The Representation Of The Messages And Values In `the Wicker Man'

1125 words - 5 pages

The messages and values in The Wicker Man are displayed trough the main character, Sergeant Neil Howie and the inhabitants of Summerisle. As Neil attempts to search for missing girl Rowan Morrison, these values clash and cause great problems for Neil as his beliefs contradict those of the people he is trying to gain information and co-operation from.

It is clear from the opening scene that Neil's opinions and practices will not fit in with that of the islander's. Traditional folk music plays as the soundtrack as Neil flies over the remote Scottish highlands to arrive on the island. A wide shot is used here to show the binary opposites of a plane and the natural beauty of the island. It is made clear to the audience that Neil's modern beliefs will ensure that he is outcaste and made to feel uncomfortable on the island. This is emphasised as he attempts to question the islanders about Rowan and is faced with difficult, vague answers. Their attempt to outcast him continues as he enters the local pub. As soon as he walks through the door the music stops and he is stared at by many of the islanders, making it obvious that they are not used to and wary of outsiders. They believe that a small community should stick together and they don't need outsiders who are going to interfere in the way they live their lives.

The following scene in the pub and, later, when Neil goes outside represents the contradicting beliefs and values of Neil and the islanders. Not only is the barmaid teased by the men in the pub and seemingly viewed as an object of desire, but Neil also discovers that many of the people on the island openly have sex in a nearby graveyard. The people of Summerisle are very open about sex and see it as something to celebrate. This is similar to the values at the time the film was made. The 70s saw many people gain a far more liberated and open attitude towards sex. Strict religious values weren't as important and it was beginning to seem old fashioned to believe in sex after marriage. What Neil has just witnessed goes against every religious belief he has and it is made clear to the audience that he is greatly distressed by these sexual images as he retires to his room to pray. Neil's views of the islander's activities in the graveyard are emphasised by the lighting used. The graveyard is dark, representing evil and is contrasted with Neil's bedroom, which is lit using high-lighting and considered holy as it is where he prays. We do, however, see Neil's morals and values being tested. As Neil is trying to get to sleep, Willow (the barmaid) attempts to seduce him. As the camera cuts between the naked woman and a suffering Neil, the audience can see that lust is taking over his religious morals. A wall has become the only barrier between them, as the juxtaposition of their values is being tested. This scene also establishes the film as kailyard as Willow is being presented as a mythical creature trying to tempt men. We then see the stark...

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