Movie review essay
Jules and Vincent are walking along a corridor, on their way to murder several people; the only light is coming from the ends of the corridor. This could possibly be symbolising the light at the end of the tunnel, often talked about as being what one sees when one dies. Light in this sequence has a biblical effect and alludes to future events in the film. When they enter the flat where the boys are having breakfast, Jules is lit from the back and the top creating a halo effect, giving him an angelic appearance.
The miners are portrayed as an 'ugly mob' in contrast to Billy's gracefulness. In one sequence, scenes of minors attempting to stop scab labour are interlaced with those of Billy practising ballet steps. This collective expression of the miners is defined as negative in opposition to the self-expression of Billy. Indeed the notion of collectivity is depicted as suffocating the individual. Billy is under constant pressure to conform to expected norms by his father, who in turn is subjected to similar pressure of picket lines. At no point in the film does Daldry portray the strike as a potentially liberating experience.
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“James Agee changed American film criticism. This book shows why. We have for the first time all of Agee’s reflections, published and unpublished, on the art he loved most. Agee’s penetrating mind, patient eye, and lyrical prose show that film criticism can go beyond simply praising or disparaging the latest release. Agee’s reviews display a moral and emotional engagement with the power of movies, and Charles Maland has given Agee his full due with a revealing historical introduction and diligent research. Complete Film Criticism demonstrates the full range of Agee’s critical powers and is a must for any film-lover’s library.”
—David Bordwell, Jacques Ledoux Professor of Film Studies, Emeritus
“Agee's film reviews are insightful, entertaining, and, in their quiet way, genuinely poetic. Although best known for Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and his Pulitzer-prize winning novel, he's equally brilliant as a film critic. Agee realized early on that even a Hollywood film could be, in the hands of the right director, a work of art, and it was a natural step for him to move from writing about film to becoming a first-rate, honored screenwriter.”
—Gerald Peary, Professor of Communications and Journalism, Suffolk University
“With substantial introductory materials and an impressive effort to comprehensively identify Agee’s Time reviews, originally published anonymously, Complete Film Criticism is a more definitive work on Agee’s film writing than any other book to date.”
—John Belton, Professor of English and Film, Rutgers University