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The Forgotten Oscars 2011

By MICHAEL NEEL  |  February 28, 2011

Best Original Screenplay: J. Blakeson for The Disappearance of Alice Creed
Release Date: August 6 (limited)

You're probably asking yourself "The What of Whom"? Chances are you've never heard of this movie, let alone seen it, so here's the story in 140 characters or less: two crooks kidnap a girl, hold her for ransom, and things go awry. Sounds like about a million other lame-ass crime movies you've seen, right? But the difference is in the storytelling: Alice Creed strips away the explosions, car chases, and Steven Seagal, and sticks three compelling characters in a small apartment with a cell phone, a pistol, a pair of handcuffs, and one troublesome bullet shell. What we're left with is a clinic in filmmaking minimalism that showcases what really matters in any film: characters, story, and acting.

The script gradually exposes each character's true motivations and consistently surprises us with plot twists that are genuinely shocking but completely logical. What's more, Blakeson makes full use of each prop at his disposal: he doesn't just use the cell phone or bullet casing once, but continually re-integrates them into the story in new and meaningful ways. Blakeson's approach forces him to thoroughly develop the story, and as a result the movie is a deep, engaging experience. Budding screenwriters (and many established ones) should study this film to learn how to get the most out of a screenplay.

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  Topics: Features , Hollywood, Movies, Adam Green,  More more >
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