Review of: Mr Hamilton's Bookshop 

reviewed by djslik on 05/11/2011
Credited Review
Book me in Credited Review
A captivating SP that leads you on a journey through an imaginative world where literary works hold the true lives of their former readers. This is an original and piece of work with an engaging premise that reels you in. Well done as all the aspects. I do however have some notes and suggestions.

Personally I donít think the Narration is wise choice in the beginning. Basically we know the bookshop has a dark secret and the ending starts with a new beginning. These things are best left for self discovery. We already know what to expect and there is no surprise. Let us discover the secret and the ending without any hints and it will have a bigger impact. AS it stand I was already expecting a twist and it ruins the wonder.

Since the focal point of your story is based on books and the act of reading, this is an extremely inert action. To watch someone reading is well not going to sustain a viewerís interest for too long. Please donít get me wrong this is a great story and you build the mystery well in the beginning considering Alfieís destiny and his unveiled talent. The books need to come alive somehow. When you mention the words begin to swirl, this really engrossed me, I thought here we go but that was it. The lives that he reads about, they need to be somehow shown to us, instead of read to us, they must come alive. Thrust us into the book through Alfie. The thing is when we read a SP, itís totally different when it is actualized on screen. When you read, itís an interpretive medium which is limited to the readerís imagination and then turns to a visual medium on film. Having said that, the script is very dialogue heavy and shows very little action. This is considered to be expository and filmmakers want more action and just enough dialogue, no clichť rings more true than action speaks louder than words.

There are a few paragraphs which are exceedingly descriptive and make for dense reading. You have a remarkable talent to draw a reader in but some paragraphs need to be less descriptive as long paragraphs and descriptions take you out of the story and slow down the pace. Also you have these subtle descriptions which will not translate to screen, as in thoughts and certain cues which only make for excess reading. It will need to be trimmed away.

Good cast of characters here. Johnny seemed unnecessary to be honest for someone that melded into the background and we donít see him at all besides the recollections. I think you should have a look at the accident and depict it in a different way. I liked Alfie, but he needs to be more pronounced and be more self believing, I like the fact that he takes charge but when he needs to save himself heís lost total belief. He should believe in himself, start reading, want to free himself from the spell and midway feel hopeless and then have Sophie drag him out. Sophie is a fantastic character, really liked her.

A few scenes are repetitive especially the scenes of the monk. The way you do the first recollection is good but golden rule is not to repeat something that you have already established, it will serve you better to establish something new or drive the plot forward faster. There are too many stories required to explain the crux of the story, you have Daphneís and the book on the monk. You donít want viewers to get bogged down with lengthy explanations on how things work and have two stories explain one thing and it can come across as complex for some. The thing is we can go back and read whereas the movie you only get one chance and if a viewer missed it, then theyíre lost. It needs to be simplified.

I noticed in your genre you have family down. I couldnít help but notice certain action may cause a stir amongst parents and children. Firstly Brendan, suicide attempt as he plunges into the abyss of the library. At first I wasnít sure, I had to read it again. This might scare some. Then Hamiltonís attempt to cover drive Alfieís head off. Rather have him push him out of the way or something. A cricket bat seemed drastic.

Pg 41. ALFIE I just did tell you shouldnít it be I just told you.

About the accident. Iím confused a bit, Johnny was driving, he notices Frank and Tom through the broken windows from across the street. You mention that Frank was in the passenger seat than how did he think that the accident was his fault? Did Johnny put him in the driverís seat? Did Frank fly out of the car? As it is, canít see how Johnny blamed Frank. What becomes of Sophie, there was no conclusion on her.

Overall, youíve done a great job. With some polishing this can be a great script that would be hard to turn away. Youíre definitely onto something here. You have talent no doubt. I look forward to hearing more from this SP. Hope you find this review constructive. Thanks for the read. Best of luck.

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