The fact that Final Draft didn’t get a great score on Rotten Tomatoes isn’t even worth mentioning since, to be fair, taking a look at this movie should be one of the things that many writers and screenwriters feel the need to do simply because, well, stuff like this can happen.
No, it’s not bound to happen that a fictional clown from our past will come back to start killing people when we decide to write them out of a story, but the fact is that madness is a byproduct of a lot of things in life, and writing is one of those that invites this level of introspection, especially when it comes to deadlines, a lack of talent, time, or motivation. Initially, Paul Twist comes off as a guy that’s been done wrong and has to deal with the ramifications of a life with the memories of an ex-wife, a faithless friend, and a lot of disappointments that are, sadly, his responsibility, even if he doesn’t initially accept them.
The idea that his life is anything but what he wants because of anyone else is a common excuse that is seen in real life and does affect one’s sanity and the quality of their writing. It’s easy to dare anyone to say otherwise, even though a lot of people would find that path of denial tempting. In this movie, however, Paul finds himself slipping dangerously at several moments when he delves into his work.
The story is sound, even if some folks don’t understand why.
Stories concerning writers don’t often get a lot of respect for a few reasons, one of which is that writers might come up with stories that entertain people, but those who push the stories often get more of the credit, and as a result, the writers, especially when it comes to movies, are all but forgotten.
Normally that’s nothing to whine and cry about since the truth is that writers still tend to get paid, but the truth is that being asked to produce one story after another before being treated like one doesn’t exist is kind of a tough existence. The strange thing is that a lot of us writers choose that life, and Paul exemplifies this, but sadly he also exemplifies the individuals who choose this life and then lament it without saying so. The movie does a fairly good job of depicting the madness that can set in when a writer is unsatisfied with how their life has turned out.
Using a murderous clown has been done many times, but this is still kind of unique.
Punchy, the clown, is a rather disturbing individual to look at, and Paul’s story of how he and his brother watched a clown burn to death after an accident, while laughing no less, is something that a lot of people might feel is morbid and wrong. But the fact is that it’s also a bit of mistaken humor that’s unfortunate but blameless, considering that the experience of children is often incomplete. Therefore, an act that revolves around a character harming themselves, even if it’s just playacting, could be seen by inexperienced eyes as something that’s just part of the act.
But the jump from this memory to using Punchy as a means of punishment when Paul thinks of those who have wronged him in his life is a big one that some folks might not fully understand. There’s not as much to break down in this manner since Paul is a disturbed individual who has internalized everything and needs a serious reality check. Unfortunately, in this movie, he’s not bound to get it until the right moment has passed by.
It is very true that many writers suffer in this manner from time to time.
There are a lot of writers who would gladly deny that they feel bouts of madness that come upon them since it’s true that not everyone experiences this. The idea that ‘many’ writers feel this now and then is very true, but since being crazy is still an uncertain status in society, it’s fair to think that many people would deny this to their last breath.
In this movie and several others, though, it’s often adequately depicted that writers of fiction are not always stable. One reason for this is that those who write fiction have to straddle the line between reality and the unreal so often that there are times when even a minor slip might break down the boundary just enough to trap a person, however briefly, in the fiction that they’ve created. It’s real, whether people want to believe it or not.
It’s not a blockbuster, but it’s an interesting movie all the same.
It’s tough to understand a writer at times, but it’s even tougher to understand the insanity that comes from trying to pin one idea down long enough to make an entire chain at them. This movie does a fair job of that, but much like Secret Window or other movies based around authors who are less than stable, some folks might not get it.
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