Reviewing Movies – a Critic’s Job

Christopher Orr’s review of “There Will Be Blood” in the New Republic, which can be read here, encompasses both a broad overview of the movie as well as subjective details that the potential viewer might be interested in. It has an authoritative tone as it spans through a spectrum of pertinent areas. As I read the review, I gained a new appreciation for the movie and learned a new perspective thanks to Orr’s critical evaluation.

As with A. O. Scott’s Review of “Good Night and Good Luck” in The New York Times, reading the review after actually seeing the movie for myself added even more of a meaning to it. I caught more of the interesting points in the review that I missed before and remembered important details in the film that I dismissed while watching it. Orr was incredibly insightful in his analysis of “Blood,” and he evidently understood some of the plot’s underlying themes that I wasn’t able to grasp from watching the movie just once.

Orr began the review by evaluating the opening scenes of the movie and the significance of its symbolism. Though it was dialogue-free it said a lot in the intensity of the shots. Orr makes sure to mention all of the big names of the movie from the bat, including its director and main characters. He also ties in the title of the movie to the various forms of blood shown in the movie. He shows his expertise in the directors’ previous works by comparing it to the Gangs of New York. Lastly, Orr discusses his expectations versus the ending offered in the film.

Scott’s review is more concise and to the point, extracting the most meaning out of each written word. He summed up the background setting of the movie in the first couple of sentences; then went on to describe the historical events that the movie corresponded to accurately and with a specific directing style. His review also included the main names associated with the film and alluded to the director’s previous work. After reading Scott’s point of view, I got the sense that he is of high esteem of the film and feels that its means achieved the purpose.

If I were to write a review of either of these two movies, it would be hard to compete with these two experts because they have developed very detailed and insightful critiques. However, I could look to these reviews as examples for my future review. I haven’t decided on a subject yet, but my structure would probably be similar to these two works. I would try to develop a careful analysis of the movie, show or performance of my choice. Of course, I would mention the director’s and main character’s names throughout my review, and try to show that I have done research by including some comparison. I would also try to notice details that the average viewer might miss, proposing a significance of the director’s choice for a particular scene.


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