For this assessment, you will pick one of the films from Modules One and Two and write a film review as a critic would. It should be no less than 750 words (roughly 3-5 pages, double spaced) in length. Much like one would see on Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes, each review must be accompanied by a reviewer rating, which will be out of 5 stars (half-stars are okay). An essential feature of a good film review is the reviewer’s ability to write concisely so that a comprehensive evaluation of the movie can be obtained from a brief reading. So, do not write more, write more concisely—find creative ways to communicate your critical evaluation of the film in a short essay.
The point of a well-written film review is not to summarize the content of the movie, but to situate the historical merit of the film and to evaluate critically the filmmaker’s purpose, use of aesthetics, and methods of storytelling. Further, the review should offer a comparison of how these are used in this film with how they have been used in similarly-themed films.
As such, each student should seek to offer a commentary of the film’s ability to offer an important representation of a specific issue and then compare that with a ‘comparative film’ in the topical area. To do this, the author should consider both 1) the context that is being represented within the film (the time period, the politics and social relations of that time, etc.) and 2) the context in which the film was produced (what does the film tell us about the social moment in which the film became popular?).
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Hence, the bulk of one’s review essay will be an evaluation of how convincing was the filmmaker’s representation of his/her subject, and a commentary on the film’s contribution to a broader understanding of important issues in American/Western society.
Among the features each student will want to include in each review are:
• A discussion of the filmmaker’s purpose in making the film (what is she or he trying to achieve through the film?)
• An explanation of the type of sources the filmmaker utilized (how is the film true to the events that transpired?)
• An assessment of the strong points or shortcomings of the film
• How does this film change the way one should think about the subject (or about debated issues in sport?)
• A reference list, in APA format, for the movie and any related sources used in the text (final page).
Finally, each student will want to make references to specific scenes from the film to illustrate the evaluation. The challenge will be to do as much of this as possible and yet not let it interfere with the restricted length of the essay. In other words, find creative ways to give examples from the film in a limited space. Obviously, quotations should be kept to a minimum, and should rarely exceed one sentence.