Cinematic Techniques In Sling Blade

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Released in 1996, Sling Blade was written and directed by Billy Bob Thornton, who also plays the star role in the film. His character, Karl Childers, is a developmentally disabled man who, after a troubled past, is released from a psychiatric hospital into a world that he struggles to cope with. After being institutionalized for so many years, the film focuses on his predicament of freedom, and relies on innovative ways in cinematography, sound and mise-en-scène to unfold a story that might otherwise scare people away, into a story that the masses can relate to.
Elegantly, Billy Bob Thornton uses an array of techniques to convey to the audience a much deeper connection with the characters, and does so in a way that is seamless and natural, …show more content…

He stated that, through this technique, the audience would get a wider picture of what was going on, while still remaining at a distance. Throughout the film, prosthetics were never used to portray Karl Childers, and the voice was also entirely Thornton’s. Thornton revealed that he would have to take Chloraseptic Sore-Throat spray after each scene, to numb the pain that was produced from speaking as Karl Childers. While much of the film in Sling Blade focuses on Thornton himself, his interactions with the other characters are especially …show more content…

It is now raining, Childers is soaking wet, and Vaughan looks ultimately concerned. The lack of music and the messiness of Karl who, is otherwise a very neat and tidy person, along with the rapid switching back and forth of camera angles, is a change that takes the audience by surprise. It is a stark contrast to the cinematography used before. This is the building up of what will ultimately be the major twist of the film. As Karl gives instructions to Vaughan on what to do and walks away, Vaughan yells out, “Karl?” which will not be the final time this occurs in the film. It is interesting to note that the last line spoken by all of the main characters of the film is the first name of the star character. This emphasizes the importance of Karl, and the impact he has had on their lives. It’s as if the characters need Karl, and while it appears that Karl is just moving on to the next town, they have no idea that Karl is about to change their lives in a different

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