The thing about this film is that there are so many different settings; I believe it is one of the best-put together films, which uses all of the ritual elements of cinema to create a brilliant film and allows the viewer to understand each of the elements of cinema. The Secret Life of Walter Amity is a film that is brilliantly put together. The first elements Of cinema that stood out to me and noticed the most was the use Of cinematography, and the miss en scene of each shot or setting.
Director Ben Stiller used very dramatic where the main character Walter went into a deep day-dream, imagining himself as a hero who for example, saved a dog out of a burning apartment building. The way the film dramatically jumped from Walter’s everyday reality to this unreal fantasy. There are some unbelievable shots as Walter goes on his adventure across the world, settings such as Greenland, the tip of a Volcano, and Iceland in search of a lost photograph taken by famous photographer Sean O’Connor, played by actor Sean Penn.
Throughout the film, there are multiple metaphors, allusions, and symbolism. For example when Walter Amity lands in Greenland, he rents a vehicle from a man in a small little booth. Amity asks, “Do you have any cars here? “Yeah, a red one and a blue one” the goofy Greenland native said. Walter chose the red car, it was funny to me because that scene was a lot like the Blue Pill or Red Pill from The Matrix. The props in The Secret Life of Walter Amity are not so much items, but people.
Walter is driven by two things in this film, his love for fellow co-worker Cheryl Manhole and the lost picture that will be used for the last cover of Life magazine. While Walter is on his adventure, images of Cheryl pop up, into actual reality motivating Walter to continue his adventure. Towards the beginning of Walter’s adventure, he is rescued from the depths of the icy Greenland waters, and is almost killed by a shark; he is saved by a boat of fisherman. After his rescue Walter has one of his many “what am I doing, is this real life” moments. Ally like how they created so many different obstacles that create metaphors of life, and how they used those metaphors of life to create a beautiful miss-en-scene element of the film. My favorite prop of the film was the clues that Walter had in order to find and locate the exact location of Sean O’Connor. Throughout the film there are many supporting actors that help out Amity with his adventure to find the missing photo. One of my favorites was a large drunken man who Walter meets in Greenland who takes him in a helicopter to find Sean.
One of the clues was a picture of a large hand, with a ring on one finger. As Walter and the large Greenland man are talking, Walter notices the hand form the picture. I loved how they used the clues throughout the film that helped guide Walter Amity on his adventure, while incorporating multiple character actors and supporting actors. Ally enjoyed the cinematography of this film, think that it’s a really important element that made this such a good film. It really allowed the viewer to see everything from Walter Mitt’s perspective, and vice versa.
Especially while Walter was day dreaming, most of the time you could not even tell that Walter was actually day dreaming, the viewer would actually think that he is doing this heroic gesture, but the boom, jump cut to a close up of his face with wide eyes, or somebody would be saying something in his day dream when actually it was another character trying to get his attention room day dreaming about his fantasies. Natural lighting created this life like image for the viewer, when in scenes where Walter is in Greenland.
I also noticed in scenes where Amity was walking down a hallway, or across a bridge, that the rule of thirds was used quite often and executed perfectly. Even took a screenings of the scene on my computer, and used Photos to create lines to look at how they drew attention and really drew the viewer’s eye to Walter in each scene. Even with different perspectives, such as a bird’s eye view, they still maintained to use the rule of thirds. Also noticed symmetry when drew the lines to test the rule of thirds. A lot of the shots created a lot of different perspectives than I’ve seen in other movies.
It really made the film more enjoyable. Depths of field is something that I noticed a lot in this film. There were multiple shots that were far away, mostly during Mitt’s adventure, which think really allowed the viewer a clear perspective of Mitt’s adventure. Some shots made me question how in the world they even got the shot, being that I don’t have much background knowledge of interrogatory, I think that this movie uses cinematography creatively, and still keeping a unique perspective on a single leading character.
The editing Of The Secret Life of Walter Amity is genius. I really enjoyed the way that the action scenes were filmed, not too choppy so I could still see what was going on. I think that this film used continuity editing creating a vivid verisimilitude for the viewer. The editing created a very simple format that made the plot easy to follow. The cuts of each scene where there was a conversation, used close up, over the shoulder, and shot/reverse shots. For large scenes with a big nature settings there were flawless transitions and use of depth of field.
I noticed that when transitioning from a large nature setting, many fades were used which allowed the setting change to be smooth. As I mentioned before, the cinematography while Amity was in his day dreaming state was so good, only because of the way they edited those scenes. The use of jump cuts, conversational shots, transitions to different scenes using fades made the film easy to understand for the common viewer. This film uses narrative USIA to help tell the story and makes the viewer feel a part of Mitt’s journey.
One of my favorite parts about this film is the soundtrack. The soft Indies songs throughout the movie create beautiful transitions and create fit perfectly with each scene. In particular my favorite scene from the whole movie is when Walter Amity is riding a long board down a very long windy hill, the song goes into Walter’s adventure and creates what was his fantasy, into his reality. The soundtrack of this film absolutely enhances Walter Mitt’s roller coaster ride of his fantasy adventure.
Also the music goes along with Mitt’s attitude and his overall personality during the film. Towards the beginning of the film the music is much sadder, or dark compared to the end where Amity has found his purpose, and is on his adventure to find the lost photograph that he hopes will win the girl of his dreams and his job. Using voice oversee while Amity is day dreaming, is something that occurs a lot, it is what brings Amity back to reality. The music, sound, and voice oversee in this film flows naturally along with each part of the film, using the element of film sound perfectly.
Cite this Walter Mitty
Walter Mitty. (2017, Jul 21). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/walter-mitty-essay-40377/