A movie review serves the purposes of telling people a movie's storyline, what characters are in the film, and whether or not people should see it.

To do a movie review you first have to see the movie. Sometimes it is a good idea to see it twice. This is so you can fully understand the film and can provide an accurate review. You should bring with you a pen and notebook for notes. This is so you can identify and quote characters. You can also write down the plot as it develops.

  • A movie's storyline is very important. If it is too complicated
    people will lose interest; likewise, if it is not complicated enough, people will also lose interest. That is why people want to know what the plot is about. So say you are doing a review.

  • For example, we will use I Know What You Did Last Summer. People want to know what the plot is, so you are going to tell them. In this case, the plot is about four close friends who accidentally kill a man. At least they think they killed him. A year later someone finds out what they did "last summer" and is going to make them pay.

  • Characters can make or break a movie. If there is someone famous or well-known in a movie people will most likely go see it. For example, Scream 2 starring Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courtney Cox will probably be a hit just because of the characters. That is why people want to know who is in the film. If a movie starring unknown characters came out, who would want to see it? (Well, some may!) It is very easy to get the names of the characters in a movie. After the movie is over you can copy their names from the credits.
    Last but not least is the critic's opinion of the movie. This is probably the most important part of the review. People want to know whether or not the movie is worth seeing, and that's what the critic ends the review with.

  • To do this go back to your notes. Ask yourself the following:
    1. Does the movie keep your attention? (This is where the plot comes
    2. Give your opinion about the acting. Was it good or bad?
    3. How was the action or special effects?
    4. Would you see the film again?

  • You could probably ask more questions; however, you don't want to get too complicated. These questions, your notes and your opinion are all you need to make a movie review.


Example of a Movie Review

Review Date: September 27, 1998

Director: Michael Caton-Jones

Writer: Chuck Pfarrer

Producers: Sean Daniel, James Jacks and Kevin Jarre

Bruce Willis as The Jackal
Richard Gere as Declan Mulqueen
Sidney Poitier as Preston

Genre: Thriller


The Russian mob hires the Jackal to assassinate someone high up the U.S. political ranks. The FBI and Russian police work together to identify, find and arrest the Jackal, but come up empty. With few alternatives remaining, they recruit help from a jailed Irish terrorist who has already seen and met the Jackal. This is when the international chase begins.

Overlong, action-less, semi-interesting but mostly boring so-called "thriller" which showcases some solid acting performances by Poitier and Gere, but does very little else to keep the audience awake. I have not seen the original movie upon which this movie was based, but word on the street is that it is one of the best thrillers ever! This film on the other hand, has very few thrills in it, a couple of small scenes of action, and sprinkles of intrigue. It's basically just a chase movie that reminded me a lot of THE SAINT (7/10), with all of the clever costume changes, and THE PEACEMAKER (4/10), with its cat-and-mouse hunt around the world.

I was pleasantly surprised to find Richard Gere finally stretching his acting abilities by actually playing a character other than a rich, smug guy in a nice suit! I also liked his Irish accent and his ever-popular salt-and-pepper hair. Sidney Poitier also lent some much needed credibility to this project, and pulled off a strong performance as the FBI agent struggling to find the Jackal. Willis didn't do much, but it wasn't really his fault, since the script didn't really call for him to do much more than switch disguises every now and again (Oh yeah, and he also got his Canadian accent down pat, by adding an "aye" at the end of his sentences.)

Despite all of these negative points, and the film lasting about thirty minutes past its welcome, I wasn't totally bored at any point, and did like the international aspect of the plot. I also dug the fact that the final scene of the movie was shot in the exact Metro station that I used to stand in every day of my life for three years during my years of College. Ahhhh yes...the sweet, sweet memories. But enough about me! The bottom line is that this thriller does not provide many thrills or suspense, but does offer a semi-interesting plot and some decent performances from Poitier and Gere. Having said that, if you want to see a better Jackal movie, toss some coins the way of THE ASSIGNMENT (7/10), and have yourself a good time!

Bruce Willis plays the Jackal, the killer hired for $70 million (about the cost of this botched thriller) to assassinate a government bigwig-- hint, the target is considered more influential than Bill. The Jackal is a master of disguise, which is pretty funny since Willis in wigs, fake noses and facial hair of assorted colors looks always like Willis. This makes the FBI honcho (Sidney Pointer) and Russian officer (Diane Venora) on his trail appear dim. You want to shout, "He's the one who looks like Bruce Willis!"

Director Michael Caton-JonesRob Roy overcompensates by upping the violence on a movie that its makers insist is not a remake of the 1973 Fred Zinnemann film The Day of the Jackal. I agree. That Jackal , based on Frederick Forsyth's novel about a plot to kill Charles de Gaulle, delivered decent suspense. It didn't deliver an absurd hero to take on the Jackal in the person of a Belfast sharpshooter, played by Richard Gere with an accent that apes the pint-o-Guinness blarney Brad Pitt pulled in The Devil's Own. It didn't deliver a tasteless scene in which the Jackal, now bottle blond like Pitt in Seven Years in Tibet, picks up a gay D.C. wonk (Stephen Spinella) and plants a wet one on him before he wastes him. Nothing like unrelieved gore and gay bashing to separate trash from class.

Rolling Stone Magazine
December 11, 1997
Page 85