In ‘The Others’ the director, Alejandro Amenabar, uses mise-en-scene and presentational devices to trick and deceive the audience.
In the film the characters show a lot of emotion so the director subconsciously makes up place our trust in certain characters. When we realise we have been misled we are shocked and feel betrayed, even though we are relieved. It is the director using these presentational devices such as lighting, camera angles and other forms of mise-en-scene, which mislead us in several different ways throughout the film.Firstly, the initial presentation that the director immediately portrays to us is that Grace is on edge. The first image is an extreme close-up of Grace waking up with a blood-curdling scream, which we initially think is a nightmare.
This makes the audience feel sympathetic towards her. The director has immediately tried to get us on her side, and it is through the fear on her face that this is achieved.Furthermore, another initial view that we get is when Anne and Nicholas are fighting and playing together, they seem like just a normal brother and sister play fighting.
For example when they are sitting eating, Anne is teasing Nicholas about the ghosts. Here the director uses dim lighting to make us feel scared and sorry for Nicholas. She uses childish words like ‘cowardy custard’ to give the sense of harmlessness, yet this is when the tension starts to build in the film., because we start to sense a streak of evil throughout Anne, she starts to seem slightly unpredictable due to her strange, and dark nature.In ‘The Others’ the director uses these many presentational devices to mislead us. One example of this is when Grace throws the servants out of the house, for suspicions that they are plotting against her and her children.
The camera shows us a very influential low angle shot, to trick us into believing the servants are not to be trusted. The camera angle also gives a sense of power and deceit. This effect is also used to make us feel small and insignificant, whilst sensing that Grace, Anne and Nicholas are extremely vulnerable, as we look up at the servants.Also, another example of this towards the end of the film is when Anne and Nicholas discover the servant’s graves. It is then that the servants start to approach them in a slow, lifeless manner. At this moment the director uses a number of presentational devices. Firstly, a wide panning shot is used to show how small and endangered the children apparently are.
Secondly, a minor-toned, fast paced, non-diegetic sound is used to create tension, misery and ultimately fear throughout the audience. Finally, a last example of this, is an extreme close- up on Nicholas’ face when he realises that they are dead, this is a great technique to strongly show the facial expression, in this case fear of someone. These are how the director uses presentational devices to trick and lure us into a trap.Finally, towards the end of the film the director decides to unveil the twist, this is the point in the film where we feel misled, yet we can finally make sense of everything. For example, throughout the film they have pale faces and light skin, the audiences initial thought for this is that this is because of their disease. Yet, obviously at the end we find out it’s because they are ghosts.
The director uses this excuse throughout the film to shield the truth and mislead us once again. Here he uses make-up and a bleak contrast with the camera to give this effect.Secondly, when Grace and the children walk into the sï¿½ance, the way the servants were discussing the family to grace, portrayed to us that they are the ghosts, and that Grace, Anne ; Nicholas are being haunted, which of course is not the case. For example, when Grace is at the bottom of the stairs and the servants plead with her to go and speak to the family. Obviously, the director has done this to make us extremely unprepared for the final shocking twist.
When we finally do realise the truth, that Grace and the children are dead, and in fact they are unknowingly haunting the family, the director uses a great camera effect of Grace ripping up the papers. Yet through the family member’s eyes, she is invisible, this is an excellent realisation of what is really going on, and shows the clash between the dead and alive. It also shows you an insight into the way the family portray the house, and the current circumstances.The director used many presentational devices throughout the film to mislead, and shield the audience from the truth. He used a great variety of mise-en-scene, for instance make-up, camera shots and clever, selective dialogue to consistently lead the audience down the wrong path, so the twist at the end would be as effective as possible.