A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
If there was a film that demonstrated Robin Williams’ acting abilities for both a comedic and dramatical role, it would “Dead Poets Society”; a picture that explores rebellion, pride, discovery, tragedy and unity across a magical and inspiring journey, lead by John Keating, a uniquely impassioned English teacher.
Set in a highly traditional, prestigious American college, “Dead Poets Society” focuses on a select group of students that become increasingly fascinated by their new English teacher, John Keating (Williams).
Keating’s teaching methodology is unconventional and highly untraditional, and thus, it generates excitement and curiosity amongst the students. Growing fonder and fonder with Keating, a small group inquire about his past after coming across a book, and it is from there that their lives change forever.
Keating proves to be more than just a teacher of poetry to these young men and as a result, they grow to be eternally grateful.
In a review of “Dead Poets Society” back in 1989, Roger Ebert stated that the film was “nothing we haven’t seen before”. This may be true; the story is relatively old, and the plot progression appears to be formulaic at times, but what is special about “Dead Poets Society” is it’s emotional punch that is more or less like a round of boxing.
It starts off safe, tapping and prodding and then it begins to gather energy, crescendoing up before a final knock-out blow that hits the audience hard, harder than any other time in the film. It works brilliantly and effectively to say the least.
The performance of Williams is once again superb. Sympathetic, inspiring and marvellous, Williams shines in yet another of his starring roles.
Although there are significant chunks throughout the picture that spark a focal shift away from Keating, Williams remains the standout performer, even though his students occupy the lion’s share of screen time.
There are some familiar faces in the mix as well. A young Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard and Josh Charles make up some of the curios and eager students, all the while giving solid and heartbreaking performances.
“Dead Poets Society”is somewhat unoriginal, but it is crafted in a highly commendable way. With solid foundations being a good script and incredibly connectable character performances, the film is very, very inspiring. Carpe diem!