"man On Fire" - Film Critique

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"Man on Fire" - Film Critique

"Man on Fire" - Film Critique


The standard criteria for judging films is through an in depth analysis of its various aspects like cinematography, mise-en-scene, cinematography, sound track, background score, dialogues, editing etc. Film critiques base their evaluation of the film on all of the above mentioned aspects as well as soliciting their professional and personal opinion on what was entertaining and what was simply a failed attempt to deceive the audience. The focus of this critique is the American film “Man on Fire,” directed by Tony Scott in 2004, starring Denzel Washington as the main protagonist John Creasy, and supporting actors Dakota Fanning, Christopher Walken Radha Mitchell, March Anthony and Mickey Rourke (www.wikipedia.org, 2004). The plot of this film revolves around Denzel Washington, currently a bodyguard and an ex CIA operative with extensive experience in counter terrorism as well as an alcoholic going on a killing spree to avenge the kidnapping of his young charge played by Dakota Fanning, who is targeted and abducted in Mexico. Interestingly, this film is an adaptation of a 1980 novel by A.J. Quinell and the screenplay has been written by Brian Helgelan (IMDB, 2004), and it reflects how far the social, political and legal system of countries in Latin America, like Mexico where this film was shot has worsened due to corruption, which also is purported to be an inspiration for the film itself.

Cinematography and Mise-en-scene

The film “Man on Fire” has an approximate run time of 146 minutes which gives it ample time to develop all the characters fully, and allows the audience a chance to see for themselves this development unfold slowly with each consecutive scene. Moreover, Creasy's background and history are disclosed at opportune moments, while in conversation with Marc Anthony or Dakota Fanning or other characters who appear briefly. For example, while talking to Sister Anna he finishes a quote from the Bible and pinpoints the exact chapter and verse, following it up with, “I am the sheep that got lost, Madre,” which shows the audience that he used to be a very religious man (IMDB, 2004).

The director Tony Scott manages to inculcate a sense of adventure intertwined with drama from the very first scene. The film can be adequately called a “revenge masterpiece,” full of action with emotions like devotion and love interspersed with a few religious notes. However, reading the script of the film and seeing it unfolding have a completely different affect, and the transformation can be accredited to the cinematographer firstly, like the opening scenes or establishing shots of Mexico City which have been shown with wide shots, enabling the viewers to gain a definite impression of the city. The wide open shots also serve to capture the “soul” of the city and its citizens, establishing a firm link between them as well as “breathing life” into the scenes.

Moreover, the film displays an unusual style of cinematography not commonly found in other films based on the revenge ...
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