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“The Boy With a Camera for a Face”: Review Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Jul 23rd, 2022

The film is entitled The Boy with a Camera for a Face and is directed by Spencer Brown. It was shot in 2013, and its genre can be described as comedy-drama, considering the hilarity of the premise and the grim nature of the main character’s life. The film explores such themes as discrimination through the young man’s unusual condition, capitalism, when the couple agreed to the reality show, media addiction, exemplified by the viewers, and self-sacrifice, evident from the ending. The work comments on the topical issues, which remain unchanged as the camera is replaced by the smartphone.

The film uses certain elements to emphasize its central themes. It employs eye-level close-ups to imitate how a person in a similar predicament would view the world, although middle shots are also common while showing the audience or external events. The transitions mainly consist of cuts, including cross-cuts and a match cut during the car scene, which intensify the situation (“The Boy with a Camera for a Face” 00:07:34-00:07:59). The director also uses the blur on the main character’s girlfriends to highlight their significance in his life. The music perfectly mirrors the action and the mood of the scenes, from calm to intense. The film has many cameras, which shows that people are accustomed to the device, yet they cannot accept it as one’s head, facilitating the theme of discrimination. The criticism of capitalism is evident when the couple sells their private life, garnering more ratings as time passes. The zombie-like viewers represent media addiction, which has even more forms nowadays owning to the Internet and platforms such as Instagram. Ultimately, the character has to sacrifice himself to save humanity, suggesting that he may not have a place after all.

The film has some interesting choices regarding its presentation of the subject matter. First of all, the characters do not speak, and the story is told by a narrator. He employs rhyming and irony, which make the plot rather dynamic. Analyzing the main character’s acting is difficult, as his face is hidden, but the cast performs adequately using non-verbal elements. It is not clear when the story unfolds, especially for a younger viewer unfamiliar with videocassettes, which may be both the film’s strength and weakness. On the one hand, the events are still relevant, as the explored themes apply to the 2020s. On the other hand, the film appears current in the atmosphere, so a journalist using a typewriter feels out of place. Still, the release year, 2013, can be linked with the rise of social media, so the director, perhaps, wanted to comment on its potential consequences or emphasize that history repeats itself. Overall, the creative choices help deliver the main themes, even if some viewers may struggle to perceive the time frame.

The Boy with a Camera for a Face offers a social commentary on such issues as discrimination, capitalist exploitation, media addiction, and self-sacrifice in relationships. The film’s elements, including camera angles, transitions, blur effects, narration, and acting facilitate its themes and contribute to the dynamic plot, which has all the necessary parts, such as a climax. My only criticism is that the setting is not clear, and certain scenes appear outdated in a relatively modern environment, although it may be considered an advantage due to emphasizing the subject matter’s timelessness. I would recommend the film to both the younger generation and older people, as they may find the work equally relatable, despite the age gap.

Work Cited

“The Boy with a Camera for a Face.” Vimeo, uploaded by Spencer Brown, 2016.

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""The Boy With a Camera for a Face": Review." IvyPanda, 23 July 2022, ivypanda.com/essays/the-boy-with-a-camera-for-a-face-review/.

1. IvyPanda. ""The Boy With a Camera for a Face": Review." July 23, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-boy-with-a-camera-for-a-face-review/.


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IvyPanda. ""The Boy With a Camera for a Face": Review." July 23, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-boy-with-a-camera-for-a-face-review/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. ""The Boy With a Camera for a Face": Review." July 23, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-boy-with-a-camera-for-a-face-review/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) '"The Boy With a Camera for a Face": Review'. 23 July.

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