The movie “Taken” is a significant piece that describes the hardships and pain of a father and daughter who were forcefully separated. A number of emotional scenes are enhanced by natural sounds and sound effects which add to the intensity or calmness of the situation. As the movie has a lot of action scenes, it is enhanced with both diegetic and non-diegetic sounds and effects. A sounds perspective is created for the viewer, as a sound perspective is created through the use of volume, timbre and pitch.
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The dramatic scene where Bryan’s daughter is being kidnapped is filled with sounds of different intensity. He tells her to go to the bedroom and hide under the bed. Even though she is crying, which adds to the intensity of the situation, she goes and find a bed. Bryan knows that there is no saving her now, but she still believes that she will not be found. When he talks to his daughter his voice is as calming as possible. Even when he warns Kim that she is going to be taken, he tries to say it as softly as he can. The timbre is low and comforting, diffusing the situation with quiet and determined volume of the sound. When the kidnappers arrive, the screaming and loudness of sounds creates great contrast within a few minutes. The interchange between loudness and quiet are very effective because they illustrate a contrast between situations and people’s emotions.
The sound mixing and interlay of dialogues and the environmental sounds are also predominant in the movie. The scene where Bryan arrives at the card game of the kidnappers and demands money is filled with sounds that prepare the viewer for something to happen. These are external diegetic sounds which consist of murmuring of the criminals, the movement on the table and the sudden quiet moments. This is a sort of a warning for the viewer that something is about to happen, but at the same time anticipation that is created with sounds. Anticipation is created by high or low tones that excite and surprise the viewer. This form of pressure almost always has an immediate effect on the psyche of a person. The mix of anticipation, nervousness for the main characters and the wait for the resolution influence the mind.
There are sounds relating to the formation of Bryan’s determination. The music reflects his eagerness and readiness to act. Now the sound reflecting changes in his character is internally diegetic, showing a progression of emotions. The reasons that led to this sort of environment in Bryan are hardships that he goes through at the realization of his daughter being lost forever. The sounds fill in the gaps where women are shown violated or hurt. When Bryan discovers Kim’s friend, the sound is very saddening, and is hard to listen to because it is filled with emotion and sorrow (Besson, 2009). Some of the sounds are natural where someone is crying,
The movie is inseparable from sound effects because there are many fighting scenes and shootouts. The sound of hits that Bryan delivers is very hard and crisp that represents his skill and strength. When he is quietly walking around the buildings or the boat, the silence that surrounds him represents the quiet determination of his mind and soul. He is focused on the task at hand and it helps him stay completely silent. The quietness disappears when people start shooting. The shots fired are made to be loud and deep, acknowledging the power of the gun.
It is also symbolic that Bryan brings revenge upon those involved in people trafficking business, and his gun and the loud death that he carries with him illustrate his wrath. The layers of sound where people are screaming and shooting mix into one big blur, and the sound effects transfer over the feeling of chaos and danger onto the audiences (Horn, 2007).
When Bryan gets into the right environment, he begins to reach success in his self-control and in his personal understanding of the world around. The dramatic scenes where he faces the harshness and cruelty of the world are filled with music that shows how evil some people have become. This serves as the base for his determination and strong will, to create a safer life for his daughter. Throughout the movie, it is possible to see that sometimes he is shown to be sentimental and softhearted, but reason and a kind heart always take the right direction. The same principles must be abided by in real life (Besson, 2009).
The sounds of the movies and the real world are inseparable from all that exists. The movie proves that when situations are extreme or intense, sounds play a very significant role. The sounds of the environment are a very strong force and they add great effectiveness to what is registered visually. The similarity between sounds in the movies and those in real life is very unique because the more sounds there are, the more dramatic the portrayal of life is.
Besson, L. (Executive Producer). (2009). Taken. [DVD]. Century City, LA: 20th Century Fox.
Horn, G. (2007). Movie Soundtracks and Sound Effects. Pleasantville, NY: Gareth.