Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Year One – Part Two


Okay, this is a continuation of our look at the Aronofsky / Miller collaboration of Batman: Year One.

Guys, I’d like to try something different.

Instead of lecturing, as I am want to do, I’m going to open the floor. I’d like to ask all of my BRILLIANT readers out there to tell me if there’s anything wrong with the two scenes below and how would you fix them, that is, if they need to be fixed at all.

To set up this first scene, a young Bruce Wayne (we don’t know how young, they never gave an age) almost got into a fight with Chi-Chi, a pimp who was roughing up one of his prostitutes named Selina. Just as Bruce is about to unleash hell, Selina mouths out “let it go,” and Bruce obediently walks away. We don’t know why yet, but he is living in an apartment above Al’s Garage, which is right across the street from the theater where these prostitutes work.

[One thing I'll mention - we never saw nor will see "BIG AL."]

1)


INT. AL'S GARAGE - MOMENTS LATER

YOUNG BRUCE KICKS open the door—

FLINGS groceries everywhere—

PUNCHES the plaster wall—

BRUCE (V.O.)
September 17. Father, it takes
everything I have just to contain
this fury. I can feel it in my
chest. It wants to ESCAPE. I'm
AFRAID of what I might do.

LITTLE AL is in the doorway.

LITTLE AL
What the hell's going in here. You
OK?

BRUCE
I'm fine.

BRUCE tries to push past LITTLE AL and out of the garage. But LITTLE AL grabs his wrist.

LITTLE AL
Bruce.

BRUCE
What do YOU want?

LITTLE AL
Don't you give me lip, boy. I know
what you're going through. You
can't hide it from me.

BRUCE
You don't know ANYTHING.

LITTLE AL
Come on. I've got something for
you.

LITTLE AL pushes aside a work bench, digs out a key and opens a dirty, disused door.

BRUCE
Your father's office?

LITTLE AL says nothing. The two men go inside—

INT. BIG AL'S OFFICE - DAY

It's like a tomb. Dusty, unused and preserved. LITTLE AL sits at the desk and starts opening drawers.

LITTLE AL
(without looking)
Sit down Bruce.

BRUCE sits on a dusty chair.

LITTLE AL finds what he's looking for, shoe-box. He turns to BRUCE

LITTLE AL
You know, Bruce, BIG AL worked HARD
to put me through med school. He
dreamed of giving me more than that
garage. But he NEVER said a WORD
after the war.

LITTLE AL
He understood what happens to a man
who's SEEN too much of this world's
evil. Do you know what I'm talking
about Bruce.

BRUCE nods.

LITTLE AL
When we found you out in the scrap
pile you were scared, more of a
wild animal than a boy, really. And
you had something with you, do you
remember that?

BRUCE says 'Yes' with his eyes.

LITTLE AL
(laughs)
You wouldn't let it go... Took BIG
AL three months to even get a look
at it. You cried for weeks when he
took it from you. He said you
weren't ready to have it. You
called it your INHERITANCE.

LITTLE AL puts a hand on BRUCE's shoulder.

LITTLE AL
When BIG AL was up in that
hospital, he asked me watch over
you, made me promise, and I have.
You're like my boy, Bruce.

LITTLE AL gives BRUCE's shoulder a squeeze.

LITTLE AL
But now you're scaring me. There's
something going on in your head,
and while I can't say I know
exactly what it is, I can tell you
this: A man has got to know who he
is before he can confront his
demons.

LITTLE AL open the shoe box and removes a smaller WOODEN BOX with a heavy brass latch

LITTLE AL
Maybe your INHERITANCE can help you
figure it out.



To set up this scene is to give away one of my complaints but we never saw this incident Gordon’s complaining about. Not to fear, though, because I have plenty of other complaints, too.

2)


INT. HARVEY DENT'S OFFICE - MORNING

GORDON bursts in, interrupting. It's becoming a pattern with these two.

DENT
What's up Jim. You look terrible.

GORDON
(paces the room)
My office was ransacked. They were
at my apartment too. Broke the
locks, tossed the place. They tried
to make it look like burglars but I
think it was Flass and his crew
looking for my file.

DENT
I'm not surprised, after that news
story, you're likely to be public
enemy number one to those guys. In
fact, that file MAY be only thing
keeping you alive at this point.

GORDON
Great, because they FOUND it and
they TOOK it.

DENT
Here sit down, have some coffee.
You got to get out of town,
disappear for a while.

GORDON
Right, I'll go up to a cabin in the
woods and die of multiple,
accidental hunting gunshot wounds
to the back.

DENT
Jesus, calm down Jim. Just take it
easy. There has to be something you
can do.

GORDON
Nope. It's business as usual for
me. I play the good soldier, stay
low and hunt for my BAT-MAN.

DENT
They don't want you to catch the
vigilante, they would give you some
manpower if they did. And when you
capture the guy, they're going to
crucify you on the news. This guy's
becoming a saint to some people.

GORDON
He's a terrorist, Harvey. A
DANGEROUS PSYCHOPATH. Who knows how
far he'll take his personal war on
crime.

DENT
Yeah, it's really scary to think
how far a guy will go to rid this
town of crime.

DENT meant that as a JAB but GORDON missed it.

So what are your thoughts about these two scenes?

Part Three on Friday.

25 comments:

Scott said...

The voiceover kills it for me in the first scene. I mean, it is completely unneccessary, especially when they show him losing control. I did not read much past that.

The second scene kinda reminded me of Dent and Gordon in THE DARK KNIGHT, but it was all off. Who is Flass? What file?

Mystery Man said...

Scott - SO annoying, right? I should've explained Flass and the file in that second scene. Thanks for bringing that up. Flass is a corrupt cop hell bent on taking out Gordon, and the file is Gordon's "Corruption Log" in which he, through voice over mind you, writes out all of his inner thoughts while also naming names of corrupt cops.

-MM

Anonymous said...

In the first scene, after that VO, for me the read became mirred down by the mention of Bruce's name a bunch of times by Little Al.

In second scene, even though it conveyed important info, the conversation was blah-blah bland.

Dzof said...

I really don't like the first scene. I think it's just too boring. Cut out half the words, make the tension about "what's in the box" from the very start, I think, would make it better.

Second scene I'm actually okay with. I don't really see anything too wrong with it, except maybe there's no question to the scene, nobody seems to be making a decision.

terraling said...

First thoughts are "enough,already!". I'm on a deadline so only have a moment so will skip the voice-over and on-the-nose dialogue complaints to say, the first scene in Big-Al's office could have worked dramatically if, instead of a load of expositional backstory pre-amble about the box before it is revealed, Little Al should have just sat Bruce down in the chair and without saying anything pulled out this mystery box and put it on the table. Let the box speak for itself, there would be scope for - more concise - exposition in the reaction.

James said...

Here's the thing...

Comic books are still closely related to the written word. All that VO stuff will be Captions in a comic book and it works very, very well.

Just putting that out there --

How ~~I~~ feel about the use of VO like this in screenplays is -- it doesn't work. I don't even think it works in SIN CITY or 300, which are both directly translating the Frank Miller captions into VO.

"The eerie poetic haunting description of how the tress move in the wind."

Yeah. No shit. We're watching them blow in the wind. Don't need to tell me that shit.

terraling said...

Dang you, Mystery Man! Okay, quick break then back to work.

Second scene: Gordon bursts in interrupting? Then Dent doesn't speak first.
Dent already knows what the file is etc., yes?
Then Gordon steams in:

GORDON: They got the file, I'm a fucking dead man.
DENT: Flass?
GORDON: Who the fuck else?! Turned over the office and my apartment, made it look like burglars, but the only thing missing is the file.
DENT: Ouch. There goes your life-support. You gonna have to lay low.
GORDON: Sure, hide out in the hunting lodge to be found face down in the dirt after an accidental rifle discharge - in my back...

etc. etc. etc.

Don't tell us stuff we already know (or we should have already seen already, eg the news story).

Did you say there's a part 3?!

Anonymous said...

I remember reading a draft of this (the one freely available on the web I suppose) and quite enjoyed it, so I remember who Flass is and what the file contains. Perhaps this has me innoculated against the confusion.
Reading it again with all those damned CAPS in the middle of dialogue... it just jars.
That last sentence about Gordon missing the jab just doesn't need to be there. It's subtext in Dent's final dialogue, for me.
Also, off the top of my head:
-what is Gordon interrupting?
-I understand the literal transplanting of the voiceover from the comics but it doesn't work but it doesn't need to be there. It's telling, not showing. I love the "twelve workable defenses from this position" line as much as anything in Year One, and I would have tried to work it in, but if it doesn't work, you can't just crack the thing open and shoe-horn it in.
-Personally I'm not sure we would definitely need to see the scene of Gordon's ransacked apartment, but I'm open to convincing. We don't actually see Dent and Rachel get kidnapped in The Dark Knight. We see them driven off and are then told they never got home. Is there a key difference I'm missing or do we feel that was a mis-step? I have to admit it did kind of jar to go from one situation to another with the only explanation a simple line of dialogue; "Harvey Dent never made it home."

terraling said...

Coffee break.

How about subvert things a little and skip the shouting etc. The second scene:

Dent stops dialling mid-number as Gordon enters unannounced, is about to blast him - but is dissuaded by his look.

White as a sheet, Gordon quietly lowers himself into the chair opposite.

DENT: You look like a ghost.

GORDON: Figures. I'm a dead man.

DENT: Oh yeah? Who gets the house?

Go fuck yourself.

DENT (cont'd): I'll settle for your watch. Look-

GORDON: They got the file.

DENT: Flass?

He whistles backward

DENT (cont'd): I hear Fisher and Sons do a nice line in caskets.

GORDON: Ransacked the apartment, made it look like a burglary.

DENT: And all that's missing is the file.

etc. etc.

Btw, I'm putting these up without knowing anything else about the script, just looking at the scenes in isolation.

PS: know how to format with fixed width font in comments?

Maltinghead said...

Reads like an early draft. You sure this is a legit script?


IN GENERAL:
- Appalling word emphasis and directing on the page: "What do YOU want?" and "(without looking)". What kind of name actor would work with a director who writes like that?

- Tennis Ball dialogue: You say a line, then I'll say a line, then you say a line, then I'll say a line, then you...

- 50% of the dialogue is redundant: "You ok?" "I'm fine" ...Sounds like a piss-take! I mean, he's trashing the frigging room!!! ...Don't these characters do non-verbal communication?
"Your father's office?": Who farted?

- 50% redundant action: Thank god they pointed out that "He turns to BRUCE". Otherwise a clueless actor or director might have had Little Al talking to the wall and the whole meaning of the dialogue would have changed. Phew. Close call.


SCENE ONE:
- A scene where a guy takes an angry man into another room and sits down to have a conversation...will play like shit. Any dialogue will be far more natural and intriguing if Little Al is in the midst of purposeful action during its delivery, in this case SEARCHING.

- Little Al tells 2 stories: 1 about his dad, 1 about Bruce's "inheritance" object. Only the 2nd is relevant. So, as terraling said, skip the shit (ie irrelevant backstory and unlocking the room of a guy we don't know about, care about, or even wonder about) and cut to the chase, straight to Little Al essentially handing him the small wooden box as he says his final 4 dialogue chunks condensed. The wooden box could actually be built up more by using the old key idea to get to it. ie It's hidden under lock and key in an old chest of drawers...

Bottom line: The story scene is about Little Al having an object that may help angry Bruce. So stick to the point, stupid. There's currently little logic to Little Al's reaction to Bruce's tantrum. The link will stink onscreen unless made clearer. Bruce's anger = time to give him the...


SCENE TWO:
- If it doesn't seem like a pattern with these two to the reader, it ain't a pattern, just like that tree that no one saw fall. And so what if it is a pattern anyhow? Blow me.

- "Paces the room": classic Grade 5 creative writing.

- What is it with telling angry guys to sit down in this script?!? I mean, don't get me wrong. I love nothing better than watching people sit and chat in $100 million action films, but...

- Far too much dialogue (quite aside from its stench and/or redundancy) and far too little "action".

- "Nope. It's business as usual for
me. I play the good soldier, stay
low and hunt for my BAT-MAN": WTF? So you burst in here and babble only to ultimately tell me that NOTHING is changing?!!! Appalling. Makes the entire break-in info irrelevant to the audience (at this point) because it doesn't cause something to happen storywise. Throwing a hissy fit isn't story unless it's related to the central plot thread. "Business as usual" isn't.

- "...but Gordon missed it": And so did the viewer, unless you can outline it in visual terms so IT CAN BE FRIGGIN' FILMED!!!

Bottom line: the scene is irrelevant and exists purely to plant the file. Cut it completely. Plant the file info elsewhere.


Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go look in the mirror and practice saying "Yes" with my eyes. :P

Garland-Waide said...

In scene one there's too much being said and not shown. They tell the story instead of showing it to us. Killing the any chance of a really good pay off. A better way to show the relation between Big Al and Little Al is a montage of dusty picture frames on the wall of Big Al before the war then sullen after the war with Little Al on his lap. Little Al walks to the desk, opens a drawer, gives Bruce the wooden box and Says: "Figure it out" walks by him leaving Bruce to open the box that leads him to the place where he was found. You tell the story in less time, get it moving forward and start setting Wayne up to confront his anger. Will it make him become Batman, hell no but it's a way to help Bruce on his way towards inner conflict and establish the pay off of what is his inheritance, to become Batman, find out who killed his father and why or that his father was a mob boss, who cares, anything to drive him. Too much dialogue, too little cinema.

Scene two, no inner conflict. File missing, great, but the scene feels loose, too much said. Gordon doesn't do anything to make me believe him.

There's a lot of great elements, the execution of it is another matter. The box is a great tool, so is the file. If someone stole your file with secrets in it which kept you alive you'd be doing something, not saying it, call your wife ask her if she's fine, call your lover ask her who she's with, leave a cryptic message about loving them and doing your best for them while on your way to being the perfect little soldier. Or at least that's my opinion.

GabbaGoo said...

Scene One.

I agree that the VO in the beginning is needless, but maybe keeping the journal is important to Young Bruce...they could have handled it better.

Did they give the ages of Lil Al or Big Al?

Lil Al- Come On, I got Something for You
Bruce - Your Father's Office?

Heh, One line I liked. Or I guess it would be two.

For a disused office, he sure knew where that shoebox was awfully fast. Maybe I'm being a little to critical, he probably did know where it was.

I Take It we didn't see no, med school, war, hospital. Maybe they showed the hospital in the beginning...right?

Ah, There we are, that's how he knew where the shoe box was at...still I wouldn't had some dialogue that said "Where is the Blasted ol thing."

I maybe would have reworked it, and swiped the "INHERITANCE" when he was in the hospital and have Bruce crying then and there...and basically be paralyzed to do anything at that point...hell if he wants to fight for it back, have Lil Al hold him down.

Scene 2

"It's becoming a pattern with these two."

Probably is, do I need that in my action?

Did they show Flass and his Goons break into Gordon's Apartment. Maybe have them talking in an office, and do a little V.O while we actually see this occurring.

I don't know, I'm rather too tired to read this right now, I'll try to see what other errors there are later.

peter said...

First scene:

V.O. was redundant. We saw him flip out, there's no need to explain it.

Dialogue as emphasis in CAPS is annoying. People just don't speak that way.

Why all the CAPS for every name? All the time? Every time?

Second scene:

All exposition. Tells us everything.

Gordon says his thing. Stops.

Dent says his thing. Stops.

Now back to Gordon. Tells us why he can't leave town. Stops.

Dent's turn to speak. Stops.

There were two people in this scene, not talking to each other, but to an imaginary audience that "have to know the stakes of Flass finding the file."

Tells us Gordon didn't get the "JAB" instead of showing it:

Gordon frowns at Dent.

DENT
(off Gordon's look)
Get the pickle outta your ass, Gordon.

Or... whatever... just something instead of lazily telling us Gordon didn't get his joke.

Crumbs said...

OK, so I know very little about Bruce Wayne and Batman but I'll give this a shot. I'll write the characters like they were in Dark Knight (or try to, anyways).


Here's the first thing I would change: that Bruce Wayne actually fights the pimp, gets the snot beaten out of him, and walks home defeated.

I have no idea who Little Al is, but from the sound of it he seems like a tough guy with a little heart. I later changed that when I realised he was a doctor and not a mechanic, which would immediately change his relationship with Bruce (or, more specifically, Bruce's relationship with him), so there might be a slight bump in flow (I haven't had time to re-write). So here goes, the corniest script ever.


INT. AL'S GARAGE - MOMENTS LATER

YOUNG BRUCE WAYNE opens the door, takes off his coat and just drops the grocery bags he's holding on the tabletop, then looks over his shoulder with a sigh. He stands there contemplating his home; he mentally compares it to his old home at Wayne Manor, and then suddenly grabs a piece of fruit from his bag, throws at at the wall in anger, throws another and tries to throw the entire bag but half of the contents slip out, shakes the grocery bag off his hands. He kicks at the groceries but is clumsy enough to only hit some of them with the side of his foot. He steps on one by accident, kicks a low kick into the air to throw it off the bottom of his show.

He then suddenly just screams in anger and punhes the wall. He hits the wall, again and again and again, still screaming, then just as suddenly he stops and begins sobbing, saying "No."

LITTLE AL rushes in, annoyed.

LITTLE AL:
What the HELL is going on? Bruce! You're waking up half the neighbourhood, what are you doing?

BRUCE doesn't immediately answer, but catches his breath and tries to swallow.

BRUCE:
It's nothing. Sorry. Night Al.

LITTLE AL is looking around the room, and then nods to himself.

BRUCE:
Sorry for waking you up.

LITTLE AL walks in; he takes out a key from his pocket.

LITTLE AL:
Come on. I wanna show you something.

BRUCE stands rooted in place, unsure.

LITTLE AL:
Come on...just come on!

LITTLE AL walks into the far end of the garage and sticks a key in a door.

LITTLE AL:
So, I don't come in here very often anymore. It's not really very clean --

He opens the door.

LITTLE AL:
But welcome to my father's office.

BRUCE says nothing, but just looks around.

LITTLE AL goes inside—

LITTLE AL:
You can come in.

BRUCE slowly walks in.

INT. BIG AL'S OFFICE - DAY

It's like a tomb. Dusty, unused and preserved. LITTLE AL sits at the desk and starts opening drawers, finds what he's looking for, which is a shoe-box. He turns to BRUCE

LITTLE AL:
A good thirty years ago my father went to the war. I wasn't born yet at the time but by all accounts he came back a different man, know what I mean? He'd work night and day before the war, just so his future son could go through medical school. But after he went...well...a man can only take so much evil, I suppose. You understand what I mean?


BRUCE says nothing.


LITTLE AL
When we found you out in the scrap
pile...something clicked about you for dad. You were more of a
wild animal than a boy, really. He took pity on you, so he took you in. He locked your belongings in a drawer, here, said he'd return them when it was time. This seems like a good time as any, I think, so.

He hands BRUCE the package. BRUCE contemplates it solemnly.

LITTLE AL:
You kept calling it your inheritance.
(laughs)
I remember when dad tried taking it from you the first time. You wouldn't let it go. Looked like a wild animal, how are ya, you fought like one. Took us three months to even get a look at it. You cried for weeks when he took it from you. But he thought it was best.

LITTLE AL puts a hand on BRUCE's shoulder.

LITTLE AL:
When Big Al was dying, he asked me watch over you. I have. I've tried to love you like a father, even though you never let me. I loved you all the same, though.

LITTLE AL gives BRUCE's shoulder a squeeze.

LITTLE AL:
But now you're scaring me, Bruce. I've been watching you hatch this little idea in your head for the past six years, and it scares me. You never told us how you ended-up in that pile, and I can't help that. And I can't help you overcome your demons, not if you don't want me to.

He releases BRUCE's shoulder.

LITTLE AL:
But maybe your inheritance can.

BRUCE opens the shoe box and removes a smaller WOODEN BOX with a heavy brass latch in it.

LITTLE AL gives bruce the key to the door.

LITTLE AL:
I'm going back to bed. Don't forget to lock-up when you're done.

Crumbs said...

Ugh...reading this a few hours later, I find it really, really terrible. Who talks like that?

I'd tried not putting in a lot of punctuation, assuming the delivery is for the actors...but...fuck me, it's bad.

Wey said...

I don't mind the V.O. but if we weren't to use the V.O then perhaps this could have been used:


INT. AL'S GARAGE - MOMENTS LATER

YOUNG BRUCE KICKS open the door—

FLINGS groceries everywhere—

PUNCHES the plaster wall—

He catches a glimpse of his LATE FATHER IN PICTURE FRAME on his shelf. He shows RESTRAINT.

(BEAT)

His HANDS clutch his head and he SINKS down to the floor and BREATHES DEEPLY.

LITTLE AL is in the doorway.

peter said...

p.s.

How do you say "yes" with your eyes?

A nod of the head doesn't suffice...?

Lisa said...

Well - I feel like a little kid after reading these two scenes. I was just spoon fed - a ton.

We do need to see Gordon's trashed apartment. Sure, this can be compared to Rachel and Dent's kidnapping in The Dark Knight, we don't see that, but it's a little different. In The Dark Knight, the audience finds out about Rachel and Dent's kidnapping when Batman (Bruce) does. This is horrifying. We feel what Batman feels. If we saw the kidnappings, I don't think it would have had the same effect. Plus, it's revealed with sharp, quick dialogue: "Harvey Dent never made it home." Chilling. Now compare that to Gordon going on and on about the apartment, what's missing, blah dee blah. Just a thought.

Another thing about Scene 2:

(DENT: What's up Jim. You look terrible.)

Ick. Show us how awful Gordon looks, then change the dialogue to: "Jesus Jim, what happened to you?" Or something like that.

Just a few humble observations.

Anonymous said...

Lisa, I see your point and agree. I guess the equivalent scene to the Dent/Rachel revelation would be Gordon walking in on his ravaged home; we feel what he feels and we know that he's not only been violated, he's essentially a dead man.

peter said...

Cont'd on what Anon says about Gordon walking into his trashed apartment:

Gordon rushes into his closet. Pulls away some old carpet.

A gaping hole stares back at him.

Face sweats. Breathes heavy. Gordon drops to his knees.

He reaches in the hole, his arm searches for something...

Gordon's movements come to an end.

He slowly pulls his arm back up. Sits there. Chin drops to his chest. Closes his eyes... Dead still...

Christian M. Howell said...

Sounds like the average comic book. I'm amazed now that it still works....in comic books.

For film, I'd hack it to pieces. Like so.






FADE IN:



INT. AL'S GARAGE - CONTINUOUS

The door flies inward. Bruce strides angrily to the table,
slams the groceries, kicks a chair aside.

BRUCE
CRRRRAAAPPPP!

He plops into the chair, stares at the groceries spilling to
the floor. Behind him a figure appears in the doorway.

LITTLE AL
What the hell?

BRUCE
No. I'm losing it.

LITTLE AL
Hey, just calm down. Talk to me.

BRUCE
I don't think you want to know.

LITTLE AL
Of course I do. You wouldn't be
here if I didn't.

BRUCE
Hell, I don't even want to know.

LITTLE AL
And...

BRUCE
It's this city. I walk down the
street, read the newspaper, I feel
like I'm gonna snap.

LITTLE AL
Hey you're a long way from where
Dad found you. He worked hard to
keep me sane just like I wanna do
for you. Tell you what. Follow me.

They leave the kitchen and heads towards the downstairs

OFFICE

where Little Al sits him down, wipes dust from a desk across
from him. He rifles through a drawer, produces a small box.

LITTLE AL
Dad changed a lot after the war.
Maybe he saw too much. Either way
he still cared. I promised I'd look
after you. Remember this?

He tosses the box to Bruce.

LITTLE AL
Took us two weeks to pry it from
your hands. Maybe it'll help.



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Final Draft HTML doesn't load.

JustBill said...

Haven't seen the movie (and won't, no doubt).

A whole lotta banal dialogue, uneven tone and mood (sudden shifts in character attitudes), painful cliches.

Wouldn't be hard to improve it with a rewrite, but what's in it for a pointless gesture? Who decided to shoot this version? There's your problem.

Mystery Man said...

I apologize for my delay in following up here. These were all great comments, I must say! Every time a comment is posted, I get an e-mail, and I read them all (usually on my phone as I'm on the go). Everyone covered so many great points. I really loved the discussion here.

Let me share the things that bugged the shit out of me in those two scenes.

1 - It's full of WAY too much talk, especially for a Batman movie. All this talks could potentially send this scene dangerously close into melodrama territory. Beyond that, Little Al is telling a backstory that is of little value to us. What he says about young Bruce when they found him could've been SHOWN instead of TOLD. He talks about Big Al, a character we never see and don't care about, and he talks about the sacrifices Big Al made so that Little Al could get put through Med School. Well, WTF? He's now a MECHANIC! How does he go from med school to mechanic? WTF does that have to do with BRUCE WAYNE? Annoying, all of it.

2 - This scene really sets me off. What an awful scene. First, what happened to Gordon is also something that should've been SHOWN instead of TOLD. To make it happen off-screen absolutely makes this scene melodramatic. A scene is usually about a shift in values of some sort. Setup, then a payoff. Secret, then it's revealed. Question, then answer. Problem, then a plan of action. That's how scenes move the story forward. This one fails to do so. Gordon comes in, whines and moans, and then the scene ends on a random note without a shifting of values to push the story forward. All this scene accomplishes is that Gordon shares with Dent that his office has been ransacked. Okay, then what? You have to end a scene like this with a plan of action. If they were to have shown Gordon enter his office and shown his reaction to losing his corruption logs, THEN we could cut to this scene, remove the first half of the dialogue because with Gordon's sad posture and Dent talking about a plan of action, we'll have quickly figured out that Gordon told Dent what happened to his office. This helps to A) show, instead of tell and B) enter late and leave early. This is screenwriting 101, people... Arrrgh...

-MM

Anonymous said...

I have a question. So often in screenwriting we're told to show, not tell. Now, if I had to, I'd rather use flashback than dialogue to tell parts of a story, but we're also told that flashback is bad. So if Miller/Aranofsky had written the scene which Little Al describes (Bruce as waif and stray), where do we think they should have put it? If they had stuck it in at the beginning would it technically have been a flashback? After all, the story would still have been sequential but with a significant time-jump (a la Batman Begins). However, if they had placed such a scene in the same place as this dialogue, it would technically have been a flashback (i.e. non-sequential), and thus potentially deemed clunky unless it elucidates something which was previously unclear and vital to reveal at this point.
My feeling is that the scene (if needed at all) could have been written at the start of the film. To my recollection the signet ring wouldn't alter the dynamics of the story enough to warrant placing a flashback here. Thoughts?

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