Author Topic: The Big Twist M. Night Shyamalan Needs: He Should Stop Writing His Own Scripts (Column)  (Read 360 times)

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Offline Machiavelli

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Owen Gleiberman
January 20, 2019

Quick, name the greatest film by each of the following directors: Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg, David Lean, Robert Altman, Roman Polanski, Kathryn Bigelow, Jonathan Demme. Answers will vary (mine would be: “Psycho,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Nashville,” “Chinatown,” “The Hurt Locker,” “The Silence of the Lambs”), but whatever your taste, odds are that the movies you chose were not written by the director in question. (On my list, none of them were.)

There are, of course, countless great writer-directors — Ingmar Bergman, Preston Sturges, Quentin Tarantino, you name it. So it’s not as if it has to be one way or the other. But the point of my little exercise is that the history of cinema is brimming with directors who are towering artists, who ruled and stretched and defined the medium, yet did so without ever claiming to be screenwriters. A few of them dabbled at it, at times effectively (Spielberg, for instance, wrote “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” which I would call his second greatest film), and just about every director worth his or her salt is probably, on the set, doing some version of what amounts to rewriting. But you get the point. The fact that you’re a virtuoso film director doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a virtuoso crafter of words.

Which brings us to M. Night Shyamalan. In my review of “Glass,” his sequel to “Unbreakable” that’s also a sequel to “Split” (and yes, he hog-tied those movies together in the final minutes of “Split,” but come on! Until that moment, the two films had nothing to do with each other) ...

« Last Edit: January 21, 2019, 12:07:40 PM by Machiavelli »

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