Analysis of the Kidnapping Scene in the Movie Rabbit-Proof Fence by Phillip Noyce
The most prominent scene that evokes a mixture of emotions among the audience in the film is when Molly, Daisy and Gracie are being taken away from their mothers by the policeman, Riggs. The director brilliantly orchestrates the scene to strongly impact the audience’s emotions by using techniques such as camera shots, juxtaposition and background music.
First and foremost, various camera shots were used in the scene to make the audience feel empathy, terror and panic as they watch the children being taken away from their home. Noyce uses tracking shot, which is a camera movement where the camera follows the action of the shot and in this scene the camera tracks Molly, Daisy and Gracie’s attempt to escape from being kidnapped by the policeman as they run away from him frantically. This technique is effective because it makes the audience empathize with the girls’ situation as the audience feel as if they are running with Molly, Daisy and Gracie.
Moreover, the handheld camera shots, where the camera is being held by hand or with a harness giving the shot a shaky effect to create a sense of realness manage to highlight the girls’ terror and panic enables the viewers to connect with the scene and the girls. On top of that, in order to make Riggs appear larger, frightening and dominance, Noyce uses low angle camera shots to visualize these characteristics. The low angle shots make the viewers grasp the idea that Riggs has the ultimate authority over the Aborigine people and can easily rip them apart.
Next, the juxtaposition technique is used to make the audience sympathize towards the Aborigines in the particular scene. The juxtaposition element can be seen in the way the characters dressed. The Aborigines are dressed in simple and relaxed clothing, appropriate with the desert setting. They seem comfortable playing with each other and minding their own business despite the heat. Everything appears to be serene until Riggs show up into the scene, dressed in a dark and proper policeman uniform.
When he gets out of his car, he sweats and appears to be tensed with the whole environment. Everything about him is so out of place and strikingly different from the Aborigines. The juxtaposition between the Aborigines and Riggs serves the purpose of making the audience understand that the girls belong in their home. Noyce uses the contrast to show the viewers how outsiders come and destroy everything. Through the contrast we feel hatred for Riggs and the cruel, inhumane system that separates mother from child.
Lastly, Noyce uses music in this scene to make the viewers feel alarm and anxious. The music is natural and fits the desert landscape at the beginning of the scene. However, the music evolves to a slightly threatening undertone, which foreshadows the terror that the girls are about to face. Then, when Riggs chases the girls, the music changes altogether where it becomes frantic, like a rapid heartbeat. Noyce uses this technique to make us feel panicked and scared. Noyce’s purpose of using frantic music is to produce empathy and fear for the girls’ situation among the audience. The sound of the scene is also altered by Riggs’ initial arrival; the deafening sound of his car engine. Noyce is showing us how the white man destroys the calm which makes the viewers feel angry at this violation of a peaceful community.
Noyce uses camera shots, juxtaposition and music to strongly affect the viewers’ emotions in the kidnap scene. The audience are left with feelings of anger and frustration at the brutal treatment of the Aborigine people. Through this scene, Noyce is trying to show the tragedy of the “Stolen Generation”. The tragedy is, this travesty of justice is not yet over.
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