Saturday, November 12, 2005

Shane Black Lives!

"Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" -- which I saw last weekend -- is one of the top films of the year, make sure to seek it out.

The principal players -- Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer and Michelle Monaghan -- all shine, with great interplay and dialogue. It's vintage Shane Black, best known as the writer for the films "Lethal Weapon" and "The Last Boy Scout."

A while ago, I reviewed the script for the film at FilmJerk (here), back when it was called “You’ll Never Die in This Town Again.”

There, I said:

"In reading the script for “Again,” I found myself looking for signs showing whether he has regained that edge he once showed...for the most part, Black is back, displaying a deft ear for snappy dialogue. Those looking for the talent he once displayed in past works are going to be happy with this effort, as I feel he has proved...critics wrong, all in all. Black shows that he has it in him to make another great action flick, one that would make film buffs anticipate its migration to celluloid. It isn’t his best effort, by far, but “Again” is a film that amiably works...

After I wrote the review, I got an e-mail from Black, which blew my mind. He shared with me that the script was being re-written and how the ending (which I had criticized) was something he was currently improving. In addition, he sent me a document he had written "to marshall my ideas about this project (and to give my DP toilet reading) and what emerged on paper was a fairly thorough rundown...my thoughts and feelings...crystallized a bit." To me, it was fascinating reading.

Here's a portion of it (and if you haven't seen it yet, contains spoilers), which is vintage Black writing and comes across like poetry:

"L.A. is cool and numbing and impersonal; you can publish or perish here, good luck, but the city itself is blind, and sterile, and way, WAY too fucking real...

Perhaps the single densest concentration in one place of pure, undistilled anxiety. Abject fear, stop by Swingers sometime and breathe it...

There existed, once upon a time, a sweet little eight year-old girl in Des Moines, singing, "Someday" to her teddy bear audience; She came to L.A., blinked -- and was 46. Look. There she is now, sun-blinded and headspun, saying, is it over..?

The city doesn't give a shit. It's a big, bright, grinning idiot. It's a fairy tale read aloud by a pervert.

You can just... I don't know, vanish. Or be huge. Or both. There is no sense to it. No destiny. You're not special. You're not one in a million. You're just ONE. In a fucking million.

This, sadly, is mostly the message imparted by Los Angeles, a city laden with romantic mythology; for most of us, it's a Harlequin romance with a trick ending.

Except every so often, someone tries to beat the odds.

In this film, the someone is Harry, it's Harmony.

Their message? Believe. Believe hard enough, and the best isn't over your shoulder. How old are you..? 40? 50? Fuck it. Tomorrow lies an adventure that tops everything so far. You'll be called as a hero. Tomorrow or someday. Get ready....

MAYBE EVERYTHING I'VE JUST SAID IS A LIE. Maybe L.A. wins after all..."

Be sure to check "Kiss King, Bang Bang" out-- it's only in 80 theaters, but worth catching.

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