I was just watching Midnight Run.
Actually, I haven't watched it in almost a year, if I'm being honest. But I was just THINKING about it. One of the all time great movies. A perfect movie.
I sometimes wondered if there would ever be a sequel to it…and it turns out there were like three sequels. And a TV series pilot. None of them worked out. That movie was lightning in a bottle. It's been ripped off a lot, but never matched.
But that's not why I called you here today…
One of the many great scenes that comes to mind in that flick is the one right before the final act, when bounty hunter Jack Walsh (Robert DeNiro in his greatest role ever, and I'll go to the grave with that opinion, dammit!) reveals the fallout that led him to leaving his job as a cop, leaving his family, and becoming the cranky “scumbag” we've been watching for the entire movie.
He reveals his ‘wound’.
Many great protagonists have some kind of wound: something that happened before the story begins that shaped the person they are.
And throughout the story they heal, or become a better person. Or not.
That scene, right before the final act, also appears in “Star Trek First Contact”, when Picard talks about his horrific experience with the Borg that created his deep hatred of them. It's a VERY similar moment. Al Pacino reveals a secret in “Insomnia” at the same point in that story. Will in Good Will Hunting has the same moment.
It appears in “Serving Sara”, the Matthew Perry movie, which is a complete ripoff of Midnight Run.
The scene is laughably corny in that movie, and the movie is horrible, too. But that's a whole other discussion.
We don't necessarily need that scene where the wound is spelled out by the Protagonist, but adding a wound to your hero is a great way to give them some edge. Something that makes them who they are, hopefully giving them a flawed way of seeing the world.
This can be a great way to make your Protagonist more interesting…and more human!
Sydney in SCREAM has the murdered Mom. Jack in The Shining has his many demons. Heroes like Shrek, Beatrix Kiddo, Kimber Lee Luster, Tony Stark, and Hamlet all have wounds to deal with.
Do your characters have wounds from before their story begins? Who are your favorite wounded characters? And have you seen “Midnight Run”?
What?!? You haven't? You've gotta see it! Go see it right now!
Don't make me wound you!
Banes at 12:00AM, June 23, 2016
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