The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

In the Dallas Morning News, Tom Maurstad asks Quentin Tarantino about suspense in the opening scene of his new movie (haven't seen it). The scene is almost 25 minutes long, Maurstad says. Tarantino uses the metaphor of a rubber band, and says in part:

"...the idea is as far as that rubber band can stretch is as far as I wanna go and the more suspenseful the scene is. So as opposed to most other scenes in the movie, where the most compact version, the version with as little air in it as possible, is usually the best way to go, in this instance, if I can pull it off and my dialogue can bear that weight, then the longer the scene is, the more suspenseful it is. So that opening scene is actually more suspenseful at 25 minutes than at eight--if I can pull it off."

Before that he says "When I think about suspense, the pattern I adopted was above and below. Above is what's happening and below is the suspense."

I think he's talking about the above being the actual plot, what the scene accomplishes to move the general story forward. And the below is the way he chooses to pace it. Hmm. I wasn't planning on seeing the movie, because it bugs me that all the Quentin Tarantino characters I've heard tend to talk alike--to me, they all sound like the same person, even if they're wildly different. The actors bring different things to the parts, but the underlying dialogue always has the same rhythms, language, and style. I always feel like I could be watching a Quentin Tarantino monologue--just take everybody out and let him play all the parts, it'd be the same thing. However, this scene sounds interesting. Maurstad says:

"Lasting almost 25 minutes, what starts as a casual conversation between a Nazi colonel and a humble French farmer builds into a full-on interrogation."

I dunno. I guess I'll see if son #1 has seen it yet (probably; he sees everything the night it opens) and if he hasn't, maybe he'll go with me. Otherwise, I don't like the idea of spending ten bucks only to find that this scene is a rehash of other QT scenes where two people are talking like QT and somewhere in the middle it gets menacing and then somebody gets hurt. When dialogue is used to stretch the scene, if I'm not buying the dialogue, the suspense doesn't take. Maybe I'll see what other people say about it.

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