by Robert Glatzer
As soon as the film ends, and the credits begin to roll, start you stopwatch and follow these 10 easy steps to have a complete film review captured in just ten minutes.
- Minute one:
- What was the director’s name?
- What was the single best scene in the film?
- Who gave the best performance?
2. Minute two:
- Was this the most perfect film you have seen in your life?
- Was it the absolutely worst film you have ever seen?
- What is your “gut feeling” grade? It may change in the next eight minutes.
3. Minute three:
- Is this the best or worst film you have seen by this director?
- Where on the scale would you put it (from best to worst)?
- If this is the director’s first film or if you haven’t seen anything else by this director – go to minute five.
- Minute Four:
- How is this film similar to the director’s other films?
- How is it different?
- Minute Five:
- How many interesting characters did the writer create?
- Did the dialogue feel real (authentic and organic), or did it feel forced (fake) or hollow?
- Could you predict events or plot twists before the writer revealed them?
- Did the character conflicts /crisis situations seem real or artificial (or forced)?
- What emotions did you feel when watching the film?
- Minute Six:
- Examine the acting.
- Did the stars of the film act exactly as they do in all other films you’ve seen them in?
- Did the stars expand their acting range and/or try something different?
- Were you drawn to the characters? Or just the stars? Did it matter?
- Did the characters seem real within the story, within the “created world” you witnessed? (remember natural vs. non-natural acting from chapter 5)
- Were you absorbed into the film or more absorbed into your popcorn?
- Did the film force you to think about implications in your on life? Was there a message? There usually is “something” you can learn or gain (a “Universal Life Lesson”). This is the “B” story for your character.
- Was there a sense of truth you could feel about the lives of characters on the screen?
- Was there any part of the film that you would enjoy talking about with a friend?
- Did the film have any rhythm or pace to it? Was there a purpose to the way the scenes were played out? Was it a jumbled mess or did it feel sluggish? This usually relates to editing.
- What technical aspects shined for you or were lacking (sound design, cinematography and color selections, musical score, special effects, stunts, lighting, production design, etc.).
- Minute Nine:
- Summarize minutes 1-8.
- Pick and choose what appealed to you and what should be discarded.
- Come to an overall conclusion and opinion on the film.
- Grade your film: On a line between disgraceful and perfection, where would you put this film? Grading scales like 0% to 100%, 1 to 10 or A+ to F usually have a more universal appeal.
- Minute 10:
- Deliver your verdict; offer a summary of the film’s story in a few short sentences; share your analysis. Give your report card grade. “Nuff said
*Robert Glazer was a long-time filmmaker, film professor, film festival founder, and film critic who made his home in Spokane, Washington after living and working in the New York entertainment and education industry for over a decade. He was also a nationally known author and an early adopter of utilizing the Internet for film criticism establishing http://www.movies101.com in 1999. Glazer died at the age of 78 in 2010 after suffering from a stroke.
Glatzer, R. (2001). Beyond popcorn: A critic’s guide to looking at films. Spokane, WA: Eastern Washington University Press.