Film analysis | English homework help

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For the written assignment, you will view one additional classic film in the mystery/suspense genre and write a 5- to 7-page paper exploring the dimensions of the film that create intrigue or suspense.

Choose a film from the list below. The films are a hodgepodge in terms of their era, genre and setting. To decide which one you want to focus on, I suggest you find out more about the films at IMDB (the Internet Movie Data Base). You have multiple options for acquiring the film – primarily either buying a DVD through a vendor such as Amazon or streaming the film through a vendor such as Amazon, Vudu, itunes, Google Play or Netflix. 

 Murder, My Sweet 


 The Big Sleep 


Dirty Harry

 Marathon Man 

“A covert   government group uncovers a criminal plot run by Nazi War criminals.”*

It is critical that your paper be based on a thorough viewing of the film that you choose. Do not even consider trying to rely on miscellaneous clips posted on YouTube or another clip site. You need to have the experience of watching the film in its entirety in a quality format. If you stream, make sure that you do so using a device that will allow you to stream with an optimal resolution. Another critical issue is that the paper should be based entirely on your own analysis. Do not incorporate the comments of critics, film scholars, etc.

Here are some things to consider when analyzing the film:

§ What contributes to the intrigue or suspense in the film? Examine in detail one or more of the following elements and describe specifically how they contribute to the intrigue or suspense. Give specific examples.

o Narrative structure

o Script

o Color or black and white cinematography

o Lighting (direction, intensity, use of shadows, etc.)

o Camera distance (use of extreme long shots, long shots, medium shots, medium close-ups, close-ups, extreme close-ups)

o Camera angles used to film subjects (including bird’s-eye view, high angle, eye-level angle, low angle, point-of-view shot, Dutch angle)

o Sound (including spoken word elements [dialogue, monologues or narration], sound effects, music and use of silence)

§ What stands out about the film? The direction? The screenplay? The performances?

§ What makes this film a classic?

§ For a contemporary viewer, how does this classic mystery/suspense film hold up? Is it compelling?

So what makes a successful paper? 

· Strive for a paper that sharply analyzes the intrigue/suspense element of the film. You may weave in ideas from the readings or class lectures or discussions, relating them to your film. You may also point to apt comparisons between the intrigue/suspense dimensions of your film and other films we have viewed and discussed this term. 

· Your paper should be detailed, precise and accurate. In the opening paragraph, provide some brief background on the film (year of release, director, stars, genre, setting, one- or two-sentence plot description, etc.) to help set the stage for the heart of your paper. At every step of the paper, try to use detail from the film to elucidate your points. That detail may involve highlighting a particular plot development, quoting (with exact wording) some dialog, etc. You should also ensure that what you write is factual – make sure you identify the director, actors, characters, etc., correctly or that remarks about the plot or another aspect of the film are accurate.

· Your paper should be carefully written and proofed thoroughly to eliminate errors. How you write is a very important and often neglected aspect of papers. It isn’t what you mean to say that counts, but rather it is what you actually have down on paper. If your paper has errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation or style, those detract from your writing. The more errors there are, the more the writing is compromised. Standards are high.  Sloppily written papers will receive low grades, so take the time to make your writing error free or close to it. 

· Any sources you use – for example, if you use IMDb for background information – should be properly cited using a formal referencing system. You may use APA style, MLA style, Harvard style or another prominent referencing approach. Don’t wing it. Just follow the style guidelines of APA, MLA, etc. and be consistent.  

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