The most noticeable
sound heard in film is people talking, most commonly referred to as dialogue. Dialogue
creates the illusion that the person speaking is real as appose to an imaginary
creation constructed by the script writer. Dialogue is used in stage plays and
is used as a story telling device and express the feelings and motivations of
the characters in the scene. In film the characterisation portrayed by the
actors allows the audience to distinguish the character as an actor if the
dialogue is done correctly. For example, Robert Downey Jr; who portrays Iron
Man in Marvel films, is able to seamlessly merge his real life personality and
film persona to create a believable character for the audience to root for. In
this case the audience no longer sees the actor acting, but another person entirely
in a new universe. However, dialogue can be used more or less frequently in
different types of films to convey different meanings. For instance, in Stanley
A Space Odyssey’, there was very little dialogue used. The dialogue that was
used was so lacking in originality that it appeared to be obvious and boring,
this was done to create a sense of realism and to portray the ‘inadequacy of
human responses when compared with the magnificent technology created by man
and the visual beauties of the universe.’1 However
in comedy films such as ‘Step Brothers’ the dialogue is practically non-stop throughout the film. The use
of dialogue in this instance works in this type of film as the characters in it
and the film itself are designed for comedic purposes and to get as many quick
jokes in as possible. The audience is thrown from joke to joke and allows for
no time for them to reflect on the plot as that is not the main selling point
in these films and sells escapism to the audience instead.

As well as character spoken dialogue, another way spoken words can
be used is in voiceovers or narration to provide subtext into a scene.
Voiceovers are usually used in TV more than films in things such as
documentaries although they do sometimes make an appearance in action films
like 1982’s ‘Blade Runner’ to provide background
information or to lead the story to change to the next event without an onscreen
explanation. When used correctly, voiceovers do not bring the audience out of
the story they are watching, however when done incorrectly they can often seem
out of place and make the film maker look lazy as it a cheap way to give exposition
and doesn’t allow the audience to
think for themselves. This is the reason why it is not as common in films as some
director’s refuse to use it in their films to let the viewers have more freedom
when interpreting the meaning of the film.

1 Thomas Sobochack
and Vivian Sobochack, An Introduction to Film,  p.177. 


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