In the film The Dark Horse directed by James Napier Robertson, the character Mana is shown to us in a scene in the backyard with a gang his father is in. James uses this scene to create pressure and intensity between his father and son and to foreshadow the decision the son will make. He uses 4 techniques to show this. Facial expression, Over the shoulder camera shots, Sound and Dialogue and last of all sound effects through lack of Music.
James uses Facial expression to show pressure. The pressure is shown in Mana’s facial expression when Mana’s father and the gang leader are talking and then the gang leader looks at Mana for a while and then asks “This what you want”. Then Mana’s father looks at him as if he would be ashamed if Mana said no. We know he is nervous because he is looking down towards the ground and has a straight face. This is a very common reaction when we are getting pressured into something we don’t want to do but feel bad if we don’t give in.This helps us to relate to Mana as it often happens to us with different situations. James also uses Over the Shoulder shot when Mana’s father is talking To the gang member about mana joining the gang. This shot shows that it is the gang leaders point of view a It also shows that the two gang members are having a very intense and pressurised conversation. This shot helps us to understand the pressure that is on Mana because it looks as if we are in this scene behind the gang leader.
Another technique used by James is sound effects to show the importance of the conversation between the two adults. The sound effects are shown through lack of music. This shows pressure and intensity of the conversation between the 2 adults because without any music it stops us from feeling emotional and makes us feel like it is a serious and important conversation. Another very effective technique used to develop pressure on Mana is Sound and Dialogue. James shows this when The gang leader asks if he wants to join the gang. Mana said “Yea” in a quiet voice. This is a very common reaction(speaking quietly) when you don’t want to do something but you know they will be angry and disappointed so you say yes even though you know it’s wrong therefore we can relate to how he is feeling much better.
In conclusion, James Robertson uses a combination of, Facial expression, Sound and Dialogue, Sound effects and Camera shots to make us as the viewer feel a sense of pressure and intenseness through out this scene. This then helps us to feel how not only Mana, but what many other Maori kids have to go through now days.