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Movie: The Firm

Sydney Pollack's film The Firm is a drama based on an desire to escape
from the law firm (Berndini, Lambert, and Lock) from which he was hired. The
relatively small but wealthy firm wines and dines the ambitious Harvard Law
Graduate's (played by Tom Cruise) with money and gifts in order to make him part
of their team. Overwhelmed by the gracious treatment and substantial offer
Mitch McDeere takes the offer to be part of the Firm. The firm gets them caught
up in a affluent lifestyle that they never thought they could live. Once
involved n the day to day workings of the firm McDeere began to get subtle hints
of a corruption with a Mafia mob client. McDeere gets a hold of some
information that he shouldn't have had access to that supports his suspicions.
When an FBI agent confronts him with evidence of corruption and murder within
the firm, Mitch forms a plan to indite the partners of the firm by gathering
information on overbilling of the firms clients. The firms clients files
contained information that could destroy both the firm and most of their mob
clients. Berndini, Lambert, and Lock had a past history of spending large sums
of money on their new lawyers then once they got used to the good life the firm
would let them in on the corruption that when on. The firm had a tight control
over their partners. They knew everything about their personal life as well as
their work life. All their homes were wired and their phones tapped. They also
had access to information on their partners family and friends. With such tight
controls over their lives they had a power to control their every move.
Temptations of escape were smothered by threats of harm. In two cases the
threats of harm led to murder.
A reoccurring theme of politics and power emerged throughout the film.
For this reason it seems most logical to analyze The Firm based on chapter
twelve of Stephen Robbins' book Organizational Behavior. Power is defined as A
capacity that A has to influence the behavior of B so that B does things he or
she would not otherwise do. The focus of this paper is going to based on the
power that the firm had over its employees. In order to better understand the
concept of power and where it comes from two published researchers named J.R.P.
French Jr. and B. Raven came up with a five-category classification. The five
categories are as follows; coercive power, reward power, legitimate power,
expert power, and referent power. The firm practiced all five of these
categories to gain control over their employees actions. The top partners of
the firm possessed a great coercive power over their subordinates. Coercive
power is defined as a power based on fear. The lead character Mitch McDeere was
in fear of his life and his family's life if he failed to comply to the firms
demands. The foundation of coercive behavior "...rests on the application, or
the threat of application, of physical sanctions such as the infliction of pain,
the generation of frustration through restriction of movement, or the
controlling by force of basic physiological or safety needs." Throughout the
film there were many implications a negative outcome to certain actions that the
head partners felt were contrary to the success of the firm.
Another classification of power, reward power, is based on compliance
achieved based on the ability to distribute rewards that others view as valuable.
As stated in the chapter coercive and reward behavior are counterparts of each
other. In the movie they were used together. The book describes coercive power
as the power to take away something of positive value or to give something of
negative value. It goes further to explain reward power as the power to give
something of positive value or to take something away of negative value. Under
this view one could assume that the firm took away Mitch McDeeres' value of
freedom. During the last few scenes of the movie the FBI agent asked Mitch why
he went to all the trouble to do what he did. His reply was " I have a
life. A life of my own, not someone else's." At the same time the firm gave
Mitch many things of great value such as a houses, car, and six figure salary.
Another form of power that emerges in The Firm is Legitimate power.
Legitimate power is the power that a person receives as a result of his or her
position in the formal hierarchy of an organization. Tom Cruise did an
excellent job of depiction his characters role in the organization. Mitch was a
newcomer to the firm, but he was a very smart individual and a talented lawyer.
Because Mitch was such an intelligent person with a strong educational
background he exhibited an subtle hint arrogance. Even with this arrogant
attitude when confronted by the senior partner Tom Cruise's character showed his
subordinate position with his body language and his use of power tactics such as
reason, friendliness assertiveness, and higher authority. These power tactics
are fully explained on page 472 of Organizational Behavior. The senior
partner's authority over Mitch is a good example of Legitimate power.
Mitch McDeere also exhibited a power referred to as expert power. This
type of power is a form of influence based on special skills or knowledge.
Mitch and the rest of the lawyers in the firm had a expert power over the rest
of the people in the movie. Their clients respected their opinion. Expert
power exists because certain people have educational backgrounds that enable
them to give advise to others that the average person would not know. Expert
knowledge only exists on a narrow spectrum. A lawyer has a expert advantage
over a doctor when the topic of law is discussed. When the topic of medicine is
discussed the table is turned to the doctor's advantage.
The final category of power listed is referent power. Referent power is
defined as an influence based on possession by an individual of desirable
resources or personal traits. Referent power emerges as a result of admiration
of another individual. Since McDeere started of as a character with little
money he got caught up in the affluent lifestyle very quickly. This was because
he saw something in the other partners that he wished that he had. He admired
his colleges' the nice cars, big houses and expensive suits. The fact that he
fit in so quickly was due to the fact that he was influenced by the other
partners referent power over him.
Berndini, Lambert, and Lock made it a point to maintain a certain image
amongst their clients. This image that they tried to maintain could best be
explained by a process called impression management. Impression management is
defined as the process by which individuals attempt to control the impression
others form of them. The firm used impression management to influence their
clients and their new recruits. The firm encouraged strong family values and
close involvement with the company. There are seven techniques that the book
lists to help an individual gain a positive image or impression others view of
an individual. Although the book focused on individual impression management
techniques I believe that companies are often very concerned with their image
management. As a small firm Berndini, Lambert, and Lock had a relatively easy
job of maintaining a image of a organization that hires only professional,
family oriented individuals with strong values. As a law firm Berndini, Lambert,
and Lock felt it was important to make a strong effort to eliminate the negative
connotations that many people think of when they hire a lawyer. They
accomplished this by maintaining the practice of impression management.
Power and politics is something that will always be around us. As long
as there are a variety of people in this world with a limited level of resources
it will exist as a form of distribution of these limited resources. Power
exists in many forms. Some are done intentionally and some are done without
even knowing it. If used correctly power can help some to advance faster in
their jobs and enhance their social status. If used incorrectly power can hurt
the people it has its influence on. A person that is under the influence of
another persons power is at the mercy of the one in authority. This raises the
subject of ethics and power. How far should you go to gain power over another
individual in order to enhance your position in a company, social setting, or
even a relationship? The answer to this and many more ethical questions lie
within every individuals mind and hart. So the next time you come in contact
with someone who you feel has a powerful influence on your actions ask yourself;
Do they have my intentions in mind or their own?


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Content of this article

  1. Movie review writing guide
  2. Forrest Gump analysis (example)
  3. Review structure
  4. Polishing
  5. More examples
  6. Movie related essay samples

1. Movie Review Writing

A lot of people like movies and films. These things add thrill and imaginations to our lives. This, therefore, makes us come to the conclusion that a movie is worth a review if it has been watched. Everyone has a different opinion on the movies they watch – the ratings can range from being great to good or even bad. Thought there are an increasing number of movie sites available on the Internet (some of which are authoritative, others less so (more below)), movie reviews and reviewers are still very much in demand for their own unique takes on a movie. The different types of reviewers can offer different types of writing, which is something that is good in a market which is rapidly becoming over-saturated. Everyone can review a movie, but there are still some differences between the reviewing done by experts, and reviewing done by amateurs – the amateurs are not usually focused on the minutiae of the film in the same way, and are instead focused more on the general ideas presented.

The primary purpose of movie review writing is to give the reader a rough idea of what the movie is about. The movie review greatly determines if an individual wants to watch the movie or not. This type of writing should, therefore, be detailed enough to assist the reader in making an honest decision. As much as the review is based on elaborating the movie review outline, it should not give away the plot of the movie or the surprises that make the movie enjoyable. Opinions on a movie need to be stated clearly, good or bad. If the review is to be brief, stars and scores can also be used to express the reviewer’s thoughts. A good writer should, therefore, have the basic knowledge of how to write a movie review.

Examples include:

  • Great movie: Almost Christmas is a movie that has balanced all its features to make a great movie. All the characters fit their roles and make the plot come to life. The costumes and the soundtracks are a plus as they enhance the emotions and feelings of every story line. Almost Christmas is, therefore, a movie worth watching.
  • Good movieLondon has Fallen is an okay movie. The graphics were on point as well as the sound effects. The cast, however, I felt weren’t up to the task, and did not bring out the feel of the movie. The actors, therefore, led to what was otherwise quite a good time-killing movie (if not a good movie overall) being let down. Additionally, the plot was difficult to comprehend.
  • Bad movieNo matter how much you watch Central Intelligence, you can’t get a hold of the movie. The stunts are overrated, and the storyline is off, making the movie boring. The movie is a definite no, and not even worth spending time watching when there is nothing else to watch on TV. Definitely a flop.

2. Complete analysis (Forrest Gump)

  • Plot analysis: the movie falls in the genre of modern fiction (modern history is generally considered to stretch from the fifteenth century up, although this category is further divided into early modern (1500s to 1700s) and late modern (1700s to present), with Tom Hanks playing the role of Forrest Gump. His character moves through history and survives all the hardships with decency and honesty.
  • Soundtrack analysis: the soundtrack reflects the mood that was popular at the time, which, in turn, creates urgency. The songs are great hits and are appropriate for children to listen to as well. The soundtrack helps to illustrate the transitions of the film’s locations – from warm and safe territory to a more hostile borders. For instance, the song by Fleetwood (Go Your Way) is used to illustrate how Forrest is joined by his friends in his journey. The soundtrack is an integral part of the movie experience, as it brings an emotional centre-point to the move by helping people to better understand just how high the stakes are in certain scenes. The soundtrack is also to convey the terrifying nature of the war scenes, thus helping the movie to pack even more of an emotional punch.
  • Atmosphere: later on in the movie, the atmosphere changes – the troops go out on patrol and are far away from their bases which are safe. The atmosphere becomes tense, and at the same time captivating. Having the atmosphere change throughout a movie emphasises that what is happening is actually serious and will have consequences, and the movie Forrest Gump is no different. If the atmosphere is incorrect, then, the movie will not feel so real to the people who are watching it. the movie starts with the atmosphere of the beach party. Music is playing in the background, and people are enjoying barbecue and playing cards. The troops are not left behind as they are seen loading crates of beers in their trucks.
  • The main idea of the film: The main idea portrayed in Forrest Gump is that life is filled with unknown surprises. This is substantially illustrated by Forrest Gump himself, who is just a country boy with learning difficulties. Forrest, however, does not let this obstacle define him, and goes to great lengths to be a relevant person in history. The film, while containing some darkness and violence due to the war and its aftermath, is therefore an uplifting and invigorating film, as it shows how people can prevail against all odds, and even thrive. A film needs to have one (or possibly two, though more is of course harder to maintain) main idea if it is to remain coherent throughout.
  • Actors play analysis: Tom Hanks fits the role perfectly as he manages to express the love for the country. He portrays the feelings of sadness and comedy at the same time. Forrest, therefore, makes the movie interesting. Tom Hanks is a strong actor, and it is mainly due to his efforts as the lead which make the film as powerful and memorable as it is.

3. Review structure

The structure of a movie review follows the basic steps of the introduction, the body (analysis), the recommendation and the movie review conclusion. A movie review writing guide gives the writer instructions on how to write a movie review. The movie review structure is as follows.

3.1 The introduction

A movie review should open up with an introduction. The introduction is the most appealing way of how to start a movie review, and contains the summary of the movie and opinion that will be stated. Movie review writing hooks give the readers a general feel of what will be illustrated in the review. The introduction for a movie review has to be appealing, so that the reader can get the feel of wanting to read more.

Give a brief illustration of what will be discussed in the review and then proceed to the thesis. Ensure that the thesis is original and at the same time based on the analysis. The thesis for a movie review should be compelling and reflect on a contemporary issue, while the argument should go beyond the plot and straight to the film criticism. Illustrate both the message of the movie and how the film connects to an individual.  The thesis paragraph can be followed up with a short summary plot. The section will also give an overview of what will be contained in the body.

3.2 Body paragraphs (analysis)

The analysis covers the fails and accomplishments within the movie, and also gives the writer a chance to express their feelings towards it. The cinematography, acting, the setting, and soundtrack can also be discussed in this section. Ensure that the writing is smooth and easy to comprehend. For the review to seem realistic and professional, present facts and opinions in the same page, and try to use examples that are descriptive in order to bring the plot to life. Dialogue snippets can and should be quoted to give the review snappiness. You can add a few movie review tips such as giving the language used some personality, in order to create a style which will reflect a unique perspective to entertain the reader.

3.3 Recommendation

A movie review structure can also have a recommendation. The recommendation gives the writers a chance to commend the film and decide if it’s worth the money.

3.4 Conclusion

The conclusion for a movie review should be in a position to be tied up with the thesis. The conclusion should also offer guidance of whether to watch the film or not. There are a number of ways of how to end a movie review. However, the most effective style is to make it compelling and at the same time entertaining.

4. Polishing the review

The review is polished through editing. The final content should go hand in hand with the movie review draft. Fine tune the review to ensure it is in line with the thesis. Ensure that the content has enough examples to back up the claims. You should also proofread the review to eliminate any spelling mistakes and errors that can be avoided – movie review writing needs to be precise and free of errors. Finally, share the review with friends and family and see if it has an impact on their opinions of the movie.

5. More examples

5.1 Martian review

5.2 The Shawshank Redemption review

5.3 Star Trek review

5.4 Man of Steel review

More movie related essay samples


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