When comparing the movie to the short story, a chunk about how the man, Peyton Farquhar, encountered a Federal scout that alludes to the reason why he is being hanged is completely removed and left at the audience discretion on how he ended up in his position. I think this decision to remove this part of the story in the film helps the following scenes to be more real and trick the audience into thinking Peyton did manage to escape. It is unnecessary information to take the time to tell it all when the audience can connect to the character and project their thoughts to the character.
During the part when Peyton fell into the water and the Federal army began to shoot at him, everything slowed down to the audio and movements. I believe this helps translate the feeling of someone who just escaped death and now has to come up with a decision on what to do. It reminds me of quick time events in games where the character may be falling or doing something in slow motion and the player has to hit a button. It drives a feeling of urgency for the next move that can potentially save your life. The close ups and the composition of the man always at the center of the frame makes me feel motivated that he will actually make it to his family. While watching this movie, I was constantly on the edge that something may come and hinder the man and kill him after his journey thus far. Shots are framed and choreographed in a way that made me anticipate a federal guard will come and stab him. The constant flipping angles between the man and the wife really did drive home the hopeful feeling I had that he did manage to escape. Unfortunately, it was taken away when the final sequence showed that it was all the man’s wishful thinking and he died as he was intended to.
Overall, it’s a great short film that goes through a lot of emotions and raises hope only to crush them at the end.