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Stand by Me

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Stand By Me

“Stand by Me” is a film about the journey of four boys from Castle Rock, Oregon, USA in search of a dead body. The film is directed by Rob Reiner, based on a book called “The Body” by Stephen King. I am going so concentrate on, and describe the main character of the story, Gordie LaChance who is played by Will Wheaton. I will show you how he is coming to terms with adulthood throughout the film. I will use camera techniques to show you this.
The opening of the film enters with a long shot of ripened cornfields and a car placed at the side of the road. It is clearly autumn with winter on its way this matches Gordie's mood and time of life. The lighting in these first images suggest sunset and the day being over. The music is peaceful and full of emotion. The music straight away indicates loneliness. This environment tells us that the man in the car, Gordie LaChance is feeling lonely and sad. The emotions on his face and his body language tell us this also. A close up of a paper, which he is clutching in his hand, is the reason for this. The headline on the paper reads, “ Attorney Chris Chambers fatally stabbed in restaurant.” Chris was Gordie’s best friend when he was twelve years old. The directors have two boys cycle past the Landover and off into the distance in a point of view shot. This camera technique is excellent as it shows us boys cycling into the distance takes us to the past, as the structure of the film is a flashback. There is a zoom in from a medium shot to a close up, then the voice over starts; this shows the audience that Gordie is telling us the story.
The first image we get when the voiceover starts is three boys in a tree house. They are Gordie, Chris Chambers and Teddy Duchamp. They are gambling and smoking. Rod Reiner uses many two shots and the first two shot shows Chris and Gordie playing cards together. This shows they are best friends. They are trying to be like adults. The voiceover tells the audience about each of the boys. When Vern Tessio enters the frame he tells us about the dead body. There is a cut away from the tree house scene to Vern searching for pennies under his house and hearing about the body. This camera technique acts as a flashback to show us what happened when Vern was overhearing. Gordie is immediately interested when Vern begins his story about the dead body. Gordie is interested in what Vern has to say as his brother recently died. This explains why he wants to go and see the body. Gordie was extremely close to his brother a cut away shows us an image of Gordie’s brother giving him his Yankees cap. This shows us how close they were as the hat was very important to his brother. They decide to go and look for the body of Ray Brower.
They are following the train tracks and Teddy decides to dodge the train but Chris pulls him off and they have an argument while they are arguing there is a two shot of Chris and Gordie in a pair amongst the four of them this shows show that Gordie is supporting Chris. The boys approach a junkyard, attached to the fence there is a sign that has “No Trespassing” on it. The boys enter the yard paying no attention to the sign. Teddy and Vern walk ahead, Chris and Gordie decide to have a race, and Chris is physically stronger than Gordie. A long shot indicates Chris can easily overtake Gordie but Chris lets him stay in the lead while giving a commentary but Chris waits until the last minute to beat Gordie. At the end of the race Gordie is much more out of breath, which shows the difference in character. I think this is what makes them such good friends. Gordie enters the shop for provisions as he lost the toss and the shopkeeper speaks to him about his brother. He asks if Gordie is a sportsman like his brother. Gordie has a flashback of his family having dinner, he is sitting next to Denny and he is trying to get Gordie’s achievements recognized by his father but he is not interested. Denny recognizes Gordie’s talent. This camera technique is brilliant as it shows Gordie’s emotions and how strongly he feels about his brother.
The four boys have to cross the railway track over a high bridge. It is one hundred feet off of the ground. There will be nowhere to go if a train was to come. The group are dubious about going over, but Teddy reassures them. As they are crossing the bridge, a close up of Gordie’s hand touching the railway tracks to check if they were vibrating. Gordie shows that he is very intelligent and using his common sense to get his friends across the bridge safely. Gordie is very mature and growing up as the journey progresses as this shot shows us. Gordie checks the tracks for a second time showing he is very cautious about a train coming. “Train!” Gordie screams out as what they most feared is now happening. The train is rapidly gaining on them but Gordie still helps Vern to help his friend. A long shot emphasizes the train getting larger as it approaches them. Teddy and Chris are at the end of the tracks looking on as Vern and Gordie look as if they might not make it. At the vital minute Gordie pushed Vern out of the way of the train and to safety. Gordie risked his own life to help Vern. This shows a lot about Gordie's personality and his relationship between him and his friends.
Gordie and his friends continue the journey to find the body. They decide to set up camp because it is getting dark. Gordie begins the story the story by telling us about a fat boy. He immediately gets the group engrossed in the story only by saying a few lines. As Gordie continues to tell the story it proves to be very successful. The directors show us this by Teddy asking to know more. While Chris is on guard with his gun Gordie has a nightmare, Chris approaches Gordie and comforts him, as he knows the nightmare was about his brother who died. Gordie is still grieving; Chris is there to support him. “It should have been you Gordie” said by Gordie's dad as we see the flashback of the funeral. This shows how damaged Gordie has been by his fathers’ rejection. The blue lighting shows the audience that the image is of Gordie’s dream. Chris is looking over Gordie as a protector. “ I really miss him” Gordie confesses to Chris “ I know” Chris replied. The dialogue shows understanding between the two characters. Chris and Gordie relationship is maturing throughout the film it has become more adult.
As the new day commences you can see Gordie’s character changing already. He has become more responsible and has a more mature outlook to the journey than his friends. They group come across a swamp it is deep and they all fall in. Gordie finds a leech in his underwear he removes the leech but he is bleeding, Gordie faints with the shock. Chris is the first member of the group to rush over to Gordie and help him to his feet. There is a high angle shot of Chris looking down onto Gordie this shows the audience that Chris is the dominant member of the group. As they come to the part of the tracks where the body is assumed to be they split up again the director uses frequent two shots of Gordie and Chris to show their friendship. Vern and Teddy find the body amongst leaves and under a tree. Chris leads the way down to the body. A close up of Gordie shows his emotion about this, he is thinking of his brother. Gordie gathers himself together on a nearby tree. Chris realizes Gordie has to be alone. Chris walks into the frame to comfort Gordie, again another one of Rod Reiner’s frequent to shot of the best friends. Gordie has a low self-esteem and puts himself down, but Chris reassures him by telling him he will be a great writer someday. The next image we see is Ace and Eyeball entering the frame. They are powerful a low angle shot shows the audience this. Ace threatens the boys Vern runs away and Teddy joins him. Ace then pulls out a knife from his pocket and again threatens Chris. We hear a gun shot but the audience don’t see anyone just hear the shot. Slowly we see a close up of the gun the camera runs down the hands and we see Gordie holding the gun above his head. Gordie moves down to protect Chris. This is a new side to Gordie that the audience has not seem before.
The shot shows us the determination on Gordie’s face. As Ace and his gang leave Vern and Teddy come back into the scene. Gordie decides that instead of disturbing the body that an anonymous call to the police would be better. It was a childish ambition to become heroes this way. Gordie has grown up a lot from the start of the film; he was for finding the body and becoming famous but decides in the end about the phone call. That is a very adult thing to do. Gordie changed his outlook on the journey and it changed his character, he went from a child at the start of the film to a young mature adult at the end.
As the boys start the journey back it was silence, from what were very ambitious boys at the start a more adult outlook on life has came upon them. As they reach the town Gordie as the voiceover says “ The town seemed different, smaller.” The boys had grown up. As children the town seemed big but as they are reaching adulthood the town has become smaller. A high angle shot of the boys looking down onto the town shows us this. A wide-angle shot of Chris walking away into the distance away from Gordie shows the audience how much Chris meant to Gordie. The voiceover tells us Chris became a lawyer, but died tragically trying to break up a fight. Gordie becomes a writer and writes the story of what happened to the boys. We see the adult Gordie at home at his computer writing the story; he changes the ending of the story stressing the importance of his relationship with Chris. “ I've never had any friends later on in life like the ones that I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?” This is the way Gordie ends the story. It is very effective as it has the audience thinking about this question.
I found this film very enjoyable, the characters, which Rod Reiner created, worked well with each other. The character of Gordie was very interesting and I think this was why he was the main character. I especially like the way in which Rod Reiner used the camera techniques to show the audience Gordie’s progression throughout the film. I also enjoyed the end of the film when Gordie matures into a young adult and writes the story about his adventure.

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