The Ingredients Of A Film Review

I never really thought I had so much to churn out after getting my idea for my first submission to ‘Comedy To Watch’. It’s especially a struggle when I get nudges of an idea or a way to move forward on a draft when I should be working on other things. Yes, technically these pieces are a marketing exercise and would help the right people find me..but it’s not right to be wholly wanting to empty out my thoughts that it affects the balance of my task list.

Since I progress things much faster when I have a structure (much like my other essays), I decided to put one down to make it easier when writing future ones:

#1 – Introduction

Some writers use this as a snapshot. A bit of like a conclusion rolled into it as well. I lean more into a thought I had that could have little (or a lot) to do with the film. For ‘The Holiday‘ I ended up remembering what Trevor Noah shared while he was going though the United States customs.

#2 – Set-up

Basically Act 1…or at least before the ‘inciting incident’ happens. It’s also a chance for me to mention the main players (particularly the antagonist and protagonist). Answers to questions like ‘What is the opening scene?’ or ‘What kind of environment does the protagonist find herself in?’ For ‘Shazam!‘ it is much a story about finding your family (or letting your family find you) so I focused on how each of the kids were unique.

#3 – Inciting Incident

There are a lot of definitions of this (and probably arguments depending on which story is being debated). What I learned is that it is what happens to the protagonist. Then whatever the choice is what launches us into the story. In ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri‘ it seems like that point was when Mildred decides to rent out the billboards. The problem with choosing that is, it is something that she choses to do, rather than what happens to her.

I’m not sure if how difficult finding the inciting incident is…reflects on how I’d rate the film. The masterpiece that was directed and written by Martin McDonagh is not so obvious compared to 2017’s ‘Before I Fall’. Ry Russo-Young makes a decision to do the set-up first (what a normal day looks like for Sam) then then follow it with the inciting incident (she gets thrown in a time loop). In ‘Memento’ Christopher Nolan intentionally chooses a different way of telling the story to enhance the viewing experience, so it could be either when Sammy Jankis puts his wife into a coma (which does represent something for Leonard since he is dealing with memory issues) or when Teddy is shot.

#4 – Performances

Where I identify the MVP and generally just highlight the characters that delighted me. Since I only write reviews for titles that made it on my recommended viewing list (at least 5/10), I veer away from any particular distaste (because if what I was watching fell into what was annoying to me…or worse…gave me a migraine…then I would stop watching as soon as that was apparent. Sometimes it takes watching one scene where two characters are chatting or it might take 10 minutes to realise that the film isn’t a fit for me)…and rather look into areas I hoped the producers would have binned…or…redone. Kind of like how I accept a friend how she is…but have some feedback ready if she’s open to hear it.

#5 – Opinion Of Other Viewers

Sometimes, it takes the words of another person to help me articulate how I feel. There are even instances when I might want to write a review just because of unjust criticism towards a film. In a way, this is what energised me to write one for ‘Three Billboards’ as there was a viewer who interpreted what other people at the cinema were laughing at to the same things the cast felt was funny about it.

#6 – Conclusion

What kind of person would I recommend the film to? Is it worth a rewatch? Maybe something to play in the background of your next dinner party?

After having published a number of them, I realised that there is no way to search for every one of them. Yes, I can use tags, the site search function, or use a search engine…but all options miss at least one. So I’m going to just keep a running log of them:

(I know they are a mix of TV and film titles….and for now…I’m going to list them together for archiving purposes)

3 thoughts on “The Ingredients Of A Film Review

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