Saturday, January 10, 2009


Doubt: 3 Stars

For the first movie I ever review on paper instead of in my head or out loud much to the dismay of my wife and friends, I must say this movie could not have been more of a puzzle. Pun intended, this movie left me with serious doubts. Now within this review I am not going to give a synopsis of the film, an individual can find a synopsis for this film easy enough and my job here is to analyze not summarize. So after much reflection and debate about this film afterwards this is my review:
As a film: (Storytelling) A+
As a film, and what I mean by as a film, is the medium of motion pictures and everything that goes with it to tell the story written by John Patrick Shanley. The acting was the most notable quality in the telling of this storying through the are of motion pictures. Great acting within dynamically interesting and well written scenes is a rare treat in films and is not only highly enjoyable but should receive proper praise when noticed. Therefore academy award nominations should be considered for Meryl Streep for her performance as and old fashioned and strict school principal. Equally as brilliant was Viola Davis for the job she did playing the mother of a trouble student. Philip Seymour Hoffman did an excellent job playing the priest, I did wonder a little if he was the best casting fit for that role, but even if he wasn’t he still played the part well and should be given credit. The film flowed well with dynamic scenes building appropriately to an interesting climax and subsequent dénouement. Music was good, costumes ext all were appropriate for the film. Because I felt this movie was told very beautifully in every way it could be told I give full credit to the director whom in every movie bares the responsibility of making sure a story is told the best way possible through the medium of film.
As a story: (The plot) B-
As a story I must say I was confused leaving the theater as to whom the protagonist/antagonist was and most importantly what the overall theme or point of the film was. Now I think after consideration a debate that the protagonist was Meryl Streep and that the theme centered around the life moral that doubt is not certainty and should not be treated as such or else there can be tragic consequences. Now even as I’m typing this review I am not sure that that is indeed what the writer was going for or if Streep was the protagonist. Now taking the obvious observation that the film is indeed called Doubt and that a little doubt and confusion and ambiguity on the part of the audience member might be intentional on the part of the writer as a means artistically trying to represent a story more like the real world than traditional stories. However a story’s foundation and the whole point of a story’s existence is to express a message or a theme of some kind and I was left wondering what exactly that theme might be. With a film of this magnitude the point and the messege has to be clear and cannot be purposefully vague or leave room for doubt by the audience member when leaving the theater. Now this film might very well have a clear theme and the director might say the theme can be found here and the viewer needs to look at it this way and it will all make sense but unfortunately the conclusion is still the same that the theme needed to be communicated better. Therefore it is within the story that I feel the film as a whole has it’s flaws and therefore did not meet all of its goals that it could have and should have met as a film and in turn receives the three star rating instead of four that it probably was destined to receive.
Doubt was enjoyable to watch and the main elements of film work were done well, directing, acting, cinematography, is in the story and in particular the theme and the ambiguity surrounding the theme which needed to be clearer even if the title of the film is doubt.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your rating :) I also think that when I pay top dollar for a movie (OMG $10 for ONE TICKET?!), that I would like the movie to provide good closure.