Q: what cinematic techniques does the director, Ridley Scott use to convey the roles of the hero, maximus and the villain, Commodus at the begging of the film? “Gladiator is kind of an inverted Spartacus story; the exhibition of the film sees Roman general Maximus defeat a huge Germanic army. But soon Caesar and surrogate father is murdered by his son Commodus, because his fathers’ privilege of being Caesar will pass to Maximus. Commodus thus retains the thrown and try’s to kill Maximus for standing against him. Commodus’ closest ally is his sister Lucilla, who also has feelings for Maximus.
He escapes his doomed fait, but his family is killed and he is imprisoned as a slave, becoming a gladiator. Eventually he fights his way to Rome hoping for an audience with the Caesar in order to kill him and return the Roman Empire to its former glory. ” It is the character of Maximus who acts as the centerpiece to the film and basically ensures the audiences participation in the action. He is a character who is impossible to dislike as he embodies the all-American values of rags-to-riches heroism, fighting and overcoming insurmountable odds, and the individual man who can make a difference.
The film also covers a rather poignant nationalistic message of American and democratic politics. The films events see a dictatorship brought down in favour of a republican, democratic state which can been seen to relate to the events of WWII and more recently the extraction of the dictatorship in Afghanistan and the impending invasion of Iraq. Shot one is a close up of maximus’s hand reveals that the part that he plays is important. We don’t see him, but we make the connection between the two clues.
He model’s a ring on his finger, this implies that he is married; all this is part of the mis-en-scene, also part of this is the cuffs on maximus’s shirt. This can imply that he is a fighter of some kind or a warrior. The director, Ridley Scott has revealed importance of maximus role in the film by showing maximus’s hand in a long shot. Using mis-en-scene, he tells the audience a basic outline of what his role is. Ridley Scott has used implicit ideology to give the audience information on maximus background. He also has used explicit ideology to tell us what is going to happen next in the film.
e. g. , the audience could get the impression (from seeing the cufflink) that there is going to be a war or a battle if maximus is wearing his slower costume. Lighting also plays a very important role to determine the mood of the shot. In scene 1, Ridley uses warm sepia tones to convey the feeling of warmth in the opening shot. This also gives the scene a mysterious film. Photographs in the earlier days used sepia tones for the photos so this image is like a warm memory. The editing and the convention of the film leads us, the audience to have certain expectations from what we see and hear.
e. g. , the mysterious music played in this scene leads us to raise such questions as “what is going to happen next? ” This image is a reoccurring image, and features with a hidden meaning throughout the whole film. The following shot is in complete stark contrast the one previous. The blue lighting gives of the feelings of coldness, depression, isolation. The colours used ion this shot shows the harsh reality of war. This shot features maximus. as a Robin appears, maximus’s eye becomes raised to follow the robin up, then down. During this scene, as his eyes look down, the beat picks up.
The first shot is shown with a slow beat, the second, a bit faster and so on. This gives the scenes tension and suspense; it’s like the excitement during the preparation of one that leads up to a battle. The robin symbolizes hope, new life, like there is hope for maximus, but it also a show’s the hope fly away, like life is full of disappointments. The opening shots are there for there to build up the facts about maximus character. Scene 9 lets us know a little more about his character, it is a point of view shot that reflects how close him and the soldiers are.
The soldiers show their respect for maximus by standing up for him when he walks past him. This reflects his social status, and this is being shown to be of a high respect. The blue tones have been used for this scene as well to give the audience effect of coldness, depression and also shows the harsh realities of war! Following the scene with all the tents lined up, the next one is very important as it shows what is going to happen next. Weather the scenes that are to follow are going to be brutal or peaceful.
They turn out to be brutal because Ceaser wants maximus to be protector of Rome after he dies, this will lave Commodus to be very unhappy, so there is going to be battles between the two! To add to the sequence of the shot, the director uses soft music with mystery in it. This leaves the audience with the sense of suspense throughout, again- asking questions like “what happens next? ” a white light shines of his head, and this highlights the goodness in maximus-showing that he is the one. This light leaves the background looking dark. The fur also shows that he is a very important person as his big cloak makes him look big and powerful.
By doing this, the director expresses the total importance of his character. The shot where maximus floats plays a significant part as it reveals his status as a hero as everyone lifts his body out of the arena like he belongs to royalty. This shot is long and the lighting used is very dramatic. There are rose petals scattered randomly across the floor, this is all part of the mis-en-scene. As the scene moves on, the music increases in volume, and the lighting becomes considerably darker. The sequence of shots goes from maximus standing up looking quite dizzy until he falls to the ground. Lucilla runs out crying.