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The Winslow Boy
by Matt Bynum

The Winslow Boy is rare modern film because of its use of an intelligent script and bonafide actors, and because it avoids using vulgarities and other modern day excesses

The movie The Winslow Boy (1999) is absolutely shocking! Shocking, because of its use of an intelligent script and bonafide actors. And it avoids the the use of vulgarities and excesses that are everpresent in most modern films.

The breadth of the film is enlarged by events that are suggested, rather than depicted. The film's climax involves a courtroom trial, but the trial itself is never shown. Political cartoons communicate the attitudes of the press and the public. There is the beginning of a romance, but no embrace - it is clear that the romance will continue to develop outside and beyond the actual end of the film.

Most modern films are ridden with cliches. So many times, the viewer already knows what will happen, and how each scene will be depicted. But this should not be. Film audiences of the early twentieth century often did not know what to expect, since they had seen very few films. But present day audiences have access to a wide variety of films, and they have developed an understanding of the language of film.

It would seem that modern day films should become more sophisticated, relying upon the conventions (i.e., vocabulary) that earlier films have already developed. But many modern films have relied more upon the "explicit" rather than the "implicit". For example, every viewer knows that, when a vehicle rolls off a cliff, the vehicle will bounce and flip a few times, and then finally burst into flames on its final impact (has this ever happened in the real world?)

But does this have to be? Instead of displaying the incident in gory (and overwrought) detail, the filmmaker could show the face of a bystander who witnesses the accident. Why not let the actor's face tell the story?

Which is why The Winslow Boy is so refreshing. No, it is much more than that, it is...an inspiration! A modern miracle! (Perhaps we are getting just a little bit carried away...) See The Winslow Boy website at http://www.sonypictures.com/classics/winslowboy/index.html.

Last updated: 12 April 2006
Updated by: Matt Bynum