I would classify this as an example of perceptual subjectivity because we have a POV shot and gives us direct access to the character’s experience as it really happens. If this scene were shot from a more objective approach only giving us access to the external behaviors of the character we would could only guess at what the character must be feeling. Because a subjective approach was taken, we get a sense of helplessness especially when they push him back into the water. Then when the camera zooms out and shows him still at the bottom of the pool, we see what his lack of excitement and enthusiasm looks like from an objective perspective. I think the scene would change a lot if it were shot from an entirely neutral perspective. I think we might think it was funny that he was wearing a wetsuit for a swimming pool. But because it wasn’t shot that way, I felt sorry for the graduate. – morgan jones
Sayles thwarts expectations about what the movie is about and who the main characters are from the beginning; however, every piece of the story introduced illuminates some aspect of the lives of the main characters and the background story. There is a nice balance of appeasing expectation and thwarting it in this film.
The movie’s title is Limbo, which means to be in a state of in-between, which is how we are left in the end–hanging between two fates. There are other characters who are in limbo: the two lesbian women are waiting to see if they can make money off of the boat, the fisherman who lost his boat is waiting to see if he will be able to get his boat back, and the three castaways are in limbo as their fate will be decided by a drug dealer. Also, the season is in between summer and winter, which puts the fishing industry in limbo.
When the gun was introduced we didn’t know who the gun was for. Once we find out why Joe’s brother brought the gun soon after he is dead, the movie takes a completely different tone. If the film had ended with them being rescued, it would have diminished the importance of the gun and of the twist in the story. If it had ended with them all being killed, then their lives would have meant nothing in the end. And all of the hope or epiphanies they had talked about while together on the island would have been for nothing. So the ending leaves us in limbo and I think it is a good choice.
There are two paths the ending could take. One of optimism, where the movie has a happy ending and one of pessimism, where the movie has a sad ending. I can see either taking place and appreciate the fact that this film essentially has no ending. It does force me to go back to the moments with the guy in the plane attempting to read his body language and response to seeing them on the island. Them my mind jets forward to watching the plane come in for a landing through the cloud and how it looked shaky for a moment. Nice ending. -Morgan Jones