Stand By Me Essay Introduction

Rob Reiner's Stand By Me

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Rob Reiner's Stand By Me


“Stand By Me” is a film directed by Rob Reiner, which is based on the
novella “The Body” by Stephen King. Stand By Me is the story of four
twelve year olds living in a small town in the year 1959, whose lives
were changed by a chance adventure that they embarked on at the end of
an indolent summer. The four boys were Gordie Lachance (Wil Wheaton),
Chris Chambers (River Phoenix), Teddy Duchamp (Corey Feldman), and
Vern Tessio (Jerry O'Connell). It fits into the film genre coming of
age. This genre is outlines as a small group of individuals who have a
life changing experience in the natural world. They are usually are
the same sex, If not the opposing character would be more
masculine/feminine and clearly more suited to hanging round with the
group of the opposite sex.

The director of the film is keen to show a very strong message, which
is apparent though out the film. We are alone in this long journey to
adulthood. He expresses this in a variety of ways. One method is
cinematography. He frequently uses perspective and panoramic shots,
which charts their long, eventful but beautiful journey to the back
Harlow Road. The incoming train is another way Reiner shows the boys
fear of adulthood. The train is a large, opposing and fast moving
object; the threat is objective rather than impersonal. It is one of
the imagery factors used he uses to add to his message. Other
references to the adult world are seen as enclosed and often hazy,
used to portray the boy’s view of maturity. Whereas the world the boys
see and particularly the journey uses wide and expansive shots to show
the whole world opening up in front of them. Other films shots that
are used are close ups which show the particular intense moments of
the journey for the boys. The help give a sense of tension and strong
emotion. This is particularly shown well at the end of the film when
the boys go to split up.

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The camera only shows you their faces; to
give you the affect you are looking right at them. Like you know them.
At the end the camera also shows all different angles of Castle Rock,
making it seem like a different place than you saw at the beginning.
It is seen as empty, barren almost dead. At the start of the film it
is shown as a cleanly, shiny, friendly typical 50’s American city. It
shows how the boys have changed. Music is also used in the film, the
popular White American music of the fifties passes through the film
showing the boys fun and innocence. However, the music is also played
on the scenes featuring Ace and the gang, to show the way popular
music infiltrated all young peoples life.

Reiner has set this film up to show the boys coming of age, and as
mentioned before, the scenery and the composition help that. But there
are also other factors that contribute to that. The four main actors
performances and direction really brings it along. The boys are at the
age in which they share everything and they haven’t quite started with
girls so the dialogue is empty of female confusion, as it should be.
They break down and lift each other back up. The characters have a
real raw connection, which is well shown on film. The camera is well
suited to catching their emotion; a lot of close shots are used. Each
individual plays his character in a different way, but in one sense
they all unite as ‘the boys’. This is particularly seen in the
campfire scene. A very important scene to the film, it shows so many
things about the boys: The fact they are different, the fact they are
same. They enjoy humour and cigarettes and discussing everything under
the sun. Gordie, the protagonist is seen as a shy, clever boy, who
tires effortlessly to impress his parents but to no avail. Gordie may
be seen as one of the weakest characters in the film, but technically
I think he is the strongest, close to Chris. Gordie's older brother
Denny was recently killed in an auto accident, and his parents have
not handled it well. They mope around their house and continually ask
Gordie (who is an aspiring writer) why he isn't more like his brother,
who was a popular athlete in town. This means Gordie’s home life is
terrible. All the boys have a hard time at home, which is somewhere
they unite and can be strong for one another. Gordie's best friend,
Chris, who is intelligent, brave, and the natural leader of the group,
has an alcoholic father, who constantly beats him, and an older
brother who is a delinquent. Everyone in town figures that Chris will
follow in their footsteps, so he is very much afraid and yet in some
way defiant of what his future will be. He wants to show them all how
good he can be, and in the end he does. Teddy is the son of an
emotionally disturbed war veteran who has abused him all his life. In
his mind Teddy cannot accept his situation, so he has created a
fantasy world in which his father is an All American war hero instead
of an inmate in a mental hospital. Vern is on the chubby side,
somewhat uncoordinated, and is constantly the butt of jokes. Vern's
older brother likes to push him around when he is there, and so Vern
spends a fair amount of time hiding out. Yet Vern ends up being the
catalyst of the story. He accidentally overhears his older brother
describe the location where he is pretty sure that the dead body of a
missing boy from the town that everyone had been looking for actually
lies. This gives him a chance to be important in the pecking order of
the club, and he brings this information to the other boys. Another
good thing about the film is that Reiner does not sanitise at all, the
film is a 15 (or a R in USA), and it’s full of the language you’d
expect. This is not a children’s film just because it is about
children. It has not been given the ‘Disney affect’. Which is remove
all the bad language, appear to give all the children either a very
extensive or a tiny vocabulary and make everything seem American
perfect. Because that is not this film at all. The best scene to show
this is the scene in which Gordie and then Ace find the body. The two
boys in the presence of fear and a threat to their own lives come of
age together. When the boys find the body Gordie gets upset and goes
quiet. Typical, you’d all think. But then, he, taking his place next
to Chris stands up with the gun and really that’s when you know, he
has smoothly become a man. All thanks to Reiner.



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