REVIEW OF LIVE PRODUCTION
Purpose: To evaluate a live production’s creation of tension, tragedy and meaning through its use of drama conventions and acting techniques.
Text Type: Newspaper review
Audience: Readers of The Courier Mail
NOTE: This exemplar evaluates a film rather than a live production.
Analysis of generic structure
Example essay response
Salient language features
Catchy title which sums up opinion of the play/film
Star rating out of 5 given
Opening sentences identifies the director/authors, title, type of film and general opinion.
Main thesis sums up use of TENSION and MEANING.
The plot summary outlines the story of the play briefly and also lists the actors who played particular characters, in brackets, with some brief comments on their overall performance
ARGUMENT ONE – TENSION
Topic sentence evaluating overall use of tension.
Specific analysis of a type of tension, linking to acting techniques with specific evidence.
Concluding sentence, evaluating tension once again and how it creates meaning.
ARGUMENT TWO – TRAGEDY
Topic sentence evaluating overall use of tragedy/comedy.
Specific analysis of a type of tension, linking to acting techniques.
Concluding sentence, evaluating tragedy once again and how it creates meaning.
ARGUMENT THREE – MESSAGE
Topic sentence evaluating overall creation of meaning
Specific analysis of meaning, linking to acting techniques.
Concluding sentence, evaluating the message and its contribution towards meaning.
Opening sentence of conclusion comments on the style of the film/play. Connect back to main thesis.
Final sentence refers back to your arguments and gives a recommendation for others.
Dark Knight grabs you and doesn’t let go
Having memorably explored the Caped Crusader’s origins in “Batman Begins,” director Christopher Nolan puts all of Gotham City under a microscope in “The Dark Knight,” the enthralling second installment of his bold, bracing and altogether heroic reinvention of the iconic franchise. The Dark Knight has Batman facing nearly insurmountable tension of the task – pitted against Heath Ledger’s wicked Joker. The film’s message revolves around anarchy and chaos.
With trusty Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman, superbly restrained) and golden-boy District Attorney Harvey Dent (a confident Aaron Eckhart) successfully spearheading the city’s crackdown on the mob, even Wayne himself (Christian Bale) figures his nights moonlighting as a leather-clad vigilante are numbered. The young billionaire hopes to hang up the Batsuit for good and renew his relationship with assistant D.A. Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal, an immediate improvement over Katie Holmes), who has taken up with Dent in the meantime.
The actors in this film successfully and consistently heighten tension, sending Gotham to boiling point. Tension of the task is realised perfectly as Batman has to elicit the whereabouts of Rachel Dawes and Harvey Dent from Ledger’s Joker, who toys with Batman as a cat would play with a mouse. Bale’s Batman becomes increasingly brutal and violent, fuelling Joker’s fun. The Joker taunts Batman, saying “you're gonna have to play my little game if you want to save one of them,” and “the only sensible way to live in this world is without rules.” The tension of the task combined with tension of relationship between Batman and Joker make this interrogation scene an instantly memorable comparison of chaos (Joker) and control (Batman).
Nolan’s The Dark Knight is relentlessly tragic; a morbid sense of society unravelling permeates the entire film. This sense of tragedy is strongest within the character of Harvey Dent. Aaron Eckhart’s final scene is heart-wrenching, seen through his expression of anguish mixed with hate and vengeance. Music underscores this scene well, increasing tension further. Two-Face highlights this sense of tragedy and loss as he screams “you thought we could be decent men in an