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West Side Story Movie Review

Autor:   •  March 8, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,085 Words (5 Pages)  •  2,143 Views

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West Side Story

West Side Story is a film that starts off like a play with its curtains about to be drawn. The first five minutes of music in the opening before it finally gives a visual of an aerial view of Manhattan. It then gradually zooms in using dissolve shots, then shows the territorial space of a gang called The Jets. The Jets are a combination of Italian boys who seem to come from families with "drunken fathers and junky mothers." A sense of cultural loyalty and protection is found within each gang member and there is an impression of not belonging to a gang makes for vulnerability in the streets of New York. Either people belong to a gang or they are an outsider. In this movie a to this sense of loyalty is the looming threat of love. When a former gang leader falls in love with the sister of the current gang leader of the rival gang, the threat that this poses will disseminate the comforts that the rival gang symbolize. From the beginning, a distinctive whistle is heard throughout the film and is introduced as the call sign of the Jets. Clicking sounds are also heard that depict the tempo of the film. When the clicking picks up speed, I start to start to think that the excitement is building and knew something was about to happen. It also reflected the adrenaline building within the characters. These sounds effectively give a sense of excitement and potential danger looming in the near future.

The mise-en-scene in the film uses dancing extensively to communicate the meaning and emotion that produce an image of gangs in New York City. Costumes and heavy makeup are also used to convey the differences in nationalities of rivalry between two New York City gangs. As a musical, it tells its story through the form of lyric drama that involves theatrics. Editing techniques often used in this film is the fade-out and fade-in technique that provide a short but meaningful pause between scenes. The scene in which Tony and Maria see each other for the first time fades in and focuses on the two staring at their dream come true. They discover each other for the very first time and gives a sense that they are the only two people in the world and nothing else matters. This scene also uses the dissolve technique where everyone and everything dissolves away and only Maria and Tony are on the screen. The division between the gangs have no meaning to them and they seem to "rise above" all else and ignore the territorial boundaries that have been set throughout the film. Although the two gangs have many differences there are a few similar aspects between them. They protect their own and the bond within each gang is untouchable. They seem to agree also that the police are not there to protect them, but are another threat to their very existence. The police do not have their best interest at heart and are trying to keep the two gangs from teaming up and realizing that if unified the gangs would


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