Film Is a Comprehensive Work Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

There is a direct correlation with, say, Henry Hill's cocaine abuse and the increasingly rapid cuts between shots. Faster-paced narrative parallels quicker-moving shots. When viewers finally see the film in the theater, the finished product reads like a cohesive narrative when in fact the filmmakers strung together disparate shots and cuts and combined them later after thousands of hours of painstaking labor. Analyzing a movie must therefore include respect for the editorial prowess of the post-production crew.

Editors must be intimately familiar with the screenplay they work with, especially in films that do not have a linear narrative. For instance, Christopher Nolan's 2000 film Memento describes one man's struggle with memory degradation. Relying on a non-linear plot, the filmmaker depended on the post-production crew to adequately convey the disjointedness of amnesia. Other elements like dramatic irony, in which the audience is privy to information that protagonists do not have access to, are crucial in filmmaking. Such literary elements require not just a well-constructed screenplay but also an editing crew that understands the director's vision.

One of the most important aspects of film analysis is political and social context. While many films do not attempt to convey any deeper meaning and only seek to entertain, others offer the viewer a depth of experience. In the same way a great novel reverberates in the public consciousness, so too does a powerful film leave an indelible memory.

Rentschler & Kaes (nd) point out the importance of social and historical background: the "economic and political factors that conditioned" the making of a movie. While this may seem like over-analyzing a film, for some movies such historical context may be crucial. For instance, documentarians like Michael Moore rely on kairos, releasing films at opportune moments to create political awareness and galvanize activism. The rhetorical tools used by Moore and other politically-minded documentarians can be analyzed in their own right. For instance, Moore presents one-sided arguments and yet his films also aim for an emotional more than a cerebral impact. Moore's movies can also be considered as quintessentially American because of the way the arguments are packaged -- with maximum sensationalism. This can be viewed as a "national pattern of expression," (Rentschler & Kaes nd). Similarly, French cinema has its own unique feel that reflects cultural patterns of expression.

Dramas like Traffic explore social issues within a fictitious framework. Likewise, movies like Wag the Dog, the Insider, and Erin Brockovich all address social and political problems and therefore send a message to viewers. The writer and director use film as a media for social change, raising awareness about important issues. How effectively a filmmaking crew achieves consciousness-raising objectives depends on a slew of factors including screenplay, cinematography, editing, sound, and of course, acting and casting.

The casting crew and the actors selected for a film are the most obvious vehicles for film analysis. Acting can make or break a movie. Casting requires a deep understanding of the screenplay as well as the director's intentions. Lesser-known actors are valuable for fantasy movies like Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter because the nature of fantasy requires a surrender of disbelief. Well-known actors who attach themselves to films are effective marketing tools and also lend an air of credibility to a movie that might not otherwise receive publicity. The casting can change the entire tone of a movie. For instance, many viewers wondered why Keanu Reeves was chosen as the star in Little Buddha. Reeves lacked believability as Buddha. On the contrary, Adam Sandler is typically cast in silly comedies but his role in Punch Drunk Love revealed a surprising depth that a skillful casting director would have seen.

When analyzing movies it is important to place them in the greater context of the actor's or director's portfolio. An actor may demonstrate maturation over the course of a career; alternatively, some actors allow commercialism to pull their careers in degrading directions. Directors also make important decisions in the films they choose to make, as the dictates of studio profits sometimes overpower the ability to create meaningful movies.

Film analysis takes into account the various manifestations of cinematography, sound, writing, and acting. The arrangement of visual elements on the silver screen is the most immediate encounter a viewer has with the movie. Acting also imparts the obvious dimensions of drama and marketability. However, more subtle and less obvious elements of filmmaking are equally as important to analyze because they ensure that the message is embodied in the media. Film editors piece together shots and creates thematic continuity, even in films that have a nonlinear plot line. Sound and music go a long way towards creating mood and ambiance. Finally, the social and political context of a film contribute to its value and impact on audiences.


Bellour, R. (2000). The Analysis of Film. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Bertolucci, B. (1993). Little Buddha. Feature film.

Brown, B. (2002). Cinematography: Theory and Practice. USA: Elsevier Science.

Cameron, J. (2009). Avatar. Feature film.

Coen, J. Coen, E. (2000). O Brother, Where Art Thou? Feature film.

Coppola, F.F. (1979). Apocalypse Now. Feature film.

Coppola, F.F. (1972). The Godfather. Feature film.

Inarritu, a.G. (2006). Babel. Feature film.

Jackson, P. (2001). The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Feature film.

Nichols, M. (1966). Who's Afraid…[continue]

Cite This Term Paper:

"Film Is A Comprehensive Work" (2010, May 14) Retrieved October 22, 2016, from

"Film Is A Comprehensive Work" 14 May 2010. Web.22 October. 2016. <>

"Film Is A Comprehensive Work", 14 May 2010, Accessed.22 October. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Movies and Methods Volume I

    Not only does Nichols provide a good context for the many paradoxes that can confront film studies with his insightful and thoughtful introduction, but he also shows how sharing approaches and methods can help to stimulate a lot of the best writing regarding film. In addition he shows many of the common problems that are seen and deals with the contradictions that appear. Like the first volume of the anthology,

  • Movie Snapshot Then Elaborate Typeface Printin

    movie ( snapshot). Then, elaborate Typeface printin The 2009 film Typeface, which was directed by Justine Nagan and produced by Kartemquin Films, is a thoroughly fascinating documentary about the decline of traditional woodblock type and printing. The movie also focuses on the ramifications of that decline, which occurred in the wake of the transition to digital type and modern printing presses. There is a great deal of history in this

  • Film Pilosophy Philosophy in Films

    Humanity seems to unravel altogether in Pi: Faith in Chaos, both written and direct by Darren Aronofsky. Max is a brilliant but socially crippled young mathematician who has built a supercomputer and possibly unlocked the mathematical secrets of the universe, explaining everything from the stock market to God. The mathematical precision with which the world would operate if this is true casts a great deal of doubt on the existence

  • Psychopathology in the Film A Clockwork Orange

    Psychopathology in Popular Film; "A Clockwork Orange" Psychology -- Abnormal Psychopathology symptoms have been analyzed through various movies but the movie "A Clockwork Orange" has raised several deep philosophical questions that are still unanswered. This movie reflected the dilemma that an increase in moral leads to a decrease in freedom. The dualistic society is beautifully portrayed in this movie only consists of victims and perpetrators. The purpose of this term paper

  • Waiting for Superman Sociology Film Waiting for

    Waiting for Superman Sociology Film: Waiting for Superman This is a disturbing film about the education system and the resistance to change. Students are caught in the middle. Before you start watching this film, recall your high school education experience -- both good and bad parts. Then think about taking on the role of a teacher -- what kind of teacher would you be? What would it be like to have been your

  • King s Speech Favorite Movie 2010

    Lionel is not a great actor (as seen when he attempts to audition for a role as Shakespeare's Richard III) but he is a great teacher. The budget of the King's Speech was relatively modest by lush Hollywood standards. Even after multiple Oscar wins, including Best Picture and Best Actor, its official website remains fairly stark as well, when compared with the websites of Hollywood mega-blockbusters. The main 'additional' feature

  • American Gangster Movie American Gangster

    Frank ends up in prison and comes out after 15 years a frail and misplaced person who no longer fits in the Harlem streets, no longer the feared drug baron that he was. It is also a positive experience since even in the midst of the rotten and corrupt police force, there was Richie who refused to compromise his personal and work ethics at all costs. I did experience a

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved