‘the Perfect Storm’ Essay

How does the Director create tension in the storm scene of “The Perfect Storm”? In the storm scene of “The Perfect Storm”, the director, Wolfgang Petersen, creates a large amount of tension to try to make the film more exciting and realistic. It is important for this film to be quite realistic because it is based on a true story. This is how tension is created in this dramatic, exciting scene using Cinematography and Mise-en-Scene. One of the many tense moments in this scene is when we see a tilt angle in which the crew are sitting silent in their quarters.
The tilt angle emphasizes the fact that the boat is rocking dangerously and makes the audience worry that the boat will capsize. This creates tension because it makes the audience fear for the lives of the crew. Another tense part of the scene is at the beginning when we see the small boat struggling against the gigantic waves. The long shot shows how massive the waves are compared to the small fishing boat. This makes the audience feel tense because the boat looks so helpless in the dangerous storm.
This is one of my favourite scenes because it shows just how much danger the crew is in. Tension is further built through a close up of one of the crew in the bedroom. He looks very much like he has given up and also very worried, depressed and hoping that that the captain will be able to save them. This creates tension by making the audience fear for the crew, worry about them and creates sympathy towards them. A mid-shot continues to make us feel anxious when we see the captain and his first mate struggling to steer the boat through the huge waves.

This shot shows just how much difficulty they are having and how worried and tense they are. It creates tension because it shows the audience how hard it is to control the boat and shows the emotions the captain and his mate are feeling. These emotions are exhaustion and anxiety. Another very intense part of the scene is when there is a high angle of the floor in the bedroom and clothes washing around. This shows how flooded the boat is and emphasizes the fact that this is an extremely dangerous situation.
This creates tension because it makes the audience feel that the boat will sink and therefore putting them on the edge of their seat. There is also a low angle in the scene. We see the captain and his mate at the steering wheel. The fact that it is a high angle suggests that the crew is still in control. They have very determined looks on their faces which suggests that they might make it and gives the audience a false sense of hope in the crew. The director uses Mise-en-scene in the film to create more tension.
The lighting in the storm scene of “The Perfect Storm” is quite dark and dramatic. There are also flashes of lightning to emphasize how dangerous and unpredictable the storm is. The dark blue lighting creates tension because it is a cold, dark colour. This makes the audience feel that something very bad is going to happen. The music and sounds are also a very important part of this film. These create tension in the storm scene because there are sounds of massive waves splashing against each other, claps of thunder and dramatic music playing in the background.
The splashes are to remind the audience how big the waves are and the thunder is to add to the tension created by the lightning. The trumpets in the background music make the audience feel tense because trumpets can make very dangerous sounding notes. Costumes can also create tension. For example, in this film, the crew are wearing fishermen’s uniforms. These mainly consist of waterproofs, jumpers and gloves. These are to show that they are fishermen and to emphasize how cold and wet it is. They also make the audience think that the crew is feeling uncomfortable.
Props also make the audience sit on the edge of their seat in this film. In this scene, there are clothes all over the floor and pictures of family on the wall. This is to show what the crew will lose. The effect on the audience is that it makes them feel sorry for the crew’s family. In conclusion, the director creates tension with angles, shots, music and props. I have learned that Cinematography and Mise-en-scene are very powerful things when trying to build tension. Personally, I found this film quite depressing. But I still feel tense when I see this scene.

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