The thing that upsets me most about a film is a failure of logic.
A movie is supposed to transport the audience to another world. At its best, it should make us almost forget our own world. I brought Charlie to Paddington 2 a month ago. In the middle of the movie, he bolted upright in his seat and shouted, "Wo! I almost forgot who I was!"
I loved this moment so much. What he really meant was that he forgot where he was. In his mind, he was existing within the movie.
That is magic.
This is why we cry at scenes that our objective minds know never happened. Two people - actors who we've already seen pretending to be other people in other movies -are pretending to be two people in a moment that never actually happened.
We know all this, yet still we weep.
This is what makes stories great. It's what makes movies great. It's magic.
A failure of logic destroys that magic. When something illogical happens in a movie, you find yourself wondering questions like:
Why did that happen?
Why did she do that?
Isn't anyone in this movie going to notice this?
Why don't they just do that?
The magic is broken. I don't get to almost forget who I am. Instead, I find myself wondering what is wrong with these people.
I watched Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri last night with Elysha. A film that scored a number of Academy Award nominations and a handful of victories.
Boy did I love the performances in that movie. Woody Harrelson the most.
Boy did I hate that movie.
Why? Logic. Or a lack thereof.
Without giving away any spoilers, below is a list of fallacies of logic that ruined the possible magic of the movie for me. They are the fallacies of logic that I believe should've ruined the movie for everyone.
- Police stations have back doors. All buildings have back doors. This is a basic fire safety requirement. No building in the world has a single exit. Especially a public building.
- People who commit assault - in some cases multiple times - are prosecuted for their crimes. This includes assault against dentists, teenagers, salespeople, secretaries, and former police officers. You don't get to walk through the world unscathed and unfettered after brutally assaulting other human beings repeatedly.
- Crime victims and their assailants are not placed in the same hospital room during their recovery.
- Police officers whose employment has been terminated are not encouraged to return to station late at night after everyone has gone home in order to retrieve their mail using keys that no one has bothered to collect. Also, do police stations ever really close? Even in a small town, doesn't someone answer calls at all hours?
- People who are dying and leaving behind a beloved wife and small children don't spend large sums of money on amusing acts of petty revenge. They leave that money for their family.
For all of these reasons, I never believed this movie. At every turn, I found myself saying:
"What? This makes no sense?"
At that point, I was no longer captivated by the magic of the film. I was distracted by the obvious fallacies of logic.
Movies also are permitted a coincidence, but they only get one. One coincidence per film. More than one coincidence causes the audience to wonder what the hell kind of world these characters are inhabiting. More than one coincidence reminds the audience that this story isn't real. It was written by human beings who chose to manipulate events in a way that feels unreal and dishonest.
More than one coincidence makes it feel like the writers cheated, because they did.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri relies on a hell of a lot of coincidence. More than the permitted one.
The movie was also nominated for best screenplay.
That makes no sense to me.
The performances were brilliant. The cinematography was top notch. I loved the score.
But the screenplay? No. You don't get to put a police station in your movie with no back door and be nominated for an Academy Award. You don't get to create a world where assault goes ignored again and again and be considered great.
Movies require logic. This movie did not have any.
Just one writers opinion.