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The Contender

             When I saw an excerpt of a review for The Contender (2000) on the DVD cover saying, "A first-rate thriller," I was surprised. Even though I had seen the movie at least four times before finally buying it; seeing it being described as a thriller didn't seem correct. I thought about the plot for a moment and quickly realized that of course it could be categorized as such. Which got me thinking about why my gut reaction said differently. I found that I didn't love this movie because it "thrilled" me in the sense that it kept me on the edge of my seat or the plot had more twists than a political campaign speech but that I love this movie because it comforts me. That seems a bit of an insignificant and dull reason to watch a movie over and over again, so perhaps I should elaborate and say that I reach a cinematic nirvana while watching The Contender--I am able to harness my movie chi-I become one with the screen.
             The vivid imagery and cinematography of the film is what I find so blissful. When I started to learn about the anatomy of a movie, I believed that cinematography was merely frosting on the cake-what made a film "pretty." The lighting, colors, and framing is not only what makes The Contender look good; it is what makes The Contender, period. I can not confidently give full credit to either the director, Rod Lurie, or cinematographer Denis Maloney for the film's visual achievement because you never can tell who had a larger hand in a movie's photography, so I will give them equal applause.
             The lighting of this film is very soft and unobtrusive that has an inviting quality to it. It illuminates the characters and sets with a simple grace that is rare within Hollywood cinema today. The colors are bold and beautiful and attract the eye to consume every detail within the frame. .
             I've also noticed that the cinematography shies away from commentating on the subject matter of the movie.

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