Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Something Nasty

From: Mark Sullivan (
Date: 09 Sep 2000

Neil wrote:

"In talking to my partner in writing scripts (we've just tried one, no big deal), I told him our second one should do a couple of things differently: 1)Less cursing. Just heard too much of it. Limiting that forces one to become more creative, inventive, and it helps push the boundaries of language; 2) Less bang-bang shoot em up. Hails of bullets? Seen that. So, change the focus, and put the intensity elsewhere. Adhering to what Kevin says, then, use the cursing and guns, but use them well."

I know I'm harping on Way of the Gun, but these comments really seem to describe what McQuarrie is doing with it. He opens with a scene in which one character spouts so many curse words, in so many variations
("Do you like to fuck babyheads? Hunh? Do you?"), that it becomes so overblown, so ridiculous, you have to laugh. It's hilarious. Following that one scene, though, there is very little profanity, but plenty of tight dialog and, believe me, no one would doubt the hardboiled-ness of any of these characters.

Second, although this movie probably expends as many bullets as Woo or Peckinpah have in any one movie, it does it in some new ways. I don't know how to handle a gun, so lots of poor gun handling probably goes right over my head (for instance, I never realized how ludicrous holding an automatic pistol was -- ejects the shells into your face -- until I read about it), but even I could tell something was different here, more competence about how the guns were dealt with in this film (for one thing, they were regularly shown reloading, they never cross each other's line of fire and probably a ton of smaller things I didn't notice). I was not at all surprised when I later read that McQuarrie's brother is a Navy Seal and drilled the actors in correct tactical behavior.

On top of all that, McQuarrie comes up with a new variation on the car chase -- I didn't think that was possible.

Neil, have you seen it? I'd be very interested if you have a similar take.


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