Codes and Conventions of Film
The purpose of a film review is to
advocate movies going public and let
audiences know what's good out there.
Empire: The Master
Description of the image.
Main image dominating the page, a still screen shot or image taken from the film –directly from an in-film shot.
The purpose of using an image is varied; to identify a famous actor as a protagonist, to give an overview of the
tone of the film or even just provide a teaser, essentially the purpose is to entice the audience into finding the
Name of the
The title of the
film as a main
Typically the title
is not in bright
wants the page
to be simple and
easier to read
from not just a
long distance –
also there is a
there is no need
colours to entice
about the film
The rating system will be ranked as number out of 10, or 5, as this is the simplest convention and is easy for the
audience to understand. Empire for examples uses star ratings out of 5 stars. The importance of the rating is
underlined in the trust and respect the audience has for the reviewer, while a high review will attract an audience
just as easily as an extremely low one.
• The main feature of the review is a massive picture dominating the page
and taking up most of the A3 spread. It is of the protagonist, Freddie
Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) alone on a beach suggesting his struggle to adjust
to the society as a World War II veteran. There is also a secondary image
showing him with other two characters (Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy
Adams). The main purpose of both images is to attract the audience and
to encourage them to read the article. The images also give the audience a
greater knowledge of the genre of the film which in this case is drama.
• The name of the film is in bold and capitals and it clearly shows what the
article is about. The film review also has further details of the film such as
the release date, certificate, director, cast, running time and plot. As a
result of this the audience can decide whether they want to continue
reading the review just by reading the first few lines.
• Below there is the main article where the text is of the same font through
out the article except for the title. The two page article ends with the
writers verdict of the film and gives it a star rating.
Tagline for the review.
Total Film: Rush
utilise a caption to
describe the context of
an image within the
film. The purpose of
this can merely be
interaction with the
sometimes it can
provide depth and
context which will
audience to read the
Image giving further
details about the film.
The title of the magazine review is often depicted in high-profile magazines or exclusives.
Essentially the title is the banner to attract the audience, as the reader relates the title to
that of a film reviewer . ‘Total Film’, ‘Empire’ or ‘Sight & Sound’ are renowned for their
reviews and many will simply choose these names before any others.
Information about other films
similar to this one which might
influence your choice. (See this
if you liked...)
Quotes, either from
the film itself or from
interviews form a
A quote from the
film will engage the
audience in an active
interaction with the
film before even
watching it. As well
as this, a quote from
an interview gives
the audience depth
and context to the
reality of the actors
or director, which
the audience can
Important details about the film including
release date, certificate, director, cast,
running time and plot.
• It has many of the features that the other review had but has a different
layout and some of the features are different because of the different
publisher. The main image still dominates the article but takes up one A4
page unlike the other two which spreads across two A4 pages. This article
uses a graph to express a review of all the different stages/chapters of the
film which is good because it shows how detailed the review is.
• Just as with the review in the ‘Empire’ magazine the name of the film is in
bold and capitals followed by a tagline and the main article which is meant
to give the reader a greater knowledge of what the film is about.
• The image doesn't overlap the text however the text boxes overlap onto
the image. The text used is of a consistent font and size accept from the
title of the film which is in a larger font. Furthermore the text is in the
same colour throughout the article. The only acceptation to this rule is the
dropped capital under the title however this fits with the layout and
design of the page.
Sight & Sound: Blue Jasmine
The main body of the
review page is often
the review itself,
which consists of
which create it. The
in-depth analysis is
just one, albeit large
aspect of the review,
which the majority of
the time takes up a
large portion of the
page or a whole page
in a double page
spread. Often the
analysis will piece
together the positive
and negative aspects
of the film while
attempting to add
human feeling to it
Colours of the page (tone – black and white often connotes a dull sense, while
colours spark up an interest) however sometime the content is more important
than the house style in serious magazines which cater for specific audiences.
taken from the
No verdict leaving it
up to the audience to
make up their own
minds about going to
see that film at the
Witty description or
quote for the
In many high-budget films, a major selling point is the inclusion of famous
‘Hollywood Actors’ and Directors, who have in the past featured in popular
films. Review pages will often pick up on this, depicting an image of the actors
as a screen shot or including them in a headline next to the title of the film
which increases the interest of the audience massively.
The plot of the film is
any ‘spoilers’ to give a
brief overview of the
film, so as to entice
the audience into
watching it. Most of
the time the plot is
written as briefly as
possible, giving the
developments of the
film or what has
already been revealed
on trailers and
• The review usually is of an A3 spread and a large part of it is
dominated by images which are arranged in a linear
manner with a border around the images. The primary
image informs the audience that the film may be of a
drama genre because Cate Blanchett’s character Jasmine
seems to be drowning her sorrows in alcohol.
• The main article has highlighted quotes from it which are
inserted to entice readers to actually read the review.
• The reviews have very different layouts, however despite
their appearance their content in terms of conventions,
such as the dominating image, look closer box and basic
information box, are very similar.
•In most film review pages, there is large use of images from the film. The
images give the reader a sense of the genre of the film showing key events
from the film. Furthermore the text is the same colour throughout the article.
Some review pages also have a highlighted quote from the text by changing
the colour and font size. You can find small amounts of text added to the top
hand right corner of the images explaining what they are showing. Overall
codes and conventions of film review pages are easy to spot and aren’t often
broken by magazine publishers without an explainable reason.
• These reviews are what I will use as a template for content and layout when
I come to create my own film review. I believe that my magazine review
should include many features including a main image, maybe a secondary
image (but not necessary), an overall rating of the film, a clear title, tagline
and an overview of the film. My review will have to be quite detailed and take
up vast amounts of space on the double page spread in order to attract
readers and encourage them to read the review.