Monday, April 11, 2011

A movie that reads like a short story

On Saturday evening I went to a movie called "Get Low" (starring Robert Duvall, Bill Murrary, Sissey Spacek). It's a movie I'd recommend to anyone interested in the craft of story telling. It was a great example of how impressive a story can be when it focuses on character and the expression of a point of view, rather than simply plot. But what struck me most was how much the tone, voice and structure of the movie worked like a short story. Much was left unsaid in terms of information about the main character's past - a little bit like many of Raymond Carver's stories where the reader is required to piece together what might have happened and why, and what might happen next and why. As well, the drivers for the plot and climax were internal rather than external, deeper emotions hidden from everyday view. Many of the scenes set a tone rather than explained everything so that the reader/viewer is left with questions to mull over. This allows the story to continue in the reader's head long after the story/film is finished and, like a good short story, is one of the purposes and pleasures of the form.

I'd be interested to hear what others think of this movie.