An excerpt from my script review for Knives Out which will be available 12/02/19:
4.) Dialogue and Description
We’re going to skip past the description since it was decent enough to get the job done.
But the dialogue…
What a convoluted mess!
It felt as if each and every character was prone to verbal streams of consciousness.
Maybe this particular portion translated better to the screen, since our writer was also our director, but it was extremely difficult to understand, since characters would interrupt not only others, but at times themselves.
Walt called me, but yeah I thought
the cops got our statements already,
what are we
I dunno, they’ve got more fucking
questions, new detective, something.
How are you doing?
Not good. Alone, lots of just, this
and not knowing what to do next.
Anything you need, you’re part of
this family Marta. You know that.
I wanted to ask, but I didn’t want to
bother you guys, I didn’t hear
anything, is the funeral, is there a
day for it, or
It was yesterday.
The interactions between characters were less than stellar.
Whoa hey, c’mere, hey. What do you,
you want water? Breathe. Hey. Fran
have you still got your stash?
You little bitch. Did you know about
this? What did you do to him to make
this happen, were you two what were
you fucking my father?
In some instances, like the two above, I couldn’t tell if maybe these were typos, or intended.
Listen, I get that these characters were meant to be under stress, but diarrhea of the mouth is something that happens in real life, not what we pay $15+ to see in theaters.
MEG (ON PHONE)
I’m fine. I mean everyone’s nuts,
they’re all going, I don’t know,
they’ve lost it. No one knows I’m
calling you, I wanted to – I don’t
know what I wanted, I wanted to say
sorry for how everyone was.
Ultimately my issue is that these “run-on” entries should be limited at best, and to be most effective contain them to a single character. My suggestion is it worked best with Meg given her professional university career and constantly switching ambiguous majors.
In addition to that, there was way too much side by side dialogue, meaning characters were talking over one another.
Another technique that should be used sparingly and again perhaps it worked better on the screen, but on the page it led to a lot of confusion on this end because it’s difficult to read.
(Since most humans can’t read both entries simultaneously.)
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