Writers have it tough in the film business. According to a few books I've read, they rank just below the Producer in terms of importance in getting the film made. That would be impressive if it weren't for the fact that Producers rank somewhere near the bottom. Directors often say they'll toss a script (and the Writer's ego) while making their movie.
To the writers rescue comes Frank Miller. He brings with him his movie The Spirit, which he created as both writer and director. Frank Miller has succeeded where great screenwriters like William Goldman and Paul Schrader have all failed. He has proven, single-handedly, the importance of screenwriters to cinema. He had a brilliant and elegant recipe on how to do this: Terrific visuals. Terrible script.
Here's the plot: the bad guy wants to be a god. The good guy has to stop him. They fight and taunt each other. Oh, and there are women in this movie who are sexy and lovelorn. If there was ever a time to toss a script, this was it.
Because of Miller I now know that mesmerizing images do not guarantee that a movie will be watchable. Visually, Frank has made art. But the acuity of Miller's eye doesn't help the obtuse vision he had for The Spirit. Somewhere along the way, this movie lost its soul. Or maybe it just lost its story.
The Octopus: "I had you beat, just like eggs." The Spirit: "The hell you did!" Short Attention Span Summary (SASS): 1. Cop (Gabriel Macht) dies, but returns to fight crime in Central City for another day (and another, and so on) 2. Ridiculously campy bad guy "The Octopus" (Samuel L. Jackson) claims to have eight of everything, except maybe free range chicken eggs. 3. Criminal seductress Sand Saref (Eva Mendes) hates … more