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Film Review – Far and Away Essay

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Updated: May 14th, 2020


The movie far and away is a rather interesting movie given its very first setting which is in Western Ireland where there are tenant farmers. These farmers live in abject poverty and leave behind little or nothing for their families to depend on.

In most cases, they owe most or even everything they own to these landlords to whom all the wealth go to. The element of storytelling has been brought out in a rather old fashioned way.

For instance there is part where Joseph has to run away with the rich landlord’s daughter Shannon. To be on the safe side they have to masquerade as sister and brother which they consequently end up living together.

On their journey to Oklahoma, there are very few surprises if any this is because the journey there was rather smooth. It is at this stage that the movie turns into a rather exciting western atmosphere which is during its Oklahoma scenes.

The movie has a very ambitious scope but the imaginations at work in these areas are very minimal. Both Shannon and Joseph have to struggle to make a living in this new country considering that the only valuables they had, had been robbed.

There are activities and jobs they take part in such as selling chicken for Shannon and later, Joseph has to take part in a horse race. After a whole, they fall in love and much later, Shannon gets sick and has to therefore be taken home to her people. Eventually, the main characters Shannon and Joseph reunite (Kelly, 1992).


The writer of the script seems to have thought through his characters. The choice he made of Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise was a perfect one given that these two characters have experience and more so have scooped a couple of awards before.

Therefore, the actors in this film can easily be identified and differentiated by the audience. This helped create a general interest and understanding of what was going on in the film.

This particular film has very good actors who have in a couple of scenes been required to be flexible enough to take risks. For instance where Joseph (Tom Cruise) has to take a ride on a horse that continuously bucks wildly but he does not seem scared as such given that it is not wise to ride on wild or even angry horses at any given time.

In another instance, the real horse that was wild is sedated by the veterinarian so that it lies still for the scene to take place as planned. What if the sedation does not last for as long as it should? Joseph however being the good actor manages to play his role admirably (Bordwell 2002, p 17).

In this epic movie in reference to Honthaner (2010), there are various famous actors that have brought out the theme in different ways (p.68). For instance, Nicole Kidman who acts as the wealthy landlord’s daughter shaman refines her skills even while on stage.

Even with the many years of film acting, she seems open-minded and ready to learn as much as she can. Epic films have not been a common occurrence in her acting career but she made an attempt and turned out to be real good.


The movie has an excellent cinematography. One of the most memorable chapters being the all-conclusive land race in Oklahoma which has brought out the beauty of not only the race but also the surroundings.

To be precise, it was fascinating to watch as the horses and carriages piled up while racing out of town for their bit of land. Also during the performance of the spectacular scene where the horse falls with the rider right on his back, the cinematography was really great.

The hill was that appeared to be steep was in real life flat. The technicians there for use the various camera tricks such as the angles to make the hill seem really steep.

The technical team seemed to be well equipped and adequately trained as well. It takes professionals to control the lighting and viewing of the different scenes as perfectly as this particular team did. There is no particular scene the audience wished the camera should have been closer. Hence this clarifies the perfection of the team’s work.


As one of the stages of the postproduction process, the editing in this film was well done. By editing the movie, the time taken was just adequate to take the audience on a romantic journey that takes place unexpectedly given the very much contrasting backgrounds of Joseph and Shannon.

The editing in this movie is really good since it links the different scenarios in a remarkable way (Honthaner 2010, p. 77) the audience is taken from Ireland where the whole adventure begins as Joseph tried to kill Christie whom he claimed tried to kill his father. The flow of the story continues as Shannon and Joseph run off to America and struggle to make ends meet after they had been robbed off their valuables.

Somehow, the two survive and fall in love but they eventually have to separate as Shannon falls sick. The film “far and away” seems to lean towards a particular angle, that is, it is edited in such a way that it attempts to send a particular message.

Given that the main characters are predominantly two, that is Shannon and Joseph who later on fall in love, this shows that love is a universal language the poor and the rich understand it. More so, love does not choose who should fall for whom so it happened that the poor man could fall in love with a lady from a well-off family. It is due to perfect editing as such that such elements have been brought out.


Far and away has a tremendous sounding from the start to the finish. There is god sound tracking that helps set the mood straight for the audience according to the setting.

For instance, during the period within which the two fell in love. In addition, when Joseph’s father died there was a rather gloomy sound track that emphasized on the sadness of the event as well as with the surroundings.

The sounding system has helped the audience to link the various scenes so as to make sense out of the whole movie. The background music provided in the different scenes not only provided the understanding to the author but it also provided rhythm and emotion. The sad areas were clearly brought out as well as the cheerful ones for instance during the race in the United States.

Style and Directing

Style in this film has been brought out in an optimistic and rather clear manner which is of course commendable. The director’s personal view has played a very huge role in the development of the function of personality in this movie.

His views on how the rich and the poor often conflict have been clearly illustrated. Give that style development requires a lot of self-awareness from the director’s side; this is exactly what we see in almost every scene. Every section of the film has its own theme, be it romance, death or competition (Striegel & Higgins 2000, p. 25).

Societal impact

Given that, Far and away is more of an epic movie, its societal impacts lean more towards the positive rather than the negative. For instance it illustrates how the Irish culture was back in the day where the poor and the rich could not mingle at any given time.

It also shows that the rich would surely exploit the poor to the extent of hurting them and still get away with it. For example being the killing of Joseph’s father, a poor man, by Christie an agent who worked for the rich landlord.

Given that there was no one else to turn to for justice; Joseph had to seek revenge by taking matters into his own hands. It was because of this that he and Shannon had to seek refuge elsewhere.

Most epical movies according to Striegel & Higgins (2000) are rather entertaining given the strong emotional captivation they have. The acting in these movies is usually done so well such that the audience ends up taking an emotional journey that the script writer prepared (p. 84).

Hence, this allows people to relax or rather break away from their day’s pressure of hard work. To add on to this, there are economic benefits that come with the making of films. For example, jobs are created; writers, actors and the rest of the crew get paid for their hard work.


Far and away being an epic movie that mainly focuses in historical drama has been outstandingly produced given that it requires panoramic setting which are very elaborate. For instance there was the use of both real and fake horses in the race scene.

In another setting there was the use of fake rats to symbolize some dead rats. All these are expensive to get so as to use as props but director Howard went out of his way to make sure that these scenes came out right and perfectly (Kelly, 1992).

Being an epical movie, it has been able to bring out the romantic dream worlds as it was back then. We can also see that the past is recreated by having the actors put on the “old fashioned” clothing, the system of governance is also old fashioned.

Film Critism and Analysis

Far and away was a rather captivating movie, to a point where most of the audience ends up forgetting they are in a movie theater. This of course is a good sign that most of the elements in the preparation of the movie were taken care of perfectly well.

There are quite a number of scenes in which the audience was move emotionally for instance during the killing of Joseph’s father, the robbery of Shannon’s valuables during their trip to America among others. During the horse race, one could feel the anxiety and for a moment be transferred way back into time and into the racecourse.

According to Kelly (1992) from the general viewing of the film we can tell that the script was geniusly written hence the good production not mentioning the outstanding actors.

Additionally, we can say that the technical merit of the film was above average in comparison to other top epic movies. The lighting was superb in a couple of scenes for instance during the race as well as during their escape over to the U.S.

Writing tips

Writing a movie is very important to any producer. This according to Honthaner (2010) is because it provides an avenue for him to organize himself, the crew and most importantly plot out the events in the entire movie.

Therefore, the writer of this particular movie had his thoughts spelt out clearly in every scene to create a smooth flow of events for his audience. Moreso, the writer of this movie far and away had his selected audience right from the start (p. 124).

The romantic, violent and the various traditional or rather historical settings gives the conclusion that this is an epic movie. A good story in any film or movie should not have holes. This means that there should be minimal or no logical inconsistencies. “Far and away has a moderately good flow of events.

The writer illustrates exactly the basis on which the two main characters Shannon and Joseph had to travel to the United States. It also explains the events that followed systematically hence satisfies the audience’s curiosity to a certain extent especially towards the end.


To sum it all up ‘Far and away’ was an outstanding epic movie. This though does not mean that it was perfectly done a few corrections and enhancements can be done. A few changes in the script could result to a more exciting and Interesting storyline considering that there was a sudden shift in scenes, which required utmost attention from the audience.

More so, the loopholes within the script end up confusing the audience; the poor man falls in love with the rich lady but they have to separate at some point over some petty reason such as Shannon was sick and had to be taken home.

Taking care of Shannon should have been the main and rightful responsibility of the Joseph if he truly loved her as he claimed. Otherwise, she could have gotten worse as she was being transported back to her indigenous community.

There lacks adequate style in this film, this is an area that should be focused on if and when an upgrade occurs. There are a good number of epic films which focus less on styles yet it is one of the most important elements in if this film is meant to stand out.

There were scenes though that did not really connect for instance the race and the struggle that Shannon and Joseph were going through did not really connect. In general though, the whole film was well above average given the good actors and technicians, it seems the teamwork and proper rehearsal led to the success of this film


Bordwell, D. (2002). Intensified Continuity: Visual style in contemporary American Film. Film Quarterly,55 (3), 16-58

Honthaner, L. (2010). The complete film Production handbook (4th ed.). Elsevier: Burlington.

Kelly, J. (1992). Far and away. Web.

Striegel, C. & Higgins,S. (2000). Movies for leaders: Management Lessons from four All-Time. New York: New media ventures

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