If you want to know what powerful screen drama looks, feels and smells like, go see Before the Devil Knows You're Dead while it's in cinemas. Note the behaviour of the protagonists, two brothers played by Ethan Hawke and Phillip Seymour Hoffman - people of action (I don't mean in the Die Hard genre sense but in the true dramatic sense) who argue, make plans and put them into action to generally disastrous effect.
Do Australian film protagonists always behave like this? The lead character - a cop - of last year's Noise, superbly played by
Brendan Cowell , certainly didn't. Which is why I was intrigued to come across these comments from Cowell: "If you look at what a protagonist should be, it should be, if they don't get want they want, it's a huge crisis, whereas in Australia if they don't get what they want it's kind of alright. And that's the problem" - Brendan Cowell
Cowell is reiterating points made by interviewees in my January 2 piece for The Australian and in this blog on common Australian feature script problems. Cowell is quoted in a trailer for a documentary in production called Into The Shadows, which has its own website. (Thanks again to reader Syms Covington for drawing the film to my attention.)
Screenwriting teacher and script consultant Billy Marshall Stoneking, one of my interviewees in that original piece, now has his own website, Where's the Drama, devoted to screenwriting issues which I highly recommend.
Meanwhile here's more from Into the Shadows, starting with veteran director Bruce Beresford:
Producer-director Robert Connolly:
Independent distributor John L. Simpson (The Jammed):
Writer director Murali K. Thalluri (2:37) (incidentally, Murali - you accuse Australian filmmakers of making films the public doesn't want to see, including films about single mothers in the suburbs - but the public didn't want to see 2:37. Does that mean you were making the wrong film?):
Producer Sue Maslin (Japanese Story):
Director of MUFF (Melbourne Underground Film Festival) Richard Wolstencroft: