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Crucible Film Review

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  The Crucible Film Critique Title: The Crucible Year: 1996 Genre: Historical Drama Era: Colonial Massachusetts Grade Category: Mainstream Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, Paul Scofield Director: Nicholas Hytner Plot: The Crucible,   based on the classic 1953 Arthur Miller’s play about the Salem Witch Trials. The film follows largely the same plot. The film, set in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, like the play, follows a group of young women who are out one night practicing what appears to be witchcraft. When they are caught, they are brought to trial and begin pointing the finger at other people in the town. Most notably and prominently featured in the film is the story of Abigail Williams (Winona Ryder) and the charges she brings up against John Proctor (Daniel Day- Lewis). The trial is full of lies, deception and the occasional truth as the people of Salem try to find the devil in their midst. This trial, immortalized in history as the “Salem witch trial”, as well as the famous names o f the accused are brought to the big screen in this adaptation of the film. Critique: The Crucible  is not afraid to alter the source material and makes changes to the story, mostly for the better. Ryder and Day- Lewis’s strong performances are highlighted  by strong character development but are left compensating for a weak supporting cast. Despite the lack of polish in editing, the strong production values of the film brings colonial Massachusetts to life in the film. As a whole, despite some questionable choices, The Crucible is an enjoyable film and a worthy adaptation to Miller’s classic play. Components: PC  –  9.0 CA  –  8.5 MS  –  8.5 DE  –  8.3 CS  –  9.6 Critical Grade: 8.8 Final Word: The Crucible is a worthy, yet flawed adaptation of Miller’s 1953 play, w orth seeing because of its strong production values, the lead actors’ performances  and the compelling story it tells. Final Grade: 8.6  Plot/Continuity  –   The Crucible follows largely the same story line as the play, and succeeds in telling a compelling story because of this. The script does, however, take some creative liberties with the events of the story. For example, in the film the viewer sees Tituba performing the witchlike rituals with the young women, whereas in the play, this scene is not present. This scene is an excellent addition to the film as it adds a scene that many wished to see during the play. It helps sell the creepy atmosphere of the film and foreshadows the future events of the plot. The changes made to the film give an update and make it more exciting. A good example of this is when Samuel Parris actually whips Tituba instead of just threatening to do so. This small change, though maybe not noticeable, does a good job of catching the viewer’s attention. One of the major issues with  the plot are the scenes add to enhance the mood of the film. They are noticeable, not based upon any particular event in the play, and simply distract above all else. Character/Development/Acting  –  Winona Ryder and Daniel Day Lewis both shine in their iconic roles from the Arthur Miller play. Day Lewis especially brings an electrifying energy to the film with his powerful and convincing performance as the Salem farmer John Proctor. As for Ryder, she brings her character to life the moment that she drinks the blood at the witch ritual in the opening scene. The character development, taking its cues from the Miller play, is also strong. No lead character is clearly a hero or a villain, everyone has their flaws. This makes characters interesting to watch and much more relatable to the average viewer. The only flaw in the acting is most of the supporting cast. It felt like the filmmaker was just trying to fill the set with people and many of the supporting characters are not developed or are just placed in a scene where they can yell and make and show, which is frustrating for the viewer. Music/Singing  –  The soundtrack in the film is haunting, dark and suits the film. It is intense when it must be, but never so that it is noticeable or clashes with the images on the screen. The soundtrack does set the appropriate tone for the film, but does not do much else beyond that. The music is good, but it will likely not stay with the viewers, it services the film and that’s about it. It is not an iconic soundtrack, but it does do its  job extremely, providing a very strong soundtrack, that while great, is not quite memorable. Directing/Editing  –  Hytner does a great job behind at the helm. He is a talented director and his filmmaking skills show in the scene. Some of his choices are questionable however, mostly the choices made with the supporting cast. He does however keep the film moving at a swift pace and does not leave room for boredom. The editing does a good job at keeping up with the pace, but it is plagued by rough cuts and transitions. Cinematography/Special Effects  –   The story’s colonial setting is realized through the cinematography and the film’s production. The stellar costume design is enough to convince the viewer that they have taken a trip to colonial New England are witnessing real history. The set design perfectly mimics that same colonial feel and by choosing to set most of the film outdoors, the filmmakers have created an atmosphere that is loyal to most people’s thoughts of colonial New England. As a historical drama, this production is truly astounding.
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