Posted tagged ‘Omniscience’

Lieutenant Columbo endings

June 18, 2011

Two films. Two stories that are well-known. Two different takes.

The problem with making a film called Titanic is that every man and his panther knows the ending. No amount of characterisation and intrigue or the romance between Kate and William Leo stops you from wondering when the iceberg will appear. And when the big ice cube does hit the ship filmgoers think, about time too.

Senna the movie has the same problem most biographical stories have. If you know your subject, there are no surprises. This does not take away the gripping chequered-flagged finale. An on board camera films Senna’s last lap. The hairs on the back of your neck tingle for two minutes as you await the shocking denouement. Knowing the inevitable makes this vehicle more thrilling. Two films. Two different takes.

Ayrton Senna was an absolute master at driving in wet conditions. I would go so far to say that in all probability he could have driven his McLaren Honda over the Atlantic. He would have danced his automobile with white bears, iced icebergs, glided over the water with the complete control of a messiah. Miraculous and inspiring this fictional endeavour could be the greatest film ever told. All it needs is an ending. And a decent script, possibly.

With the script at the embryonic stage let’s tenuously move on. There are no Schubertian jokes. All jokes are finished and have an ending. New jokes are rare; arthritic oldies are regularly brought out of retirement. A friend could be halfway through a joke before you remember you’ve heard it before. In this instance, people react differently. Some will interrupt the comedian, thawing him in full flow with the cattling “herd it”. The more humane will let the joke run its course and laugh like a steam engine. A few will wait to almost the end before blurting out the punch line utterly destroying the comic’s timing. Nobody likes the third camp.

A satisfactory ending is paramount; although I’ve always been a 20th Century Fox man myself. The to be continued cop-out is not an option neither is a pass the parcel “Here is the weather report” or an unoriginal: The End. Therefore, in true intellectual writer status that I have fought hard to attain, I’ll leave with an unfinished joke.

Darth Vader meets The Dalai Lama on the frozen wastes of the Planet Hoth and says…