The inspector tells the father that the colored do not have the same sense of family as the whites do. The story simultaneously shows how white people like Evelyn Nesbit use wedlock merely to improve their wealth and status. The main intention is to show that there are good and generous people like the mother and father as well as mean people like the firehouse chief among the white people. It's the same with the colored; there are people who respond violently, like Coalhouse Walker and there are peace loving people like Mr. Booker T Washington.
a) Narrative - The plot structure is chronological without any flash back scenes. The interesting part is that four interconnected stories are running simultaneously and due to the systematic and chronological order of scenes, at no point one feels disconnected with any of the four stories.
b) Acting - The performance of all the actors, including those with the smallest of roles, is outstanding. However, the performance of Howard E Rollins Jr. (as Coalhouse Walker Jr.) and Elizabeth McGovern (as Evelyn Nesbit) is exceptionally remarkable. The most appealing factor in Howard's performance is his fluency in dialogue delivery. Also, there is a kind of innocence and earnestness in his performance. Some of the scenes in which his immense talent can be seen are the ones in which the firemen block his way and when he expresses his emotions to Mr. Washington and also undoubtedly the concluding scene just before his surrender. By watching Elizabeth's act, it seems like she knew exactly what was expected of her for this role; it is as though she personally knew the character she was playing. She has neither underplayed nor overplayed her role. It is evident that she does not need a dialogue to make an impact. For instance, the way she expresses "couldn't care less" attitude when her husband is speaking about bringing down her nude statue and also the way she shows her disinterest in what Baron Ashkenazy is speaking is notable. Yet another actor worthy of praise is Kenneth McMillan (as the firehouse chief, Willie Conklin). The performance is so good that one is likely to hate the very sight of the character he plays.
The characters in the film maintain their basic characteristics throughout the film. The only character that changes is that of the Father's. The father, at the beginning is very indifferent towards Coalhouse, but as the film proceeds, he becomes more sympathetic and finally goes to the extent of risking his life to prove Coalhouse harmless.
c) Cinematography - By observing the photography and the lighting, it seems as though great care has been taken to make the movie look very real, as if it's happening right in front of the audience and not on the screen. In the outdoor scenes, the lighting looks very natural and in the indoor scenes, the key light is on the face of the character without placing emphasis on the background.
d) Editing - The pace of the film is constant throughout. The constant pace maintained even after Coalhouse and friends taking over the library has helped enhance the suspense. No transition effects have been used, yet