Movie structure

On a flight recently I had the chance to watch movies back-to-back, which was nice. Spotlight was powerful, and intense enough that I watched something less demanding afterwards. Daddy’s Home falls neatly into that category.

[SPOILER ALERT: It won’t be a lot, but there’ll be some discussion about concluding scenes]. 


Spotlight, as I said, is a powerful movie. It deals with a difficult topic, and it does it well.

There were a few things I found interesting, from a narrative perspective. One was the neatly constructed story arcs. The small team of journalists starts by investigating something. In each cycle, as they investigate further, there’s a complication – the story gets bigger and more complex, rather than smaller.

But the challenges of investigative journalism are only taken so far, and I think the movie does well in transitioning to a different dualism. It becomes a question of the insiders in a town, realising that they are becoming outcasts, shut out because they are daring to question the authorities. They are the only ones who can tell the story, because they’re insiders – but do it, they have to be cast out. It’s a story of social exile.

The final challenge, though, is a powerful one. As the journalists uncover more, they come up against the corruption of their church, their community, and finally – their own newspaper. They realise that the paper has had the pieces for years, but hasn’t put them together. That they have now unravelled the story doesn’t absolve them of the guilt they carry with them. It’s a powerful structure.

The movie deals well with a difficult, and complex topic. Definitely worth seeing, if you haven’t already.

Daddy’s Home

I’ve had a slightly unusual fascination with Will Ferrell since I discovered that he’s been working for a long time with Adam McKay, creator of The Big Short.

I don’t want to over-think what is, essentially, a Will Ferrell movie. Although I do have a gift for overthinking.

A mildly interesting part of the movie is the conflict it sets up between the two father figures; Will Ferrell is the essence of caring and nurturing, and Mark Wahlberg (acting the role to perfection) is power defined through strength. I liked, too, how the movie resolved that dichotomy, each adopting from the other, which felt a little neater than one simply beating the other. If you want something mildly amusing, there’s worse TV out there.


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