Sunday, November 8, 2009

Playback Tuesday: The Man Who Wasn't There

I enjoy reading screenplays as much as I do theatre plays. For me the enjoyment is getting so wrapped up in the characters and the story that stage directions, locations, and in the case of this particular screenplay, camera positions begin to melt into a subtle tapestry of visuals. And in film, the visual, is everything. Especially since the camera is often the spying "third eye." The screenplay, The Man Who Wasn't There by Ethan and Joel Coen, took me through the events leading up to Ed, the barber's, demise. Through first person narration I got a glimpse of the life of a quiet, often socially awkward Barber, who wants more from his humble existence and goes about getting more in a way that eventually destroys him, and the small community of equally flawed people surrounding him. The true beauty of this screenplay is the way in which each decision interlocks with a consequence equally as dramatic and absurd which leaves the reader trying to piece together the final outcome. I must admit that for the last ten pages I was simply strapped in for the ride, too anxious to find out what happens to Ed to spend too much time stopping to piece together the puzzle. The screenplay includes several photographs taken from scenes in the movie from which I recognized several familiar faces, including, but not limited to: Francis McDormand, Billy Bob Thornton, James Gandolfini, Tony Shalhoub, and Scarlett Johansson. I now look forward to seeing how the movie and my own self created version of it compare.

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