Literary Review of Dead Poet’s Society
One of the 20th centuries most compelling and best films goes by the title Dead Poets Society. This movie is set at the Helton Academy for Boys in 1959. The movie focuses in on a small group of boys. They have been sent to this preparatory school, most against their will, and have been forced to conform. However, they come across an English professor, Mr. Keating, whose lesson plan contradicts the entire schools mentality. He taught that to conform was to die. Carpe Diem – seize the day. He taught the boys to march to the beat of their own drummer, to suck the marrow out of life, but above all never conform. They didn’t. The students reformed the Dead Poet’s Society. For this they were punished. None of the boys suffered from their nonconformity more than their leader Neil. He joined a play without his father’s consent. His father told him that he would be going to a military school and would never be in the theatre again. Thus, Neil felt he would rather die. Hence, he committed suicide. As Mr. Keating left the boys all stood and addressed him one last time as “O’ captain. My captain.” This movie is perhaps one of the greatest movies of all time.
I view this as one of the few truly great movies of all time. I say this because it carries all of the basic cinematic elements that compose a great film. These elements begin with the characters. You can hardly expect to enjoy a movie if the characters are not believable. In this particular movie the characters were not only believable but you could identify yourself a little in one or all of the characters. One thing that can have an unfortunate detraction from even a good movie is anachronisms. The only one I found was a halogen bulb in a light fixture. However, I doubt anyone would notice were they not looking for one. This movie can be enjoyed by even the most mentally devoid of audiences. The reason for this is that most people do not like being bossed around or forced to do anything. It did make me think about how little freedom we actually have in life and how we all need to live just a little bit more.
After considering the aforementioned traits of Dead Poet’s Society, one can only wonder why someone would argue that this was not one of the greatest movies of all time. The best part of the movie was perhaps not any one particular scene but the character Mr. Keating. This movie was good enough that it did not rely on the current eye candy, that is special effects, to carry the movie. Today we see to many special effects yet a surprising lack of plot. This movie makes you think so; you need to be slightly smarter than the clothes you are wearing. If you meet that criterion, you will love this movie.