ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Revolver: Where Subplot Trumps the Plot

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I saw the movie Revolver. This is not a review, but rather a comment on plot construction anyone can use, whether it be a screenwriter or a novelist.

Filmed by Guy Ritchie, Revolver stars Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, Vincent Pastore, Andre 3000 and a host of British bad guys that I'm sure my friends in England recognize. Revolver premiered in 2005. Guy Ritchie films have a certain style to them that I appreciate. He's sort of the love child of Akira Kurosawa and Quintin Tarantino to me. So I approached Revolver with that sort of anticipation.

But Ritchie pulled a David Lynch.

And I HATE Lynch. In fact, Mulhulland Drive makes me want to shoot myself in the head (Silencio)!

But I loved Revolver. So in this case, Ritchie out-Lynched Lynch.

So what's the big deal about Revolver and why have you never heard of it.

It was panned in England where it was released. It got 1/2 out of 5 stars. It took a while for it to get to the U.S. Only after adding some scenes and re-editing, did it come here, but even then, no one saw it.

Even though there are spoilers, I think you should still watch it.In fact, you can see it for free here. And if you want to know about what I have to say about plot construction, then I'm afraid you'll have to read below.

But it's only a little spoilage.

Not a lot.

I promise.


***SPOILERS***

IMDB has a very credible synopsis, so I won't repeat what it's already said. Instead, let me share with you the ending of the synopsis, then talk about it for a brief moment.


The movie's plot or throughline is about one man being tricked into helping another two men convince a second set of two men, in this case, major gangsters, that they are out to get each other. Filled with terrific Guy Ritchie action and dialogue, the movie has everything I love in a movie.

But the subplot is what makes it great. Interwoven like a sinus wave along the plot line is the idea that ego can so take control of you that it can turn your life into a game. It further states that if you listen to it, you become a victim of yourself. It's a pretty complicated idea, probably why English seemed to dislike it and it was only shown on 18 screens in the U.S. It was definitely hard to Grok.

But the majesty of the construction of the movie is that while you're watching the action of the plot, the subplot is weaving through and past you, so well, that in the end, the plot doesn't really matter at all. It was the subplot all along that was the most important. In this case, I think the disservice to both the plot and the subplot came with the ending. If you're going to try and do something like Ritchie did, you're going to have to wrap it up a little more neatly.  Nothing let's an audience or a reader get what you're trying to say than a little denoueument after the conclusion of the action.

The dénouement (pronounced /deɪnuːˈmɑ̃ː/, /deɪnuːˈmɒn/, or UK /deɪˈnuːmɑ̃ː/; French: [denuˈmɑ̃]) comprises events between the falling action and the actual ending scene of the drama or narrative and thus serves as the conclusion of the story. Conflicts are resolved, creating normality for the characters and a sense of catharsis, or release of tension and anxiety, for the reader. Etymologically, the French word dénouement is derived from the Old French word denoer, "to untie", and from nodus, Latin for "knot." Simply put, dénouement is the unraveling or untying of the complexities of a plot.(cite)


And that, my friends, takes skill, especially when we are so wrapped up in the plot (or the game as the movies says), that we discover all the things we missed, only too late.

Similar films include Donnie Darko and The Usual Suspects. You'll also find aspects of numerology and the Kabbalah heavily influenced the film and were used to construct the subplot.

Have you seen it? What are your thoughts?


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