Monday, October 20, 2014

The Queen

The movie The Queen by Steven Frears, about the relationship between Elizabeth II and the prime minister Tony Blair, uses many cinematic tools and aesthetic qualities to help convey the story, characters, and the spine of the film.  One of these is the use of access given to primary characters, specifically the queen.  Elizabeth is very conservative -- hiding her emotions and honest opinions expertly.  We see this no only through dialogue and performance, but from the access of her the director and DP of the film decided to give to the audience through shot design, composition, and range of focus.  The queen rarely has vulnerable moments in the film, but the one time she does break down and cry when she's stuck in the swamp/river with her car and she sees a deer, we have little to no access to her face.  There's a shot of her from behind and a shot of her from the side, in which her face is blurry and the background is in focus.  She also has a scarf around her head, covering her true identity and insecurities.  

These cinematic and costume decisions seep subconsciously into the viewers minds and lead us to feel and think a certain way about the film when we wouldn't otherwise.  The little access we had to Elizabeth throughout the movie helped me come to the conclusion, among other things, that this was Tony's story rather than hers.  We see Tony's vulnerabilities, through more reaction shots and access to his face, and therefore we are with him one hundred percent and see the film through his eyes, where with Elizabeth we only see one side of her completely. 

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