The Smaller elements that make Escape From New York

The work of John Carpenter is often seen as the most influential of its time. He is seen as a master of low-budget horror, sci-fi, and action films. He directed many popular films such as Halloween and They Live. His film, Escape From New York, gives viewers a glimpse into a dystopian world at the conclusion of world war 3 through the experience of Snake Plissken’s mission into the maximum-security prison that now is Manhattan. The most interesting aspect of the film is the way in which its more subtle details are used to highlight the world and its history as much as the larger setting and plot points, starting with the character of Snake Plissken.
The most enjoyable parts of the film derived directly from Kurt Russells’ character, Snake Plissken. He is a former Special Forces soldier at odds with the government, who is sent to rescue the president in exchange for his life. Immediately from his clothing, we can begin to see the subtle characterization of Snake. He wears winter camouflage pants which leads us to believe that his last fight was in a snowy environment even before we find out that his last missions were in Siberia and Leningrad.
Furthermore, his actions and the way he interacts with people such as the warden in the beginning show a lot about his character. As he is walking into the prison the intercom says that a prisoner would rather be terminated instead of going to prison to please step out of line. This small line provides immense context to the dystopian world in which the movie takes place. Moreover, Snake Plissken’s distrust of the government for their hypocrisy shows a great deal about the government’s actions in the context of the large world. All of these aspects as well as the larger elements of the film such as the environment and clothing of the other characters exhibit the dystopian world of the film.

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