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I've disagreed with Carson on scripts before. Is this one of those times?
Kind of. I read half this script, and the wheels started coming off for me in the second act, but for different reasons then Carson's. I mentioned a few above. Basically the choices the writer was making with the story began to not make much sense to me.
But unlike Carson, I had absolutely no problem following the number of characters here. And there are a lot. But they are all introduced in very memorable circumstances, so unless you're reading several scripts a day, I don't think you'll forget them.
Like all of us, Carson has his pet peeves. He likes a very simple narrative. Stories like Taken, where we always know the goal and the stakes, and we mostly stay with the main character. That's how a lot of people feel about story.
Myself, when I watch a movie I actually really like seeing a large cast of colorful characters. Dark Knight's problem is that the characters are NOT colorful. Some of them are, but often I'm left with the sense that a character, played by a great actor and one filled with potential, still manages to not be interesting. It's not because there are necessarily too many characters, it's just they're not interesting. So the story becomes all unfocused plot.
Another interesting thing for me about this script was the dialogue. For the most part it was very distinct and colorful, a real strength. But at some point it starts to seem over the top, and that's the problem with trying to maintain dialogue like that over a whole script.
I will say this about Gangster Squad, and I think this is something Carson needs to start incorporating into his analysis of scripts: when you start reading this script, you know within a few pages this is a blockbuster. You may not like the script for personal reasons, but if you're a producer, you have to recognize its strengths. Script reviews are not movie reviews. When someone is reading scripts, they need to make commercial viability one of the main components of their analysis. With a movie review, you can knock a script for being to similar to something filmed in 1977, for bringing nothing new, etc. But producers want to know if the script will make them money.
Started to read this today. My thoughts, as a more than amateur reader, are;
1) in terms of what "we are told" this is over written, but very well over written. BUT...I wonder if it would feel a little better if part of this was leaner and therefore leaving the remainder to light up in a clearer fashion
2) the protag is given the most awesome description...ever...as Kevin as outlined above, has one very big fight, then becomes passive and likes to get all soft and cosy at home. Up to P39 and so far can't find much of a conflict, other than a token spat with his wife, over a massive risk. Then to recruit his team hs basically has some pleasant chats - where's the tough, aggressive guy gone? He is described as one blunt instrument.
Think back to LA Confidential, not too,dissimilar, and Russell crows character. Constantly riven with conflict over agression, sensitivity, right versus wrong, options etc
3) core idea - an undercover, off the radar, doing illegal things! squad. Now, I haven't read the whole thing but already one this screams out, time will tell whether this proves to be right, that they will be "hung out to dry" as soon as pressure is applied and they are discovered to be dong illegal things. The protag hasn't asked for assurances, anything, or has the others - surely that's weak?
The Elevator Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards. Third - Honolulu Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place IMDb link... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr