English Sequence Analysis 21 February 2013
In Dead Poets Society, the sequence that showed the most evidence of the director skillfully using filmic techniques to convey the themes and narratives throughout the film, was the scene of Neil Perry’s suicide. This sequence is key to the film as it sets the rest of the plot in motion and dictates the behavior of the other characters after his suicide. The scene leading up to Neil’s death is where he is having a serious discussion with his parents about the direction of his life and how he doesn’t want it to go the way his parents do. The filmic elements in this scene further emphasize his loss of will to live and through that his suicide.
The scene starts off with a close up shot of the Perry’s living room table. It has a picture of the Perry’s in what were presumably happier times, a half drunk glass of whisky or brandy and a lit cigarette that Mrs. Perry has been smoking. The camera then pans to Mrs. Perry looking out the window at Neil and Mr. Perry arriving home. The camera remains focused on Mrs. Perry while she takes another drag of her cigarette and sits down anxiously. The camera switches to Neil and his father entering the room and zooms out until the viewer can see the whole room. There is no music accompanying the scene which only adds to the dramatic air about it. Neil sits down which creates a more imposing theme for Mr. Perry due to him looking almost more authorative being the tallest person in the room. The camera switches down to Neil and back up to his father throughout the argument. Neil stands up during the argument and camera switches from him to his mother and father.
The next scene is of his father going to bed and placing his slippers next to his bed. The camera zooms in on him and then to his shoes. The camera switches to Neil’s bed with his clothes packed and zooms out to show him. He removes his shirt and an eerie soundtrack starts ad Neil picks up his wreath and opens...