Analyse how production techniques helped develop your opinion of a main character / individual.
Tom Hooper has used a range of production techniques in the film, “The King’s Speech” such as symbolism mixed with dialogue and camera shot angles, costumes and lighting to enable us to see Bertie in a light that the society in the movie may not see him. The style he uses allows us to see the vulnerabilities Bertie has although he comes off quite stubborn and intimidating.
Tom has used symbolism to demonstrate how Bertie may be royal, supposedly a fearless, perfect human but in actual fact Bertie is dealing with insecurities that have come as baggage of the role he has no choice but to have. In the first scenes, Bertie is speaking at Wembley Stadium and is standing behind a microphone. Bertie is standing behind the microphone, the microphone is focus while Bertie is left blurry. This technique of camera focus combined with the camera angle of a low angle shot making the microphone bigger shows us how intimidated Bertie is from the microphone, but in this case, the microphone represents the fear of letting others see that he is not who they want him to be, such as his family or his country. He is worried his stammer will decrease his respect to those around him, make him lose his worth because he cannot speak as well as those not only in his “perfect royal family” but within society. It demonstrates to us that he is scared, not of the microphone, but of the consequences that come from speaking into it. You get the idea that he has been degraded and pushed away from those close to him because of the stammer and doing this speech could cause society to do the same. There is also the silence Hooper chose to use in the scene where he is speaking contrasted with the close up shot of Berties worried face while he is speaking creates a feeling of isolation. You begin to feel sorry for Bertie because you want to help him, but you can’t and you start to realise that this isn’t the first time he has felt this way by the disappointed expression plastered on Colin Firth’s face. You understand that the silence is used to make him feel lonely, because he is supposed to be part of the royal fantasy of perfection and grace, but he has this “flaw”. Being lonely isn’t always being alone. Bertie is the perfect example. You can feel alone in a room full of people and you can pretend you are fine but in reality, you feel isolated. The isolation can come from anything, but it is especially hard when it is something you can’t change. From these production techniques we can see how Bertie is hardly coping with this experience and we see he is not as resilient and his title portrays him to be.
Hooper also uses costumes to show visually the difference of status between Bertie and his family, through how he is dressed throughout the film. Most men in that era all wore similar attire, consisting of a black suit with a black top hat. While his family in the first few scenes are laced in colourful silks and materials, adorned with jewels, Bertie is dressed in a “regular” black suit with matching top hat. He blend in with society, which is the complete opposite to his family, who are always standing out in the crowd because of their status and “perfect” aura. This small but effective technique paired with the high angle shots diminishing Bertie combined show the way Bertie is treated in his family. He is not considered one of them because he is different. He is “defective” is comparison to them. Not the perfect royal to match the rest of them. It makes us feel as though not only does his family, but Bertie thinks he is lesser than them. That they all believe he is not worthy of the jewels and some of the special privileges that go along with being a royal. You begin to develop the feeling that Bertie’s mindset is stuck in a constant state of “I am not good enough” so he chooses to dress in a way that represents himself. The way we dress is the way we express ourselves and the way Hooper has chosen to use this self expression on Bertie was a creative way of us being able to see Berties personal reflection on himself. Even the small choices in life define us and how we see ourselves and the world, even when it is negative.
Lastly, Tom Hooper uses lighting to demonstrate how Bertie is feeling, even when he doesn’t directly show it through his expression or body language. When Bertie is about to do his first speech, you can see the fear in his eyes if you look closely, but otherwise, he may just seem quietly calm. Hooper uses uses a grey, cloudy mood for this day, with heaps of fog surrounding the stadium. It makes you feel unsettled as you stare through a point of view shot from Berties perspective, just like Bertie as he goes to do this speech. His thoughts are clouded by his fear of not only speaking but of not being good enough for the thousands of citizens waiting for him to speak and he is unsure on whether he will be able to do it or not. Bertie has a lot of pressure on himself right now and not everything is black and white, easy to follow. He is stuck in a grey space, stuck in the fog, his mindset clouded by his lack of hope of ever being good enough. This is Berties lowest point and Hooper conveys how he feels perfectly through the dim lighting and dark weather choice. There are times were our negative thoughts cloud of judgement and we try not to let others see when we are like this but if reality, we need to talk about these feelings as they can eat us up inside and control the way we think and react about everything.
Bertie is conveyed amazingly by Hooper, through all these film techniques, even though Bertie comes across hostile and cold, he, in reality, is facing some unresolved traumas and negative thoughts about himself. Bertie is a hard egg to crack, but once you unlock the little easter eggs that Tom Hooper has left, you begin to realise that Bertie is necessarily as closed off and happy as he seems on the outside.