What Makes Great Cinema

The motion picture has taken many steps back from the greatness of its past, but nevertheless that greatness can be achieved once more with the adherence to the elements that follow.

No aspect of great film is more or less important than the next, but great film begins, simply enough, with a great script. Dialogue, and how it is delivered, is critical to any audience being able to engross themselves within the story that unfolds. If the audience can become emotionally attached to a character, whether that character be good or evil, then the film has achieved its primary goal of intellectual entertainment.

The ability of a motion picture to encompass and compliment visually that which is being supported with language is also a primary goal of any filmmaker. Cinematography is paramount to a movies enjoyment and believability, whether it be the city of Atlanta in “Gone With the Wind”, or a claustrophobic cell of “Silence of the Lambs”, or the shores of Normandy during a WWII film, representing a story visually is as important as representing that story with a great script.

A director is critical if his vision of the film being produced can be represented accurately and passionately with the tools at hand. Choose the wrong director, and it would be as if a square peg were being jammed into a round hole: disastrous and destructive.

Interestingly enough, the choice of actors and actresses works towards getting the public into a theatre, but only their superior ability to act keeps them hyptnotized to what is being said and seen. Indeed, if a director chooses a star to entice viewers to come and see what he has created, sprinkling that same film with hungry, lesser-known actors and actresses would be equal parts brilliant and savvy.

To a lesser extent, but equally important, would be the soundtrack and the non-diegetic music placed over the entire film. Music is a tremendous vehicle when wielded properly, and works more towards passionate acceptance of what an audience sees and hears.

All these elements work together and in tandem to produce not only good film, but great film. And one last piece for the studios in Hollywood and around the world: Make a great film, and the financial side of this equation will take care of itself. Rarely does a great film go so unnoticed that all who have invested in it may turn a profit, both financially and creatively.