Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rebirth Once More: Image Analysis in Murder in the First

When I first viewed Kevin Bacon’s character, Henri Young lying naked on the bottom of a dimly lit hole my mind was instantly directed towards the thought of an infant in the womb. As a baby, Young is in the nude and his body is somewhat in the fetal position: his back is curved, his head is bowed, and his limbs are bent and drawn up to the torso. In addition to being in a similar confined space that a baby experiences this parallel is visually successful once the elements are combined and left me tingling with excitement upon discovering the underlying narratives it could provide.

Continuing the movie we see this infant representation take shape. I did not make the connection until Christian Slater’s character, James Stamphill’s first day in court when he unleashes his groundbreaking argument. He says that Young’s time in the hole influenced and shaped him into a killer. This made me think of the womb once more as a place of rebirth and new life. Young was inside this figurative womb for months and was reborn into a psychotic madman. This confined space changed and formed Young much like a baby develops and forms within the womb. Lastly along with creating parallels this image creates a dichotomy between the positive connotations associated with childbirth and the negative connotations associated with solitary confinement. Creating this dichotomy also brings up an interesting dynamic where two very different subject matters connect through a certain medium.

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