Reviewing movies

It’s Edinburgh Film Festival time again. Every year, I end up writing loads of reviews all the while wondering how *other people* review movies. I find it difficult, but not impossible to churn out 3 or 4 pieces a day. Here’s how I cope.

When watching, I keep scribbling notes, to remind myself of people, places and interesting lines. I stop doing this around halfway, and simply keep watching the movie.

Once the movie is over I find a comfy seat, transcribe the notes I’ve made to computer, and add whatever detail I can to them while writing them up. During this detail-adding, I invariably start writing in complete sentences, and some of the structure of the review reveals itself. Re-reading the mass of detailed notes, I try to divine some kind of structure to the piece (finding connective links, amassing evidence for my views and to give the reader a flavour of the film), and then copying and pasting the notes to suit.

I then eliminate useless text, write some tissue to unify the piece, and have a fight with how to begin and end the review. A final re-read, to ameliorate the over-written and “chewy” paragraphs – ones which are nearly impossible to speak aloud without getting into a knot – and I’m done.

Method. What do you all do?


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