Be The Best Writer You Can

“Iron Man 3” Bores, “Place Beyond The Pines” Triumphs

Place Beyond The Pines

I was going to write an extended paean of praise for Iron Man 3 this week.

I’m partial to this kind of thing. I’m a Marvel comics fan from the 1970’s. I loved the last Avengers movie. I think Robert Downey Jr and Ben Kingsley are great actors.

Then I went and saw the movie.

I don’t like giving bad reviews, so I won’t dissect the thing in too much detail. But I will say that throwing an unconnected string of ‘cool’ story events on screen isn’t enough.

Not nearly enough.

Robert Downey and Ben Kingsley are both absolutely brilliant – but the rest?

I think this movie is almost exactly what’s wrong with most of Hollywood.

It’s muddled, noisy, destructive. It’s full of pointless explosions and unearned, unfelt emotion. It’s stuffed with hollow spectacle.

Worst of all, it’s just boring.

And I’m sure it will make many millions of dollars for its producers – which tends to makes me sad.

But then I’ve recently been spoiled by “The Place Beyond The Pines”.

Written by Derek Cianfrance and Ben Coccio, directed by Derek Cianfrance, starring Ryan Gosling, Eva Mendes and Bradley Cooper, “Pines” is a small scale story, which is defiantly anti-conventional in structure.

You sit there and you think: “Who exactly is the protagonist?” “What?? Did that thing REALLY just happen to Ryan Gosling?””How is this working so well when it breaks so many of the ‘rules’?”

From the moment it starts, as you watch Ryan Gosling get dressed in his trailer, and follow the back of his head through a fairground to his job as a motorbike stunt rider, it makes you sit up and pay attention.

How can watching one man walk through a crowd be so effective?

That’s just typical of the film. It is just SO good – and the usual tools of analysis are strangely ineffective.

Overall it’s beautiful, moving, complex, truthful, and artful – a much needed reminder of how good Hollywood used to be, and how good it still can be when it wants.

Please see it. Don’t read any reviews before you go, as some of them are giving away one or two crucial plot twists. Just go and see it.


Quick reminder – we still have a couple of seats left for our script workshop in London, May 11-12.

Two days of writing and career tricks and techniques, and our special guest is BBC Script Editor Esther Springer (“The Fades”, “Lark Rise to Candleford”, “Survivors”).

Please note, the early booking ticket discount runs out tomorrow, at which point the price will go up from £197 to £229.

More details here.

1 Comment
  1. If you peel away the layers of rewrites of Iron Man 2 there’s a compelling parallel of father/son dysfunctional relationships. But it’s buried under the need for flash bangs and cheap thrills.

    I hoped number three would have returned to the form of the first movie. Shame, and as you say, a vast waste of talent.

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