An 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.
FBI AGENT (O.S.)
When did you first hear of him? How
old were you?
That’s a dumb fuckin’ question.
FBI AGENT (O.S.)
Why is that a dumb question?
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?
On your knees. Now!
Face down! Flat!
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
There is no alternative.
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?
Wiseguy, huh? Wiseguy to the end.
Me? I’m no wiseguy. I’m Irish, not
Okay, so maybe the dialogue tends to run long, but it’s fun, and more importantly, smart.
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?
I got dentures. Jimmy’s wiry.
There’s no way I’m gonna be able to
chew through Jimmy. You just look
She’s right. You do.
Tender how. Like fat?
Relax. It’s a hypothetical question.
(at Jimmy, re Billy)
He looks tender, right?
He does. He looks real tender.
So I’d eat him.
I’d eat you.
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.
Just then, in the back, Weeks SNEEZES. Whitey
bristles. SILENCE. Martorano looks at Weeks, who is clueless.
Weeks looks at Martorano. What the fuck is going on?
Uh. It was me, Jimmy.
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
No. I’m fine.
If you’re fine then why did you
I must have an allergy.
You sneeze all over the fuckin’ car
now, hey presto, we all get sick.
How long you had the cold?
I don’t have a fuckin’ cold. I told
you. It’s hayfever or somethin’.
(at the others)
I’m just saying if he’s had it a
week it’s not contagious.
I don’t HAVE a fuckin’ cold.
Oh that’s great. That’s a big
relief. Meanwhile my fuckin’ neck
is coated in fuckin’ slime.
I’m sorry. I won’t sneeze again.
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
OK. I promise.
You know what Kevin. Don’t. DO NOT
sneeze on me ever again.
I promise. I won’t sneeze.
Jesus fuckin’ Christ.
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