30th May 2018

Dark Horse

In the 2014 film “dark horse” directed by James Napier Robertson, the character mana faces scariness when his dad a gang member punches his mentally ill uncle in the face after his fellow teammate wins the Auckland chess competition. This is the scene where Manas dad punches genesis and tells him to get in the car. Robertson uses this scene to create tension between Genesis and Mana’s dad to reflect they relationship they have, for most of the Auckland kids this is the first time they’ve ever seen a gang member. Robertson uses four different film techniques which are camera shots, dialogue, body language, lighting.

Robertson uses body language to show the tension between Manas dad and Genesis Manas dad advanced closer with his fist clenched after one of the Eastern night’s members wins the tournament mana sees his dad’s car pull up outside. As Manas dad advances closer to the chess room you can see Manas jaw drop and all the joy and happiness disappear this is shown by a close-up shot of his face. As Manas dad advances another close-up shot is taken of both Manas dads face and Genesis’s face. Robertson cuts from one shot to another to show the tension building up between them.  In the background the white Auckland school kids are very shocked because they have never seen troubled kids, gangs, swearing, and violence, they stand there shaking in shock.

Robertson uses Camera shots in this scene to show whats going on. Robertson uses three specific camera shots in this scene, they are close up, over the shoulder and a mid shot. Robertson uses the mid shot when Manas dad advances into the chess building, this shot is focusing on Manas dad as well as showing what’s in the background. Robertson also uses the close-up shot on Manas face when he sees his dad’s car pull up outside the chess room. Manas facial expressions truly show his fear of whats about to come, Mana knows what will happen to Genesis and is scared for him because they have become good mates and he has helped Mana with chess. Robertson uses the over the shoulder shot in situations when confrontation is happening. An example of this shot is when Manas dad confronts Genesis and punches him.

Dialogue is another feature that Robertson uses in this film. Robertson uses dialogue very well in when manas dad confronts Genesis, the tone of his voice is very deep and scary. The language used is very violent, most New Zealand gangs speak like this. Manas dad shouts fuck you, fuck you a lot and “get in the carboy”. The dialogue conveys a lot about where the “eastern nights” came from and where they have been through, dysfunctional lives and a poor upbringing. The dialogue they use reflects their knowledge of English the lack of education they have had.

Lighting is the last feature the Robertson uses in his movie the dark horse. Robertson uses low key lighting to show sadness in the scene which reflects manas facial expressions when he sees his dad. If Robertson used high key lighting in this scene it would ruin the scene because the scene is sad and high key lighting is mainly used when it is a happy and joyful scene.

In conclusion, Robertson uses a variety of camera shots, dialogue, lighting and facial expressions. He has achieved his goal by using these four features to get his point across. He shows throughout the story that it is very hard for a mentally ill person to fit back into society and gets across that kids with a hard upbringing can still achieve greatness with just a little help. Robertson shows that there is a big issue within New Zealand with Gangs, violence, and Alcohol for young teens.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Remember to detail the effect of the use of each technique on the viewer, Fergus.

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