The Use of Flashback in Kenneth Branagh's Henry V Essay

1846 Words 8 Pages
The Use of Flashback in Kenneth Branagh's Henry V

In Kenneth Branagh's film adaptation of William Shakespeare's Henry V flashback is used at key moments to comment on the action and to explain points in Henry's past, and how that past effects his present judgment. Certain scenes and lines are borrowed from parts one and two of Shakespeare's Henry IV to do this. The result is an amalgam of scenes, lines, and characters which brings about a telling expose of Henry V, and the man he was before becoming king of England. Flashback is used in this adaptation directly, to establish key points and players in Henry's life, as well as in a less direct manner, coming through in his current actions, to show his sovereignty, what that means to
…show more content…
II. iv. 181), but in the film Branagh chooses to keep these poignant lines internal and use a voice over effect to deliver them. Despite Hal's apparent silence, the slight hardening of his face cause all present to understand his meaning as well as if he had said the lines aloud. This effect is given to show the slight unwillingness to admit his disloyalty to his friends, but also his inability to control the feelings he harbors. Even without an actual incantation of his intentions, Hal's emotions bubble forth on to his face and into the minds of the onlookers. Displaying them as all the more powerful. Falstaff's reply "We have heard the chimes at midnight, Master [Harry]." (2 Henry IV. III. ii. 214-215),coupled with a pained look of rejection gives the audience more of a sense of pathos for Falstaff. Another voice over delivers Henry's actual rejection line of "I know thee not, old man," (2 Henry IV. V. v. 47). The entire effect of this amalgam, for the layman or the scholar, is to show Prince Hal's need to actually banish even those close to him in order to become the proper king he is as Henry V. It is at this point that Hal begins to use what he has been taught to become the true Machiavel he will be, and to ensure that no tie could stand in his way of replacing his father, Henry IV. The audience sees Falstaff's importance, and, by Hal's silence, the difficulty of the rejection of
Open Document