Project #85830 - Mystic River- What is the difference between a review and an academic or critical essay

The purpose of this assignment is to learn the difference between a review and an academic or critical essay. In the simplest terms, a review may appear in a magazine, a newspaper, a TV program, or a website and is usually written for an audience that has not seen the movie (or play or concert or exhibit) or read the book under discussion. A good movie review, then, will help you decide whether you want to see the movie, or will let you compare your own reactions to someone else's.

        A critical essay, on the other hand, often assumes you will have seen or read the work under discussion, and its purpose is more to interpret and discuss the meaning of the work in a broader context.

         1.  Read Roger Ebert's original review of the movie Mystic River, which you can find here. 

         2.  Read this abstract of a scholarly paper on the film (I'm not requiring you to read the full article): 

“Parables of Revenge and Masculinity in Clint Eastwood's Mystic River,” (abstract), by Roger Berkowitz and Drucilla Cornell. Law, Culture, and the Humanities, October 2005.

         This paper offers a reading of Clint Eastwood's film Mystic River. Mystic River differs from archetypal Hollywood revenge movies in one important way: the act of revenge kills the wrong man. Moreover, instead of abandoning its wayward avenger, the movie strives to defend or at least to understand the act of wrongful vengeance as the loving act of a kingly father. To explore the connection between trauma, masculinity, and revenge, the paper follows the stories of the film's three male protagonists. Dave is defeated by his boyhood trauma and never recovers. Jimmy, the film's avenger, forcefully resists the dehumanizing power of the loss of his daughter by taking revenge. Sean neither succumbs to trauma nor masters it. Instead, Sean –when confronted by his wife's silent departure and with the fact of Jimmy's vengeance –responds by admitting his vulnerability. An upright man struggling to balance his masculinity with the reality of his tragic limitations, Sean's willingness to accept his human finitude is set against Jimmy's rebellious insistence on his superhuman justice based on the prerogative of vengeance.

          Your assignment for this week is to compare these two kinds of writing about the same movie. How do the intended audiences seem different?  How is the style different?  Since the scholarly piece isn't designed to help us decided whether or not to see the movie, what is its point or central theme?

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Due By (Pacific Time) 10/08/2015 07:00 pm
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