Director Curtis Hansan reaches his audience through stars of the film Eminem, Mekhi Phifer, Kim Bassinger, and Brittany Murphy. The main target audience would be fans of Eminem, as he is the main character; secondary audiences would be anyone who likes Hip Hop music due to the use of many rap scenes and young teenagers as the film portrays struggles that some teenagers might face such as poverty and racial conflicts. Britany Murphy has associations with chick flick films and although 8 mile is not of this genre people may be attracted by her and the role in which she plays- a sexy female.
Kim Bassinger is also a female icon and is renound for her sex symbol image. This helps to enhance the high concept film image through its stars and attracts its audience through their fame. The audience is to be caught up in the surface of the high concept film by it's advertising of the stars such as Eminem, the music C. D and other tie ins such as posters. Parts of the film have been transferred into other windows of exhibition for example Eminem music CD's, which can be seen as an extension of the film experience.
The film is of a simple narrative, which is a typical convention of a high concept film; the story is easy to comprehend and doesn't confuse its audience, by to many storylines or too much depth. The film also fulfils the expectations of its audience as at the end of the film we see the star get what he wants. At the beginning of the film we are aware of what Eminem is striving for and we are not let down at the end. The 8 Mile film has been sold on look as the film posters have the main image of Eminem, the star of the film and a well-known musician.
The title of the film is in bright yellow writing, which would catch the eye of a passer by and hook them into reading more of the poster. They use the moral of the film as a caption written under the title 'every moment is another chance' this shows that the film has a moral value to it and speaks to it's audience through the values of society. This caption also has intertextual links to Eminems music, as they are lyrics from one of his songs.
In this classic narrative, the main plot involves a single protagonist (Rabbit) and various forces, which involve him and his surroundings, such as love, racial issues, class, identity, friendships and music, to drive the story. The story is also driven by the protagonists' conscious and unconscious desires, such as his desire to be noticed and accepted and his desire to be loved. The main underlying theme to the film is the ideology of 'The American Dream' to have a family, live in a nice area, to have money and to be a part of something.
The film uses intertextural links of Eminem's music, to produce a film about a week in the life of Rabbit and his friends. The film is semi autobiographical and therefore reveals part of Eminem's past and his struggle to be noticed. The audience are positioned via Rabbit, as he tells the story of life on the poor side of the 8 mile, however this would depend on how the audience chose to position themselves. Audiences of the film would be homogenous but also heterogeneous and therefore have their own interpretations of the texts meaning, morals and values.
Although the film represents stereotypes of class and race, audiences do not passively absorb everything they see and therefore position themselves in relation how they view the text. They may take the preferred dominant reading of the poor side of the 8 mile and the predominant social issues, they may have their own ideas of what the films means to them and negotiate their position for example they might just go to see the film purely to see one of the stars and neglect the dominant ideas, or they might oppose the text all together and therefore reject the film, without being fulfilled of their expectations. Stuart Hall) The film uses the protagonist's conscious desire to make music to engage its audience, which includes underlying themes such as the battle against race and poverty and uses the ideology of the 'American Dream'. Rabbit comes from the poor side of the 8 Mile, he has a single mother and lives in poverty - the film portrays his unconscious desires to have a family, a nice house, money and security, through the use of mise-en-sense such as the arson scene.
When Rabbit finds a photo of the family that used to live in the house that they burn down. The audience see a point of view shot of Rabbit looking at a photo, which can be seen as an unconscious desire of what he wants, a happy family and a nice house etc. The arson scene also has connotations of love and class. When they go to burn the house down they say that the incident that happened there wouldn't of happened on the other side of the 8 mile, the rich side of the 8 mile.
We also are able to see Rabbits desire for love when he and Alex stand outside watching the house burn, the flames are very relevant as a sign of passion and the colours reflecting off of their faces are red and orange, a warm glow, which could be seen to signify comfort, love and maybe a burning passion between them. The film represents females in a stereotypical way, single white females, who don't commit to love, they have many different partners and use men to get what they want.
For example rabbits mother tries to stay with her boyfriend until he gets a compensation cheque as she is about to get evicted and needs the money. Alex sleeps with rabbits supposed friend as he has the contacts to get photos she needs for her portfolio to advance her career in modelling. 8 Mile shows the struggle of white boys (Rabbit and his friend) to be accepted as part of a particular social group. This can be seen through the use of mise-en-sense in the car park scene.
The scene starts with a crane shot of the car park, which enables us to see the location of where they are. There is a group of black people rapping as Rabbit and his friends Future and Dj Bob walk over; Future who is black immediately joins in, Rabbit stands on the outside of the circle with DJ Bob and waits until he is invited into the group, then raps with the others, the colours used in the scene are green neutral colours, which reinforces the idea of white and blacks coming together on neutral ground.
Free World then turn up and disrupt the equilibrium, they enter the car park in a black jeep with blacked out windows, the colour has connotations of dominance and the use of the all black jeep can be seen to portray their dominance within the scene. The leader of Free World stands on the bonnet of a car and talks down to Rabbit. The use of a low angle shot looking up at the leader of Free World shows him to be a lot bigger than the rest, standing above them; which also portrays their power and dominance over the rest.
The audience would be able to engage in the characters struggle within Hip Hop music, due to the stereotype used of black people and rap and their dominance in hip hop culture. Rabbit's feelings of being white and poor can be seen to be portrayed when he travels on the bus to work - The audience sees mostly point of view shots as Rabbit looks out of the window and we see a derelict area of Detroit, the audience also see rabbit as he uses these scenes to inspire the lyrics of his music, there are strong attachments to how rap music is used to reflect the feelings of growing up in destitute areas.
The diegetic music from Rabbits walkman has lyrics such as, Stage kill, Stage fright, still white. This reflects his feelings of his battle to be noticed within the Hip Hop world. Using Vladimir Propps character function model, the 8 Mile film takes the audience on a journey as we see the hero, Rabbit, seeking to be noticed, then we see the villain, Free World, who is in competition with the hero, try to hinder his success. Future encourages Rabbit to carry on and helps him in his quest to be noticed.
The reward for Rabbit at the end of the film is the satisfaction of being heard and accepted. Using Tristan Todorov's break down of the narrative process we can see how the film takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster with struggles of love, race, class and friendship. The primary function todorov is to solve a problem. First of all we see the state of equilibrium at the beginning of the film. Everything is ok Rabbit is known as a good rapper, his friends are there to see him as he goes on stage to rap in a battle against rival rappers.
This equilibrium is then disrupted as rabbit goes on stage, his nerves get the better of him, the audience wait in anticipation for him to sing, as nothing comes out of his mouth and he gets booed off of the stage. The recognition of the disruption comes through freeworld taunting him about the incident and everything seems to go down hill for him, he has to move back to the trailer park with his mum and his girlfriend Alex sleeps with his mate. The audience feel his disappointment, as they know he can sing and they know he will succeed in the end.
Future then attempts to repair this disruption by encouraging Rabbit to battle again. The equilibrium is then repaired in the end scene when rabbit wins his battle against freeworld. Eminem fans, due to the fact that the film is semi-autobiographical would be drawn to the film as it may give them a sense of being closer to the star, a peek into where he's from. The 8 Mile film fulfils the need of diversion as it give the audience a chance to escape from their daily routine, it also fulfils the need of personal relationships, by offering companionship as we get closer to the main star Eminem.
It reinforces personal identity as the main character, Rabbit, battles to prove himself and it doesn't matter where he comes from, he's just as good as. (McQuail, Blumer and Brown - 1972). This can be seen when Rabbit wins the end battle of rap, but also has victory as a white male in a black culture. This challenges the stereotypes in films such as A Time to Kill and The Green Mile, of black men trying to prove their innocence in a white world. The audience's experience of this film will differ in how they position themselves in relation to the text.
Mile is a musical drama; it engages its audience by telling a story through the use of music and what that type of music reflects. The use of music to express feelings and emotions is a typical generic convention of this type of film, for example we can also see the use of this idea in other films such as west side story, which also reflects dominant social issues and stereotypes of that time through music. 8 Mile engages its audience by expressing feelings and emotions through rap music, which reflect some of the harsh realities of the society in which we live.