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Coach Carter is a 2005 film directed by Thomas Carter. It is based on a true story, after the Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter portrayed by (Samuel L. Jackson) made headlines in for benching his undefeated team the Richmond Oilers due to poor academic results. In this essay I will be explaining how the film Coach Carter presents one or more key characters in a positive light. Many of the characters are seen in a negative light at the beginning of the film however as the film progresses many of the characters change and are seen in a positive light. I have analysed the character of Timo Cruz. I have done this by focusing on film codes and conventions such as Camera Angles and lighting.
The character of Timo Cruz is portrayed in the film by Rick Gonzalez .His character is portrayed in a negative light at the beginning of the film. He is very rude to many of his fellow players and Coach Carter. He is very stubborn and short temped. A good example of his attitude would be on coach carter’s first day. After five minutes of Ken Carter being coach he gets in a fight with him. He verbally abuses the Coach and even attempts to hurt him. The coach responds by getting him in a headlock and slamming him against wall and asks him to leave his gym one more time. Timo angrily walks out of the gym screaming ‘This Ain’t Over!’ and vows never to return back to basketball. He goes back on the street trafficking and selling drugs with his cousin Renny.
Film codes and conventions help the audience to gain an understanding of Timo Cruz. The Film director has used the film codes and conventions such as Camera Angles and lighting. In the beginning of the film the director has used intense lighting. Intense lighting creates both harsh light and harsh shadow. It is used to create a harsh mood, to conceal someone’s face or emotions or to indicate that something or someone is bad. Whenever Timo is in shot Timo’s Face is usually half hidden and not always showing making him making him look dark and hidden. The producer has used this to show his dark and hidden personality from view. This type of lighting gives an idea to the audience that there is more to Timo then meets the eye and it might not be all that nice. Also during the beginning of the film the director has used the low angle is a camera angle that looks up at a character. This is the opposite of a high angle and makes a character look more powerful. Timo Cruz likes to believe that is he scared of nobody and he is the most valued player in the basket ball team he believes he is powerful and strong and everyone is afraid of him. That is why the producer as used that shot to show that Timo believes that he is strong and powerful. This can make the audience feel vulnerable and small by looking up at the character giving him the impression that he is intimidating person.
The character of Timo Cruz begins to change during the film. In the beginning of the film Timo left the team because of a dispute between the coach and himself. However as the film progresses Timo becomes aware of what he has done and asks to join back on the team. The coach is firm on his Decision however the coach gives in and gives Cruz a chance to come back on the team. Carter challenges him with the impossible task of 1000 suicides and 2500 pushups to be completed in less than a week. Cruz tortures himself to do it, and with the help of his teammates also doing suicides and pushups, he is able to complete them and Coach Carter allows him back on the team. This shows that instead of Cruz just quitting he pushes himself to do it. This is a major character change not to give up and do things to your best ability.When Coach Carter stops basketball practice because of the team’s bad academic performance, Cruz Quits the team for a second time, eventually going back to work for Renny. Late one night, Renny (Timo’s Cousin) is shot and killed on the sidewalk while Cruz is walking back to him after greeting his friends from the team. Cruz ends up at Carter’s house that night, apologizing for his behaviour and begging him to allow him back on the team. So Carter lets Cruz back on the team, saving him from a future like his cousin’s. The actions Timo has done shows that he now realises that his Actions can heavily result on his future and this is a major sign of change.
Film codes and conventions again help the audience to gain an understanding of Timo Cruz as he changes during the course of the film. Firstly the main film code that has changed to show Timo in a positive light is that there is a bit more lighting. Whenever Timo is in shot we can now see a bit more of his face. Showing his expressions and feelings towards Coach Carter and his team mates, the director has done this to show that Timo is beginning to show himself and his real personality. Also now whenever Timo Cruz is with Coach Carter there are high shots of Timo Cruz. High shots are used to make the subject of the shot small and un-powerful. This is a huge change from the low shots from the beginning of the film. The director has used this shot to show the audience that Timo is now beginning to realise that he is no-longer in power and Coach Carter is. He is no-longer the mean intimidating person he once was .He now looks venerable to Coach Carter and his school and teammates.
By the end of the film the character of Timo Cruz is now shown in a positive light. As Coach Carter Leaves to team Timo decides to tell him what his deepest fear is (throughout the film the Coach has been asking Timo what is his deepest fear) Timo Cruz replies: ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people don’t feel insecure around most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. Sir I just wanna say thank you…you saved my life’. This quote means that his own fear is to not fulfil his true potential quoting Marianne Williamson in her book, Return to Love. From Timo calling everyone ‘Niger’ to resighting poetry is a huge positive jump .Since returning on the team he has left the drugs trade for good. At the end of the movie it states he was successful of getting a scholarship. He now attends Humboldt State University where he plays basketball as a starting guard
The Final film codes and conventions help the audience to gain an understanding of Timo Cruz and how he is now successful and is shown in a positive light. Firstly Timo can be fully seen in every shot there is no more intense lighting to show that he is a bad person, but the audience can completely see him in every shot. When can see all the expressions on his face, also there are no longer any high or low shots to make him look powerful or venerable there is only one shot the medium shot. This shot shows all of Timo’s expressions on his face. The director has used this shot to show that he is very happy and feels successful.
It may be argued that the character of Timo Cruz motivates viewers .This is because despite Timo’s low odds of becoming successful or in case going to college he comes from the bad side of Richmond; He doesn’t have a loving and supporting family, He goes to a school which has horrible academic standards and low morale, he with his cousin Renny are in the drug trafficking business. So with all of his problems stacked against him he still manages to become successful at the end of the movie it states Timo now attends Humboldt State University where he is a starting guard and also studding subjects. This motivates People including me that anyone with the attitude to can be successful no matter where you’re from or who you are you can shine.
Overall I have analysed how the character of Timo Cruz has succeeded despite adversity. I have shown how The director Thomas Carter has cleverly used film codes to show how Timo Cruz has been portrayed in both a negative and positive lights through lighting and Camera Shots. To show that however you are raised or where ever you are that anyone can succeeded and be successful.
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