Shakespeare’s portrayal of Henry V is concerned with the nature of power and how it influences one’s morality. Henry must grow in his role as king, acting in a way that his newfound leadership demands of him. Our film reflects on Shakespeare’s suggestion that morality becomes obscured in relation to power. The first interpretation of Henry’s actions depicts him as remorseful of his obligatory punishment of the traitors, the second as ruthless and unapologetic. We drew inspiration from mobster movies, like The Godfather, and explored how cinematic elements can influence the viewer’s perception of the same characters.
In each interpretation, we altered lines to manipulate characters’ motives and the scene dynamic. In Take A, Henry is disappointed that Scroop and Cambridge are unforgiving toward the criminal. He wishes to show them mercy regardless of their betrayal but is duty-bound. In Take B, however, Henry is dark and ruthless towards the traitors, paralleled to his cold rejection of former companions. Actors also interpreted these script alterations. Henry is visibly sad, emotional and conflicted in Take A while being indifferent in B. Westmorland and Exeter also set a distinct tone for each take.
We used lighting, costumes, camera-angles, and sound to contrast character-traits and consequently, the mood of each scene. Take A’s lighting is bright and open; Henry is positioned against a glass background. B is contrasted using stark, closed-off paneling with heavy shadows. Costume changes depict characters as light or dark, which also containing visual symbols of their betrayal or virtue. We made use of camera angles to manipulate a power dynamic between Henry and the traitors. Low and high angle shots establish dominance and exchange of power. Melancholic or dangerous soundtracks evoke danger, emotion or a sense of injustice within the viewer.