In both the film ‘The Odd Angry Shot’ and the poem ‘weapons training’ there are a number of techniques, that the composers use that help bring the story to life and link with the theme of ‘Australiana’. Both Australian texts tell the story through many techniques, audio and visual, to assist the audience to understand the film; the idea of mate ship through the Australian iconic humor, the laid-back attitudes and the humor the characters use. It is evident that the film has a central theme of mate ship, which is seen through the actions of the soldiers and explored through an array of characters and techniques.
The idea of mate ship can be seen in the hospital visitation. The use of the medium shot in this scene shows a very inclusive mate ship, in relation to the hardships they face, and shows Australiana through the strong sense of mate ship between the characters; they are very comfortable with each other and respect each other. This theme of mate ship is used by the composer Tom Jeffery to show the audience the relationships between the men; they have a sense of shared experience, mutual respect and unconditional assistance.
The film also contains various examples of iconic Australian humour and Australian colloquialism. In the film the soldiers speak in a very colloquial and “Australian” way and frequently use Australian humor such as sarcasm to show Australia’s black sense of humor, where we try to see the lighter side of a serious situation. This black humour is seen in the hospital visitation scene; “you won’t need these he’s being fed vodka through the nose. The characters in the film use a lot of contractions and slang words that are unique to the Australian language such as “two bob” and “blokes” which is evident in the “You reckon we’re doing any good by being here? ” scene. This shows that the men are of a lower social status. Close-ups used in this scene show the facial expressions and emotions of the characters which reinforce the juxtaposition of the serious dialogue to their neutral expression; “Because when we come home we’ll be an embarrassment to our great nation…”– this can be linked to Australia’s black sense of humour.
There is an objection to authority in the film that is evident with the character of Harry. The use of panning shows us the superiority and authority that Harry has over the other men in the squad as he is always featured; this reinforces him as one of the “important” people. The use of dialogue shows this objection to authority which is apparent in the postage scene where the men feel that higher officials are not “real soldiers” and break into a verbal tirade; “I said get fucked you great beer-sodden bag of shit. Also the men shame and talk about their government freely without any concerns showing that that the men are very laid-back and outspoken; “Oh they’ll make a big deal out of it, probably make it an election issue and you can bet within five years everyone of us wearing a uniform ”
In the postage scene, the men mock the government authority and break into song showing the theme of larrikinism which again expresses their opposition to authority;” Six post office workers at the Australian logistics base at Fung Tao died in the early hours of this morning when the air-conditioning unit failed. When comparing the two texts, “The Odd Angry Shot” and “weapons training” there are many significant similarities that can be can be seen; it is set in Vietnam, the colloquial and distinctive “Australian” language, the very sarcastic humor which relate to the theme of ‘Australiana’. The techniques assist the audience in understanding the experiences of the soldiers and the central theme of Australiana. All these factors contribute to a greater understanding of both the film and the poem.
The poem “weapons training” consists of one long stanza which allows the composer, Bruce Dawe, to create a fast paced poem. The use of rhyme (ABBA) also assists with the pace of the poem and helps to assist with the tirade that is occurring. This emphasises the pack of insults that the main soldier is using in the poem by adding to the flow of the rhythm and gives the audience the impression that he doesn’t stop for breath and does not allow anyone to respond to rhetorical questions he asks; “Why are you looking at me, are you queer? This also shows the soldier’s power and the authority– he can be linked to the character of Harry from the Odd Angry Shot. “Weapons training” also has the Australian iconic humor which is evident throughout the tirade. There is a lot of sarcasm used; “open that drain/you call a mind and listen” which assists with the pack of insults and adds to the humour of the poem. The soldier also ridicules sexuality; “…are you queer? ” which furthermore emphasises his commanding nature and his superiority and power.
The use of repetition in the last line – “you’re dead dead dead” emphasizes the point that the soldier is putting across and shows the seriousness of the situation. As stated there are many techniques incorporated in the film as well as the poem that helped link to the theme of Australiana and brought the story to life. Both Australian texts tell the story through many techniques, both audio and visual to assist the audience to understand the film and gain a greater familiarity with the experiences of the soldiers and Australiana.