Black-Mass-Script-ReviewAn excerpt from my script review for Black Mass which will be available 09/24/15:

4.) Dialogue and Description

It was refreshing to see the amount of white space on the pages compared to the last two reviews.

The dialogue was the mechanism that propelled the plot forward, and done extremely well.

(Simulate this technique in your own writing, and you’ll have zero problems getting professional reads.)

When characters spoke it was fun, and dripped with that typical wiseguy subtext of loathing anything and everything law enforcement.

Page 3:

FBI AGENT (O.S.)
When did you first hear of him? How
old were you?

WEEKS
That’s a dumb fuckin’ question.

FBI AGENT (O.S.)
Why is that a dumb question?

WEEKS
You knew the first thing about
South Boston you’d know that’s a
dumb question. It’s like “When did
you first hear about Santa Claus?”
I knew Jimmy from before time. From
before I can remember. Everybody
did. Back then in Southie there
were three things: Jesus Christ,
the Red Sox, and James Whitey
Bulger. Can we get some fuckin’
coffee in here?

Page 7:

FBI AGENT
On your knees. Now!

SECOND AGENT
Face down! Flat!

WHITEY
You gave me two contradictory,
orders. I can’t be down on my knees
and flat on my face at the same
time, now can I? Give me an
alternative.

FBI AGENT
There is no alternative.

WHITEY
I beg to differ, my friend. There
are many alternatives. But let’s
start with this one: I stand here
and don’t move one fuckin’ inch.
What are you going to do about it?

FBI AGENT
Wiseguy, huh? Wiseguy to the end.

WHITEY
Me? I’m no wiseguy. I’m Irish, not
Italian, remember?

Okay, so maybe the dialogue tends to run long, but it’s fun, and more importantly, smart.

Page 32:

BILLY
OK. Hypothetical question. We’re on
a plane and it goes down in the
desert. I’m dead. Jimmy’s dead. Mom
survives. There’s no food. Which
one of us do you eat first, Ma?

MOM
(without hesitation)
You.

BILLY
Why me?

MOM
I got dentures. Jimmy’s wiry.
There’s no way I’m gonna be able to
chew through Jimmy. You just look
more tender.

WHITEY
She’s right. You do.

BILLY
(offended)
Tender how. Like fat?

WHITEY
Relax. It’s a hypothetical question.

MOM
(at Jimmy, re Billy)
He looks tender, right?

WHITEY
He does. He looks real tender.

MOM
So I’d eat him.
(at Billy)
I’d eat you.

WHITEY
(enjoying this)
She’d eat you, Billy. And you know
what I think? I think she’d do it
even before she got real hungry.

Then there are the uncharacteristic “bad guy” bits that show Jimmy’s OCD.

Page 47:

Just then, in the back, Weeks SNEEZES. Whitey
bristles. SILENCE. Martorano looks at Weeks, who is clueless.

WEEKS
What?

WHITEY
Who sneezed?

Weeks looks at Martorano. What the fuck is going on?

WEEKS
Uh. It was me, Jimmy.

WHITEY
I know it was you. You know how I
know? ‘Cause I felt it. I felt it
on the back of my fuckin’ neck. Are
you sick?

WEEKS
No. I’m fine.

WHITEY
If you’re fine then why did you
sneeze?

WEEKS
I must have an allergy.

WHITEY
(growing enraged)
You sneeze all over the fuckin’ car
now, hey presto, we all get sick.

MARTORANO
How long you had the cold?

WEEKS
I don’t have a fuckin’ cold. I told
you. It’s hayfever or somethin’.

MARTORANO
(at the others)
I’m just saying if he’s had it a
week it’s not contagious.

WEEKS
I don’t HAVE a fuckin’ cold.

WHITEY
Oh that’s great. That’s a big
relief. Meanwhile my fuckin’ neck
is coated in fuckin’ slime.

WEEKS
I’m sorry. I won’t sneeze again.

WHITEY
You can’t control if you’re gonna
sneeze. Do me a favor? If you’re
sick, stay home. Alright? I don’t
want you sneezing all over the
fuckin’ car. You hear me? Be a
fuckin’ professional.

WEEKS
OK. I promise.

WHITEY
You know what Kevin. Don’t. DO NOT
sneeze on me ever again.

WEEKS
I promise. I won’t sneeze.

WHITEY
Jesus fuckin’ Christ.

Want more helpful screenwriting tips and movie/script reviews? Follow this link to our Discussion Forum.

And be sure to check out our Notes Service, where I give my detailed thoughts and suggestions on your script.

2 COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here