Deep Focus Review (DFR) was launched in 2007.
As many of you undoubtedly know, a “deep focus” in filmmaking creates a substantial depth of field by presenting the fore, middle, and background of the image in sharp clarity. I try to do something similar when writing about a film. Nearly every review or appreciation on DFR will contain some measure of extratextual information about a film’s pre- and post-production, its makers, the onscreen talent, or its relevant place in history. This is in addition to an analysis of what appears onscreen.
Some would argue that this approach is counter-intuitive to watching a film—that films should be watched for nothing else besides what we see before us. However, another philosophy of film, one I subscribe to, considers films, and indeed all art, to be multitextual. Factors such as the production, box-office performance, the auteur theory, or the culture in which the film was made can inform a critique or reading, layering it from beyond the screen.
Through DFR’s reviews and essays, I hope to stimulate critical thinking about films, and therein foster an increased appreciation for the art form in general. My objective is to enable readers to think about film as something more than just entertainment. To be sure, all films, whether they are a high or low example of the art, are also texts for aesthetics, history, politics, culture, humanity, and multiple other disciplines.
To properly analyze and thoroughly write about a film, I sometimes engage in spoilers. My reviews are more than just a star rating or a recommendation, and for that reason, I will often discuss films in detail. Very rarely will I discuss major particulars in a new release review; however, you will receive forewarning if I reference a plot twist. Elsewhere, The Definitives and Re(focused)views columns regularly summarize the complete story in detail, as those critical essays contain more comprehensive analyses on well-established films.
My objective is to do more than provide a recommendation; I hope to enhance your viewing experience. If someone discovers a great film because I have written about it, then I have done my job. If a budding movie fan visits DFR and starts to look at films from new and varied perspectives, then I have done my job. If a longtime cinéphile reads a critical essay in The Definitives or Re(focused)views about one of their favorite films, and I help them see it from a new direction, then I have done my job.
These are not modest ambitions for a semi-professional film critic and film historian, I realize; and admittedly, I sometimes fail to reach these lofty motivations when writing a review. Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy DFR and, after visiting, find that you think more about films and feel more engaged in your moviegoing experiences.
Thank you for your readership, and happy viewing!
Brian Eggert owns and operates Deep Focus Review. A longtime cinéphile, he earned his BA in 2006 from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where he studied Art History, Studies in Cinema & Media Culture, and Cultural Studies & Comparative Literature. Brian received a Master’s degree in Film Studies from Tiffin University, where he was the 2018 winner of the Award of Excellence in Graduate