The two film screenplays I will compare are American Gangster and The Bourne Ultimatum.
I will be analysing for factors such as motifs (recurrent themes that appear throughout the film), dramatic tension (tension built up in the screenplay) and dangling clauses (actions performed that are left to the viewer to interpret for themselves).
American Gangster is a film set in the sixties, it is about a middle aged, black American gangster named Frank who earns his money through selling heroin in the USA. He is the number one importer in Manhattan, he then moves importation to Hong Kong which allows him to lower his pricing, using the US army’s coffins to import the heroine.
At the same time this is all going on there is one honest police man who is trying his best to track Frank and his fellow gangsters but is struggling to do so with his corrupt colleagues.
Bourne Ultimatum is a film about a man called Jason Bourne who is a government experiment, a trained killer, and he is on the run from the ruthless CIA who are trying to keep the experiment out of the public eye. Bourne dodges the bullet many times on the hunt for the origins of his life before his identity was removed and his memory erased.
Firstly in American gangster the screenplay paints action to the viewer by the description of a man “emerging” from the car. This shows us that this man has a confident presence about him. The viewer may feel a sense of intimidation from this character’s presence and we can take it that he is feared within society.
In The Bourne Ultimatum the writer paints action as Jason Bourne is described to be “staggering” in his movement which suggests to the viewer that he is injured or hurt. This makes us feel sympathy for Bourne as he is innocently on the run from the CIA (you would know this if you had watched the previous film, The Bourne Identity).
From the start of American Gangster a motif of violence is planted by the writer when the mysterious man enters a small basement jazz club, then “calmly” shoots two of the men sat in the club. This is a recurrent theme in the film American gangster, and is paid off when the violence unveils to be between rival gangsters fighting for punters for their heroine that they are importing.
Similarly in The Bourne Ultimatum a motif of violence is planted “BOURNE is badly wounded -- shot through the shoulder” this is also a recurrent theme throughout The Bourne Ultimatum and is paid off when we soon find out that Bourne is being hunted down by the CIA and they are ruthlessly trying to kill him as soon as they can.
In the prologue of American Gangster a dangling clause is presented to the viewer when the unknown man enters the Jazz basement then shoots the men that are present, “Calmly shoots them and exits.” The reason why the two men were shot is left a mystery to the reader/viewer and also who this unknown man actually is, and why he seems to be above the law. This is a dangling clause in a sense because the reader is left asking questions about what has just taken place and the reason for it is not yet revealed.
Also in The Bourne Ultimatum there is a dangling clause at the beginning as to why Jason Bourne is on the run from the police,
“We are JASON BOURNE and we’re running down an alley...BLUE LIGHTS -- from the distance -- strobing through the night -- rushing toward us -- POLICE CARS -- three of them -- SIRENS HOWLING as they bear down -- closer -- faster -- until they whip past the alley...”
This shows the viewer/reader that Jason Bourne is hiding from the police down an alley way as the police hunt for him in the dark night; the viewers are unknown as to why Jason Bourne is on the run.
2 Short films comparison
The two short films I will compare are the last word and a film called “Sticks and Stones”
The last word is a film about a young boy attending his father’s funeral with his mother and how he died in a car crash from using his