Analysing a Film – Boyz n the Hood

Boyz n the Hood is a coming of age/ drama film set in a South Central LA neighbourhood, where drive-by shootings and unemployment are rampant. But it is also a place where harmony coexists with adversity. Especially for three young boys who grow up within this society, one raised by a wise father, and the other two without a father.

There are four main characters in this film: Doughboy (played by Ice Cube) is a character who has a weak vocabulary, he is full of double negative sentences and slang, but he makes this up strongly with an intimidating delivery. For example, “For one thing, you don’t know what the fuck I be motherfuckin’ knowin’.” Doughboy has no character theme and is a good character in the film but with his wreckless behaviour he can be seen as a negative character. His brother, Ricky (played by Morris Chestnut) is a character with a strong vocabulary, though he also uses a lot of slang. He is an ambitious character who thinks he can get out of the society he lives in and has no character theme. Tre (played by Cuba Gooding Jr.) is an highly intelligent character, who uses has enormous vocabulary, yet still uses slang as do the rest of the characters. That is even notified to the audience when his teacher says it as a voiceover. He is good character who is followed in the story the most and has no character theme. His father, Furious (played by Laurence Fishburne) is a wise, smart, responsible character and has no theme. He uses clever dialogue to make himself dominant in situations, for example, when a police man says something inappropriate in front of Tre, “Something wrong?” the police man says. Furious replies with “Something wrong, yeah. It’s just too bad you don’t know what it is… …brother.”

A lot of the non diegetic sounds in the film is gun shots and police sirens. When Ricky dies, the music is jazz and when it gets closer to him getting shot it strengthens and gets louder. When he is shot, the music stops. A few seconds later the music changes to violins and is much slower. In dramatic scenes each camera shot on a character will quickly be followed by a gun shot and beats of drums with jazzy music. An example of this is when Doughboy and Tre get revenge on Ricky’s killers. Another example is in the opening scene of the film, where Tre as a child discovers a crime scene. Most of the non diegetic sounds is jazz music which is usually interrupted by diegetic gun shots.

The most common diegetic sounds is dialogue. Each character has their own way of how they talk. Some are intimidating, some use powerful language. One example of a powerful diegetic scene is the ending scene before Doughboy, Ricky and Tre become adults. It uses a song, Ooh Child by The Five Stairsteps, which perfectly describes what is going on in the scene and gives hope to the characters. What makes this scene most effective is that it changes to non diegetic sound too.

Opening scene

Ricky’s death

Doughboy’s revenge


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