How to Critique a Film

Film: Apocalypse Now Year: 1979 Country: USA Directed by Francis Ford Coppola Featuring Marlon Brando / Robert Duvall / Martin Sheen
Film: Apocalypse Now
Year: 1979 Country: USA Directed by Francis Ford Coppola Featuring Marlon Brando / Robert Duvall / Martin Sheen

How to Critique a Film

Watch! Don’t write while watching. Think while watching.

OBSERVE:

Where are we? Location. 

Who is this? Character. Do you like this character? (“Sympathize”)

What’s happening? Plot. Individual events are “plot points.” The even that starts everything is the “instigating event.” 

Visual. Shots. Light. Color. Movement. 

Sound. Music. Ambience. Dialog. Effects. 

Editing. Shot order. Pacing. Transitions. 

Theme. What are the main ideas? How are you left feeling when the film ends? What questions do you have? 

Take a few minutes to write down your thoughts immediately after the film is over.

Discuss!  Refer to your notes to contribute comments to the discussion. The class critique can be richer because we all interpret films from a different point of view. The audience adds meaning to the film—and it can mean different things to different people! 

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