analysis of film
The rough structure of this essay is as follows:
PURPOSE: 1. Choose a film that you’ve especially enjoyed / appreciated. Whatever film you choose, it should be one that is commercially available on video or D.V.D. so that you can watch it several times.
Films are similar to novels or short stories in that they tell a story. They include the same genres: romantic, historical, detective, thriller, adventure, horror, and science fiction. However, films may also include sub-groups such as: action, comedy, tragedy, westerns and war. The methods you use to analyze a film are closely related to those used to analyze literature; nevertheless, films are multimedial. They are visual media made for viewers. Films take command of more of our senses to create special atmospheres, feelings or to bring out emotions.
- Can you see a pattern to how the scenes are cut?
- How would you describe the pace/tempo of the film?
Ideally, when I start on the path of reviewing a film, I will know very little about it—aside from the actors and the director involved. If I’m not familiar with the cast and/or the director, I’ll do a little filmography research, but only about their past work if I’ve never seen it before. Avoiding exposure to the movie can be more difficult than it sounds when it’s a popular film—as trailers and marketing run rampant. But if you can avoid watching the trailers and reading about other peoples’ opinions prior to watching, you won’t have any preconceived judgments and can go in with an unbiased perspective.
The window of time immediately following the viewing is critical. Since I don’t take a lot of notes during the movie, one of the most important aspects of writing a critique is to stay focused and write down all of the things that stood out to me about the film. And since collecting my thoughts after seeing a movie can be chaotic, I need to be sure that I jot down everything that struck my radar as soon as it’s over. It’s better to get it all down on paper, and then evaluate what’s necessary to convey to the reader later. Being precise in your commentary and incorporating specific examples from the movie to back up your opinions is key.
In the end, re-state your thesis and offer a summary of the previously mentioned concepts in a new and more decisive way, making a case for your analysis.
This is the core of your essay that involves your critical analysis of the film and impressions about it but supported by claims from the movie or any other relevant material.
But through academia and the onset of mass literacy, verbal descriptions of reality have come to dominate the modern conscious mind-set to the point that we over-rely on it. We begin limiting our world understanding to verbal descriptions, not realizing that words and calculations and the letters and numbers they’re comprised of are in themselves just symbols. If language was truly the highest and most advanced form of human thought and perception then art would disappear from our society, but that hasn’t happened. Commercial quick-fix entertainment markets may currently be dominating what kind of art becomes mass distributed, just as religion once did the same, but the basic human appetite for art continues. Art has always been both an expression and a reflection of those parts of the human condition that we don’t have sufficient words for. That’s true for us individually and as a whole society.
Maybe the biggest benefit of film analysis is that once a person has been shown the intricate depths of just a handful of their favourite movies, they develop an enhanced understanding of other movies without being handheld through the process. And that kind of enhanced perception can cross over into everyday experience as well. I’ve received many emails over the years where viewers of my videos have spoken of this generic knock on effect in their own experience.