[Quick Summary: A thief and a p.i. witness witness a female body being dumped, which leads to an unruly L.A. mystery.]
I really liked this script because Harry (thief) is a first rate raconteur.
His dialogue is fast, off the seat of the pants, and effective. It gets him out of the most absurd situations.
I just couldn't stop reading, so why does it work so well?
One reason may be the scene structure, i.e., solid setups and payoffs.
The dialogue can be extreme and outlandish AS LONG AS the structure holds it together:
ex. Harry and his partner rob a toy store. His partner is shot and killed.
- Harry runs and is wounded. [Setup is that Harry is running scared]
- He runs into a building and opens a random door to a casting call.
- Sweaty and bloody, he is still picked for the next audition. [Twist]
- He goes along with it because a cop is searching the building. [Increased stakes]
- The audition scene is a confrontation between the police and a killer (Harry). [Callback to when Harry's partner was shot.]
- Harry reads the lines, which could easily be his own confession. He falls apart. [Payoff]
- Harry is so convincing that he is hired. [Payoff of dialogue being so great]
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Always, always, always structure first.
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)
by Shane Black