Music sets the tone (analysis of ‘Charlie’)

I watched the short film profiling Charlie. I felt it was an effective move to use voice over instead of filming him speaking. I was able to hear him clearly and focus on what he was saying but also focus on what was happening on the screen (the action wasn’t quick or complex so it was easy to follow). Ambient, slow music played in the background (by the band Explosions In the Sky). I felt as though this somber sounding music was meant to align with what he was saying about his stressful job while working at PNC bank. However, since I was watching him work at the gas station while I thought the music also made his job at the gas station look more depressing than he felt it to be. His chores at the gas station seemed boring and monotonous when set to the slow, ambient music. He talked about the positive aspects of working at the gas station (low stress: “when you mess up, somebody gets a free hotdog” and “when you go home for the night, you don’t work there anymore”). I thought his positive attitude regarding working at the gas station was very unique and refreshing. However, I think the music detracted from this sense of positivity.

I felt the music was more effective towards the end of video. Subtle, calming guitar supported the notion that Charlie has a down-to-earth personality and better aligned with his positive spirit. Voice over was used again during this scene allowed Charlie’s voice to be heard very clearly.  The music contributed to the video ending on a positive note. Charlie included a short anecdote about going back to his smoke and fire damaged apartment and finding a box of underwear and socks in pristine condition, which served as the “silver lining” of the story. The video ended on a humorous and positive note (with light guitar music still playing in background), with Charlie saying “I used to complain to my mom about having way too many t-shirts. I guess I don’t have that problem anymore.”

-KL

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