Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Beyond setup and payoff

with one comment

Shane Black

I do think the challenge, in a way for me, is to write a narrative film and when you finish watching it you feel like it’s a collage. You tell the narrative, you tell the story, but you feel like you’ve created this tapestry. But it also has a shape, a story. So I think there’s a middle ground that I try to strike…It’s certainly in that direction—and away from where everyone else seems ready to go, which is, setup, payoff. You know, He’s afraid of water, oh, and at the end he’s swimming in water—oh, my God. I hate that stuff…

The worst of the action films are the ones where everything is one shout from beginning to finish. And there’s no differentiation between beats, like small or big, or quiet or expansive. It’s all just one loud shout. And by the end, the audience has been beaten in the face so many times, you could blow up the Taj Mahal and they’d go, “Okay, that’s nice.” Because they’ve seen so much. They’re just dead. We’re in a culture where people want to be deafened, apparently…And that’s what I don’t like. But my films are bombastic enough.

Shane Black, to the New York Times

Written by nevalalee

January 23, 2016 at 7:30 am

One Response

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  1. I couldn’t agree more. Trying to find a really great movie on Netflix, type in Action Adventure and what do you get?? Bang bang shoot shoot, great big guns, lots of noise. I did find a GREAT movie on Netflix the other night, Big Game. Wonderful stuff. Engaged the heart, the mind, the hope, the fear, everything and best of all, the role played as President of the U.S. actually really worked this time…so well played.


    January 23, 2016 at 9:20 am

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