role. 
  • When the car is driving to Alex, the soundtrack is a typical 80s rhythm, and quite upbeat.
Ways to modify our first impressions of Gene Hunt.
We could achieve this in many ways using Camerwork, Mise-en-Scene and Soundtrack. Our first impressions of Gene Hunt in the extract were that he was quite sexist towards women. This is evident with the remarks he makes towards Alex Drake. We also saw him as a macho person, by the body language shown. The low angle shows his posture to be confident and upright. One way we could change this representation is by, using different camera angles. Instead of using low angles shots, medium shots and close-up shots to get an insight to his emotions during this scene. Another way would be to use a different soundtrack. The soundtrack could be less upbeat suggesting that he is a more serious person, and would not be as humorous. It would have low tones suggesting the seriousness of the situation. Although when the car is being driven we could take take snippets of the upbeat soundtrack, to still show that he has a high status. The body language could also be modified, by making his reactions less exaggerated, making it look more realistic. Lastly we could decrease the number of cross-cutting shots so that it focuses more on the male protagonist, Gene Hunt, than the situation. This would portray his confidence and upbrupt manner less because it will give us more of an insight on him as a person, in his role. 

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A comparative essay analysing the representations of the ‘law’ in the 2 extracts from ‘The Wire’ and ‘A Touch of Frost.’

Representation refers to the way the media ‘re-presents’ aspects of ‘reality’ such as individuals, groups, events and issues. These stereotypes give audiences a quick common understanding of that person/group. They are like ‘visual shortcuts’ that are repeated, leading people to assume that they are normal or ‘true’ representations. These portrayals usually relate to factors such as their class, ethnicity or race, gender or social role. ‘The Wire’ and ‘A Touch of Frost’ are both examples of television drama detective series.  This essay will discuss compare how the two extracts representing ‘law’.

In TV drama shows, detectives or cops are represented to be ‘good’ people, with high statuses. They are the group of people that try to solve the crime/problem. Stereotypes have also been used to represent the ‘criminals’. This has been shown in many different ways in both the extracts, such as the various camera angles that have been used, the characters race/ethnicity and other factors. 

In the extract of ‘The Wire’, the audience is shown that a murder has taken place on the streets. The murder revolves around drugs and gangs. This is evident from the conversation that takes place between the victim’s friend and a detective. One way in which the ‘law’ has been represented in this scene is the costumes that the characters have worn. The detective is dressed fairly immaculately, wearing a black leather jacket, a shirt and black trousers, in contrast to the character who has been stereotyped as the ‘criminal’ or victim’s friend. He is wearing a grey hoodie, a jacket, torn trouser and a black hat. This relates to real life situations in America, as those who hang around on the streets in gangs and deal with drugs, are normally seen to be wearing hoodies with black hats. The detective also sits in an upright position, whereas the victim’s friend slouches on the step.In contrast, in the extract from ‘A Touch of Frost’, the costumes worn by the detectives and cops are a lot more formal, as they involve uniforms, compared to those worn by the criminals.
The situations in the two extracts are very contrasting, as ‘The Wire’ is about a murder, whereas ‘A Touch of Frost’ is about arresting a group of criminals involved in hosting dog fights. ‘The Wire’ has been set during the evening/night, whereas ‘A Touch of Frost’ has been shot during the daylight in a rundown area. ‘A Touch of Frost’ also cross-cuts between two scenes. In ‘The Wire’, the police car lights were flashing around the whole setting. This enabled the audience to familiarize with the situation as the colours red and blue are associated with police cars. It has also used conventions of the crime genre as it has images of blood trickling down the road.

Cops and detectives are looked up to as having authority and status. This has been shown through camera angles and shots in a variety of ways in the two extracts. In ‘The Wire’, the detective is shown to be sitting at a slightly higher level than the victim’s friend. However in this scene, the detective tries to approach the victim’s friend by using language, he is able to comprehend to, and in this situation, this means communicating in an informal way, to gather information about the incident. Whereas in ‘A Touch of Frost’, the detectives and cops to do communicate with the criminals in an informal way. The criminals are just arrested, and there is a lot of pushing and screaming involved in the scene. Over-head shots have been in the frames with the criminals to portray a low status, making the characters seen to be helpless. Similarly low angles have been used to show high status of the police force and detectives.

Race also plays a significant part in representing ‘law’. In ‘The Wire’, the members of the gang shown are all black males. This reinforces the stereotype that drug dealers are usually black, focusing on the negative aspects of the black community. However this is a way that the audience’s are able to understand the situation, as many street gangs are associated with people of a black race.

In conclusion, both the extracts are able to represent ‘law’ in their individual ways. We see that in ‘The Wire’ the police and detectives try to empathize with the criminals in an informal manner, whereas in ‘A Touch of Frost’ the procedure is more formal, as the criminals are arrested and no discussion takes place between the two parties. Law is illustrated in a positive way in both these extracts as the criminals are being dealt with in contrasting ways. In my opinion I feel that ‘The Wire’ is able to portray the idea of ‘law’ in a more successful way, as the characters and situation are more realistic, enabling the audience to understand better.