Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Chiwetel Ejiofor Quote of the Month: June 2011

This month, we once again return to the realm of David Mamet. What I have stated previously about Mamet remains true: Mamet dialogue is not natural dialogue. It may be catchy and it may be memorable, but it is not what I would call natural.

The degree of how his style makes an imprint on a script varies from film to film. Back in 2007, I highlighted the film Heist for February's Delroy Lindo quote. Of that film, I only have good memories of an exciting and clever crime film. And as evidenced by the use of the film for Delroy, it had it's share of great dialogue too.

But then there are films like Redbelt, where the style goes to ridiculous levels and impedes any enjoyment of the film itself. Now normally, these monthly posts are to highlight a great line of dialogue by the actor chosen for the given year. In Ejiofor's case, who stars in the film, I'm sure he's given some great lines. I wouldn't know as I stopped watching 20 minutes in.

So instead of showcasing a great line, I'm going to show how Mamet's style can border on the ridiculous. First, let me present a skit from the MST3K episode "Prince of Space" that will put a smile on any science fiction fan's face.

Clever, huh? I can't imagine what a pain in the ass it was to write that scene. Now let's look at an early dialogue scene from Redbelt between Mike (Ejiofor) and Gini (played by Cathy Cahlin Ryan):

Gini: "Joe still inside?"

Mike: "No, he just left."

Gini: "Left?"

Mike: "Yeah, maybe he went to the club."

Gini: "What happened to the window?"

Mike: "Isn't he on at the club?"

Gini: "Um, that's funny."

Mike: "Weren't you going to the mountains?"

Gini: "Why would he go to the club?"

Mike: "Isn't he working tonight?"

Gini: "The club? No. No, no, no. He hasn't worked at the club in months. Listen, uh, I have to tell him something. Okay? Tell him."

Mike: "Why?"

Gini: "Why what?"

Mike: "Why hasn't he been working there?"

Gini: "Yeah, I know. Listen, I gotta get home."
Ack! Unfortunately for Mamet, he can't blame such conversations as this on Time/Space distortions. Too bad. It would have made for a more interesting film.

That is two bad Ejiofor films in a row. For July, I promise a good one. Until then.

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