The End

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade April 2001

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In the world of film, it is important for a director to establish his/her own style. Peter Jackson has a style unmatchable by many other directors and this style shines through in his movie, Heavenly Creatures. In this film, Jackson uses one scene as a means of symbolic narration to successfully portray subconciously to audience members, the final outcome of the movie.

The particular sequence chosen by Jackson foreshadows the outcome of the rest of the movie through the use of character styles, sound and setting as a means of symbolism.

From the start, there is a physically noticeable difference between the two girls. They fit the classic roles of masculine and feminine, simply by their names (Paul and Juliet), alone. Paul is presented as dark and mysterious, whereas Juliet is seen as lively and bright. This sequence focuses on establishing these male and female roles to the extreme.

Paul is quickly established as the masculine figure by her willingness to put aside her girlish fears and be the first to jump off the dock into the water below. This scene is symbolic of the final scene where the murder takes place. Despite the horrific nature of the crime about to be committed, Paul pulls strength from Juliet's vulnerability and calls forth her own courageous side to spill the blood of her own kind. It is not until Paul takes the first step that Juliet can find the nerve to finish the job. In this way, Juliet is gathering strength from Paul. The girls fit together as a nearly perfect match because of their ability to take the other's weakness and turn it into their own strength.

Juliet is clearly presented as the dominant member of the relationship. In the eyes of Paul, Juliet is a mortal goddess, and would do anything to satisfy her, if only to hold on to that beauty which she so badly craves herself. Juliet's self-confidence is shown predominantly in the quickly cut sequence of snap shots of the girls at the beach. In each of the photographs, Juliet keeps herself open to the camera, while Paul always keeps herself slightly sheltered from the lens, behind Juliet's flaunting body, or her own dark hair. The way in which the girls attempt to draw energy out of one another grows throughout the rest of the film, as they struggle with the concept of having to part with one another, up until their final, drastic attempt to remain always together.

Sound is also a key element in the foreshadowing of the upcoming events in the plot. During the quick cut sequence of the photographs, the music flows with the shots containing both girls in the picture, and then drops into a deeper tone as the last two pictures present the girls alone in their own separate pictures. This is foreshadowing their state of separation at the end of the movie, and provokes a sense of dread and tension in the viewer. Music is also used to emphasize the joy the girls feel at the discovery of the fourth world, and is used accordingly throughout the rest of the movie whenever the girls experience that same overpowering emotion.

To invoke a sense of realism, Jackson added the sound of chirping birds in the background as Juliet learned of her parents plans to vacation by themselves. This sound is again incorporated during the murder at the end of the movie, and is used to suggest that life is continuing to exist beyond the life of the girls which the audience sees portrayed on the screen.

Voice overs are also used to add emphasis to the story line. The sound of a horse running into the castle is symbolic of the girls running away from their murdered victim, in order to fully be able to reach their fantasy world where they can be eternally happy. As well, the voice overs of them narrating the story of "The Royal Family" keeps the audience in the state of mind that the girls are in fact, living their lives as a fairytale.

Finally, the setting is used to symbolize the final outcome of the plot. When Paul jumps into the water and Juliet remains standing on the dock, there is a clear connection between that particular situation and the scene where Juliet is being taken away on the boat and Paul is being left behind, with the water acting as a barrier between the two girls in both situations.

Another interesting event which takes place involves the crushing of the sand castle. The setting for the girls fairytale world takes place inside the castle, and when Juliet's brother gets involved, the castle is crushed which foreshadows the crushing of the girls fourth world when they are separated at the end of the film.

During the scene where the girls discover the fourth world, the clouds in the sky break apart to form the shape of the Jewish star. This scene appears to be symbolic of the three wise men following the star to find Christ and to lead them into a new life. The same type of situation presents itself to Paul and Juliet, and as their gazes follow the star, a whole new world unfolds before them.

In this new world, everything comes in two's. The audience is subjected to shots containing sets of two birds, two butterflies, two unicorns and two sets of two trees. These pairs represent how the girls attatchment to one another can never go beyond the two of them, and it represents how they need each other, almost as parents in respect to a family, in order for the fourth world to survive. The setting of the new world completely over-takes the real world and from this point on it symbolizes the girls loss of touch with reality as it is commonly known.

In conclusion, Jackson manages to successfully portray himself as an original director. By using his personal style to create characters, sound and symbolic setting in one sequence he creatively foreshadows the outcome of Heavenly Creatures, in a way that few could match.