The short film Smashed is directed by peter Snelling and was filmed in 2009. The setting of the film takes place in a typical English town in Somerset full of pubs club and bars which are frequented by the characters. The film consist of four main characters (two boys two girls) who start the night of separate from each other in groups but their paths cross over the course of the night after a pregnancy links them together. The main plot of the story revolves around the characters nights out, alcohol and recovering the pieces from the night before. The film was funded by Avon and Somerset police to possibly raise alcohol awareness and the consequences of drinking excessively. My essay will analyse the film smashed and its technical codes to identify their use by the director and what they mean.
The films setting is a town in Somerset which is used to replicate a typical English town with an array of bars and clubs that the characters use throughout the night. The setting is given a gritty round down view with various camera shots highlighting council estates and empty shops which signifies deprivation and could link to the theme of the characters constantly drinking as they do not have much to look forward to and also the shots could have been used by the director to signify that not only are the characters lives drab and depressing but so is the town and its architecture. The setting also gives the film a meaning of a typical English town implying that the events that take place here don’t just happen in big cities like London. Another meaning of the chosen setting could link in with the film being funded by Somerset and Avon police who would want people to be able to recognise and relate to the local area so they would realise the problems affect everyone not just people in big cities and from the directors point of view the funding from Somerset and Avon police gives him a clear message to portray about alcohol and its effects but furthermore allow the audience to interact with the characters and location and make the audience if the characters actions in the film portray the audiences actions on a night out.
The characters in the film consist of two groups of friends (two boys two girls) who have met each other before in a following night. The two characters Estelle and Sam are connected during the night out by the fact that Estelle is pregnant possibly with Sam’s baby , and as teen pregnancy is a problem in this day and age the pregnant character may have been chosen to allow the audience to relate to their own lives with that off the character. All of the characters are portrayed as alcoholics which is highlighted throughout the film with phrases as “let’s get slaughtered” and “i just want to get smashed” being used by the characters to signify the average teenager and a dependency on alcohol for to have a good time. These quotes show that the characters main motive is alcohol and its effects and the meaning of this could be a move by the director to try and portray the youth of today by implying that they are focused on alcohol. Also the fact that when the characters are not drinking they seem to be reflecting on the night before and their problems and they appear to drink to forgot their problems and sorrows which could connote that thay have nothing to look forward to in their lives and hte director could b trying to interact with the audience by linking these problems to them.
The film uses a variety of propos which have different meanings with some being clearly visible while some are hidden and subliminal. The main prop with a hidden message is the egg at the beginning of the film as it highlights the possible pregnancy between the two characters but then when the egg is squashed it then puts in question the health of the baby and if it is going to be harmed by the binge drinking or if it is going to be aborted also the shape and colour of the egg is questionable as it is not pure white and round but distorted an grubby which could have been a move by the director to signify that the egg represents the woman’s baby and it is distorted and grubby because the pregnancy was stained by alcohol and may not last.. Another prop with a hidden meaning is the cab card which the girls pickup at the beginning of the night when they are not drunk to get home after their night out and the fact that the camera shows two shots of the woman picking up the card signifies the director wanted to make it clear that she was thinking clearly and being sensible. But later on when the girls need a cab and they are drunk they completely forget about the card suggesting that you don’t think when under the influence of alcohol and this is highlighted by the illegal taxi and the cameras focus on the bleach and rope signifies that the night could have ended differently for the girl if she didn’t get out and the director want this idea to play on the audiences mind.
The use of the camera in the film helps convey across many messages and meanings. The close ups of the characters faces at the begging and the end of the film are used to signify emotion on many occasions such as the panic on the face of the girl gets into a random man’s car and the director reinforces hte fear of getting inot the illegal taxi with the bottles of bleach and rope which signify the man does not have good intentions . Also the close up shot is used to express the happiness of Estelle and Sam when they meet in the club and finally get talking to each other. In another seen the camera snaps back and forth to signify a awkward moment between Sam and the other girl as they are looking for Estelle. The fluid movement of the camera shots as they characters is used to signify not only a faster pace and atmosphere but is also supposed to signify the characters movements as they are drunk and will not be in control. Another shot that is used by the director to connote mystery and suspense amongst the audience is that of when the woman get sout of the illegal taxi as the audience does not know if anything has happen dot her s this shot is open for interpretation about what happened to the woman in the cab and the director uses this to play on the audiences mind and warn them about illegal taxis.
The use of lighting in the film helps set the scene and helps add hidden meanings to some scenes. At the start of the film the when the characters begin drinking the lighting signifies that it is probably the late morning early/afternoon so it highlights how the characters have a daily routine of drinking. The lighting also signifies the mood of the characters especially in scene cab scene where the low lighting that vaguely outlines the bottles of bleach and string alerts the audience that something is not right.
Sound is also used heavily in the film and in some scenes is used to signify events and the characters state of mind. Firstly sound is used at the beginning of the film to create a sad atmosphere as the character ponders over the brown bag containing the pregnancy test. Later on in the film the sound is used to signal the end of the night as each of the characters find them facing a new set of problems caused by alcohol such as accepting a lift of a stranger. The sound is also used at the end of the film in the form of music to highlight the fact that the characters are going to repeat the cycle of going out and getting drunk.
The elements of the setting , props , camera , lighting and sound all work together in many ways to create an overall world within the film and create meaning for the audience such as the way the cab card shows that you do not think straight when under the influence of alcohol as the character got into a strangers car. The setting also does this as it is a Standard English town that the audience can relate to and allows the characters to portray themselves as your average 20 year olds. The lighting and sound also help create an overall world within the film and meaning for the audience as both the sound and lighting help create moods and build tension and also signify key events/emotions.