Review of: Slave 

reviewed by samnorton on 11/23/2007
Credited Review
samnorton
On "Slave" Credited Review
I want to commend you off the bat, because it's unusual to read a script so structurally sound. However, with that said, it's never impossible to be critical and I'll do my best.

I'll start with a small detail, but an important one. I want to put forward an argument for you to change the name of "Lesbos". There are a few reasons for this - Firstly, I've heard it before on the British sitcom Coupling (which I believe was horribly butchered in America) and secondly it's too jokey. It breaks the tone of the film, which up until this point doesn't crack gags. By using the term "Lesbos" in this situation you're harming your story more than serving it. Trust me on this. What's more, it's not going to get a laugh because the audience isn't primed for it. Instead you're pulling us out of the story and undercutting the authenticity of the culture on the island.

Next up. "Nigger Whore". P.14. I've been thinking over this long and hard. When I first read the line in the script I couldn't help but stop reading, skip over to my note pad and write "Whoa! Where did that come from?". However, having finished the story and had time to let it sink in, I do understand why it's used. I get the need to make both cultures seem as damaging as each other and lets face it, this character exists to get killed off. Nonetheless, something still doesn't sit right with me and I think it's because of what I'm going to call the "Whoa!" factor. The line is so abrupt, so sudden and unexpected in the script that it really hit me. Up until this point, I don't think there has been any racism really expressed. I understand that we are in the past and that it's bubbling under the surface, but because this is the very first real instance and because it's so raw I feel like it's too shocking. Also, there's no way in hell this would get past a censor, not as it is. I think if you're going to do it, either tone it down or give us stepping stones so it's not so plain shocking when it happens. It's okay for characters to be racist, but only if we already hate them. In this case, sure he's called a woman a whore in the past but he's been on the end of a lot of hardship and that somewhat balances out our empathy to him.

So those are my two specifics. Now I want to tackle structure like i think an employed script reader might. I've been looking over a few reports lately and the thing which strikes me is just how damn critical they are when it comes to a certain few details. As I've said, I think your structure is very strong; everything is tied together very professionally, but I can't help but wonder if they would comment your protagonists motivations in the opening war scene. For what reason would he choose to be a war photographer and why would he have such a positive demeanour about it? I understand from his dialogue at the end that he thinks it's pointless, but his body language is positively chipper and lines like "Lovely weather, isn't it" don't help that.

Also, on page 84 Brady says "Then why haven't you tried to run? You're a coward. Just like me". I don't buy this speech because you've shown that his motivation for not running isn't cowardice, but loyalty.

I think that's the best I can do when it comes to criticising here. I took some notes whilst reading, but they're very minimal. It's nice to see a blue star I fully agree with.

NOTES:

P.4 - You mention Sammy is too weakened to do anything then in the parenthesis you say he speaks weakly.

P.8 - I don't like the word "erasing" in this context.

P.9 - A silent eulogy? A eulogy is a speech is it not?

P.14 - "Nigger Whore" comes suddenly and I feel that it's too hard for me. I get that his but I have to think that the term "nigger whore" would get cut if it were ever to get put on the screen anyway. Especially as it's so abrupt.

P.87 - "Your daughter?" (ditch the line, we don't need it because the last time we cut from this scene it ended on the same line)

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