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09:39 am: The World of White Bear
I haven't interpreted something overly literally for a while. Let's figure out the logistics of this thing.

The setup actually works in a way that the Truman Show doesn't. The Truman Show is all improv and requires a massive cast. White Bear keeps things scripted, has 4 actors and invites members of the public to pay for the privilege of being "monsters". People run more complex LARP events on less money. The film is set in the White Bear Justice Park, which is a custom prison type set up the exhibit the child murderer Victoria Skillane in accordance with the sentence passed by the judge, as a kind of tourist attraction. Probably it was a custom punishment, designed to fit the crime, rather than being a normal form of punishment. The park is based around the actual forest where the crime took place, and adjacent areas, including a housing estate where Skillane wakes up (and a nearby petrol station), and the transmitter complex (incorporating a small studio), which is used for the final set piece.

How big is the Justice Park and is it contiguous? They spend enough time driving for it to get dark, so presumably the area is a decent size, even if much of the time was spend driving around in circles and circles. Since they get between the three sets by vehicle, there Park doesn't need to be all joined up - either this is one site or three smaller sites, and Victoria would not be permitted to leave the vehicle between them. Certainly there are fences - this can be seen in the end credits, although if Victoria got as far as them then there would be a breakdown of scenario. It seems the cast can contain Victoria adequately on their own, and the fences are as much to stop the general public getting in as to stop her escape.

And that's not just needed to protect the public, but to deal with the Park's assassination problem. It is surely only a matter of time before someone comes in with a gun or a knife and an intent to kill Skillane, or throw nastier things than red paint at her. There will be airport-style security screening on the gate.

The scenario has been in use long enough for Skillane to start to develop memories of it. She remembers the forest while driving there with Baxter and Jem - she knows something is going to happen there. Baxter and Jem exchange a look during this - perhaps this is a recently developing problem.

The sections that we see are locked down quite tightly, but there are two drives during which improvisational skills were definitely needed, and Skillane can be unpredictable although - and this is key to the irony of the entire piece - she is obviously easily led. The principals of the cast, Baxter and Jem, are clearly practiced and experienced at this now. (It's not entirely clear that these are their real names, by the way, but we don't have any others for them, so we'll just keep calling them that.) Skillane goes significantly off-script at one point, by throwing a brick at an observer, and grabs his phone. Jem immediately goes for her Taser and demands that Skillane put down the phone, using a practiced excuse from the scenario, but presumably strongly concerned that Skillane will look at the phone and break the immersion. Jem doesn't quite break character here, but the idea that she has a Taser on her clearly doesn't fit with other events. If Skillane wasn't so disoriented she might wonder why Jem hadn't used it on the hunters.

Jem's character (within the park, that is) isn't written terribly consistently. The Jem in the first act is rather more nervous, and barely manages to escape from the petrol station scene. The later Jem doesn't mention Damian again (he is just a redshirt, after all), and is more competent. She reveals her well-thought out plans to destroy the White Bear transmitter and drags Skillane into this mission. She is, of course, dressed in the latest post-apocalyptic chic.

Baxter, Jem and the others are working actors. We don't know how long they've been on the job, or whether they've been there from the start. It seems likely that it would burn people out. Baxter mucks in by doubling in another role, and the key task of ensuring that Skillane's memory is wiped sufficiently is his. He's also the main "presenter". Jem's role is the more demanding one, I'd argue, as she has to be in contact with Skillane all day, and guide her from scene to scene. Jem's gag about Baxter's surprise being nudity appears to be an improvisation rather than part of the script: this is the last moment she'll get to do that with a fellow cast member: after Baxter draws that weapon it's scripted until she "kills" him, and then she's stuck with Skillane.

The operation is presumably self-funding. If they're careful it might even pay for other justice system things. The car park is operated on a commercial basis, and people will pay for admission, too. However, there aren't a massive number of guests. After all, it runs every day, and 5/7 of those are weekdays... This entry was originally posted at http://morwen.dreamwidth.org/395906.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Comments

[User Picture]
From:janieluk
Date:February 22nd, 2013 10:37 am (UTC)
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Huh. I missed the irony of Skillane being easily led thing.
[User Picture]
From:abigailb
Date:February 22nd, 2013 10:50 am (UTC)
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The trigger for the reveal - that she shoots that gun - is important. Every time she does that she has shown that she can be led into violence without really anything more than a stranger's say so.
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