Monday, 13 July 2009

How to be unimaginative

I recently watched Inside Man. It turned out to be a depressingly unimaginative bank heist film, occasionally being so predictable that it verged on parody. But I did learn a few things from it.

How to make a standard Hollywood action movie
1. A maverick detective with a point to prove. He's a bit of an outsider in the department and his unorthodox methods raise a few eyebrows on the operation. He will eventually get the job done, maybe gaining some respect along the way.
2. A veteran policeman who's seen it all before. He will occasionally smoke and make philosophical comments - 'Why does it have to be like this?'
3. A mastermind criminal who's got it all figured out. He's calm. Very calm. Because he's got it all figured out. It's the perfect plan. He's a genius.
4. A sassy woman's in there somewhere. She's untouchable, unpredictable and sassy. Did I mention she's sassy? Yes, yes I did.
5. If there are hostages they all have to be inherently annoying. They chatter to each other about how they were going to 'a ball game' until the terrorists captured them. There's one that wants to be a hero. There's a loud one. There's a child. There's always a child.
6. A variety of rubbish music. There's the this-is-a-serious-situation music, the walking-cops-with-attitude music and the aren't-these-people-evil music. Whenever the maverick detective phones his girlfriend cue sexy saxophone music.

The only interesting thing about Inside Man is that it's got James Ransone from The Wire in it. Watch that instead.


  1. The women in the film, in particular, were total cartoons. And the whole thing was preposterous. I remember the bit with Denzel Washington getting mad by rolling along on a trolley - or perhaps the camera was - as particularly risible.

    Spleen vented.

  2. I was expecting him to be on some sort of unicycle. That's how they get around on crime scenes.

  3. careful with that standard Hollywood make-a-movie music,
    as in, I know you're trying to make a SHM, but don't hit us over the head with with Quincy Jones in The Color Purple, and...well, I can't remember any other examples at the moment...just any soundtrack that tries to tell the viewer what to think, feel.

    What was a great soundtrack?

  4. You know?...I loved The Terminal,
    that soundtrack.
    My son loves the music from the TV show,

  5. I have no problem with film soundtracks in general. The problem with Inside Man was that the music was awful, so I noticed it. Music is meant to be seamless, adding to a scene without grating against it. I can see all the cracks in Inside Man.

    Examples of film soundtracks I like: Bourne, ET, There Will Be Blood, Assassination of Jesse James, Pan's Labyrinth.

  6. Yes indeed. Agree on all counts.

  7. This is a great list! It's inspiring me to do a similar one on the necessary elements for an epic trilogy.

    Love your blog by the way.