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Such men found work as hired swords.

5 December 2011

While flying relatively high on painkillers Friday or Saturday night (I forget which, so the painkillers must have been doing their job), I re-watched the 1998 film Ronin. I loved that movie when it came out, and, for me, it’s one of the best action-thriller movies of all time. It’s also one of the few movies post Taxi Driver where I thought De Niro did some of his best work.

Nowadays, I tend to read the IMDB and Wikipedia entries on movies just after watching them, mainly to see if there’s anything I missed that more eagle-eyed viewers might have caught and pointed out. I’d never read up on Ronin before, and was surprised to find out that most of the screenplay was written by David Mamet (under a pseudonym, of course). Then I was surprised by the fact that I’d been surprised it was written by him.

Here’s the thing — you can kind of hear Mamet in his films. Sometimes, that’s a great thing — films like Spartan, The Spanish Prisoner, or Red Belt. His characters have a distinct way of speaking, a way that a lot of my friends think is unrealistic. I tend to think it’s closer to reality than most movie-speak — Mamet characters interrupt each other, mishear things, and use their own personal slang.

So, what other writers can you identify just by the way they craft their words? Could you, say, jump into a piece and figure out it was Douglas Coupland if there was no byline (I tend to think you could). What other writers truly have a style all their own? Do you?

Also, as a fun bonus question, what is the best action-thriller movie of all time, in your opinion?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 5 December 2011 1222

    Joss Whedon is that way, hands down.

  2. 23 December 2011 0905

    William Gibson’s word choice and how everything is almost but subtly not x (pick your adjectival phrase for x).

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