Sunday, October 16, 2005

Tony Scott

I figured I'd get this party started with the oldest Internet tradition, flaming. My target for this poorly crafted rant is director Tony Scott. Not only was this written in a insomnianic (which may be a real word) haze, but it is also the rant I used for the web comic Practice Roles ( cough).

A few years ago I saw his BMW short, and had respect for the man without knowing who he was. Unfortunately that all changed the day I saw Man on Fire. For those of you who don't remember Man on Fire, it was a movie that starred Denzel Washington and Dakota Fanning. Dakota gets kidnapped and Denzel flips out and starts hurting people to get her back. It was a movie that was superbly written and performed, and shot in the groin by Mr. Scott. I'm not going to critique Man on Fire here because all of the points I'd make are repeated in Domino. (Warning: the following contains spoilers, but it doesn't matter because the fruit is rotten to begin with.)

The largest and most prominent problem I have with Scott is his directing style. We all know the guy who gets WAY too excited about everything. The one who is known to shout: “MAN THAT WAS TOTALLY AWESOME!!! SHE LIKE TOTALLY TOOK THAT GUN THEN WASTED THOSE GUYS IN A FUCKING HAIL OF BULLETS. AND THEN SHE LIKE TOOK OFF HER CLOTHES, MADE OUT WITH THAT DUDE THEN KICKED HIS FUCKING ASS!! IT WAS FUCKING AWESOME DUDE!!”

Thus is the Tony Scott approach to Domino. In fact take the previous paragraph, put on those cheap 3-D glasses, and read it again while shaking your monitor. There, I just saved you $8 and two hours.

The second part of the movie that got to me was the storytelling. This part I don't know how much to blame on the screenplay and how much on Scott, but since it was written by Richard Kelly, I have to assume the fault lies with the director. I read that during a Q&A session Richard Kelly said that the movie is Tony Scott's vision and that he didn't have much to do with the movie after writing the script.

I find this easy to believe because the narrative is very disjointed and muddled. It is feels like little bits were left out. Most of the plot is understandable, but never really developed. It would have been much better if Tony Scott spent more time developing the characters and plot, and not unneeded conversations like psychoanalyzing Lucy Lu's tattoo. Scenes like these could have given the story a little more flair, but came off feeling tacked on and forced.

Also there are two scenes where Scott will show you one event happening, then re-write history and show you the exact same scene again, but with a completely different outcome. The most jarring example was in the first 30 min of the film where Domino & Co. bust into a house, get the crap blown out of them, and then as the last shells are hitting the ground Tony Scott literally rewinds the tape and does the scene again where she ends up giving one of the guys a lap dance. Then later on he shows 4 kids getting shot and thrown in the ground, continues on with the main plot, then 30 minutes later comes back and says actually they weren't shot, just buried up to their heads.

It can be done well if what happened was a dream/delusion and we see what the character sees, or if something leads you to believe, but doesn't SHOW it. Yet the fact that you are shown an entire event happening, and it is presented as truth, left alone, then told that it didn't happen that way after all is poor storytelling.

Anyways, as I've mentioned above this is just my opinion, and I know there are those who disagree with me. Normally I don't get so worked up about things, but Tony Scott just rubs me the wrong way... hard... and not in the naughty way that actually feels good.

Which does make me feel a little bad because I know Tony Scott is a person trying to make what he believes to be a good movie, and I completely sympathize with that (a topic that will come up more in my Uwe Boll/John Woo rant). So I'm gonna stop now and order Tony Scott a fruit basket.