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You Will Be Happy

Essay by   •  August 12, 2013  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,579 Words (7 Pages)  •  4,577 Views

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In the movie clip from the film Sling Blade entitled "You Will Be Happy", the audience gets a glimpse of the brilliant artists who collaborated to make this movie. The movie Sling Blade can most simply be described as a work of art. The directing, acting, cinematography, music choices, costume designs and set designs are all intertwined in such a way that they create a tapestry of beauty which cover a plethora of subjects for one to ponder.

Sling Blade was released in 1996 and is an American drama film set in a small country town in Arkansas. It was written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton, who also stars in the lead role, as Karl Childers. The cast includes Robert Duvall, Lucas Black, J.T. Walsh, Dwight Yaokam, John Ritter, James Hampton, Natalie Canerday, Mickey Jones, Brent Briscoe, Bruce Hampton, Ian Moore, Rick Dial, Vic Chesnutt, Jim Jarmausch, Sarah Boss, and Christine Ward; all of who play amazing roles in this film. The producers were Larry Meistrich, David Bushell and Brandon Rosser. The music was composed by Daniel Lanois and the costumes were designed by Doug Hall.

The importance of a director in any film is to convey the most meaning that a film can bring to its audience. The cinematographer, production designer and art directors all add to the directors intentions by creating meaning through each ones own artistic expertise. In the story told through Sling Blade, the director provides each scene with just enough emphasis on what is important for the audience to know, without overpowering us with too much information regarding one topic, before carrying us into another subject to ponder. Through the use of his counter-parts, the lighting, scene choices, production designs and art direction, the director translates what is seen by the audience in the most significant ways. They manage to blend their artistic abilities in such a way that the story flows smoothly, taking careful note not to overwhelm us with all its meaning at once, but rather carry us slowly through the director's vision, high lightening those important facts, without muddling them with unnecessary details.

Sling Blade's story is about a mentally disabled Arkansas man named Karl Childers who was sent to the State Mental Institute at the age of twelve for killing his mother and her lover; this part was played by Billy Bob Thornton. The movie begins twenty five years after his incarceration on the day in which he is to be released and the audience is immediately drawn into complex emotions evoked from this characters physical appearance. His simple demeanor, awkward facial expressions, haircut and clothing all help establish the believability of his handicap. Karl Childers is hunched in stature, walks with an awkward gate, continuously wrings his hands together, maintains a sort of sucked in grin with far-away eyes and his costume design of a long sleeve, buttoned to the top of the collar, plain blue shirt and pants that are three inches too short for his legs, with a haircut that resembles a bowl, all aid in the audiences understanding that he is mentally challenged, even prior to his first spoken words.

In the movie-clip "You will Be Happy", we see this character, Karl Childers sitting on a tree stump with a young boy he has made friends with, Frank Wheatley, played by Lucas Black. There is a forest surrounding the two of them, with very dim lighting and only a small glimpse of bright light coming from the right side of the forest. The setting itself gives way to the understanding of an emotional bond between this mentally challenged man and his young friend. The forest where they meet, in itself is symbolic. The forest is a well known symbol for mystery, secrecy and human unconsciousness. The music is somewhat melodic and almost spiritual with the simplicity of a single piano ballad playing softly in the background. These elements chosen by the cinematographer, director and set designer all intertwine to create the mood for the audience and the very important conversation that is about to unfold.

The conversation spoken begins with Karl asking Frank if he would do him a favor, the boy immediately responds that he would. The way in which Karl continues to wring his hands displays the nervousness he feels, causing Frank to recognize that something is different. Frank asks Karl if everything is going to be okay and Karl assures him that it will be. The low lighting and close-up shot of this particular mise-en-scene



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