Friday, March 20, 2009
"A good mystery flick (or more precisely a good what-the-fuck-is-going-on? movie) is supposed to work on a dog-race principle. The audience is the dog pack and the stuff you're trying to figure out is the artificial rabbit. The rabbit is always supposed to be just ahead of the dogs, but never so far ahead so that they lose hope and start to give up."
From Jeff Wells via Hollywood Elsewhere. (He's talking about Tony Gilroy's Duplicity which I'd like to get out there and see sometime in the near future)
I echoed a similar sentiment in my review of Potter's Field.
What are some other mysteries out there that followed this principle?
North by Northwest pretty much plays by the rules before laying everything out for the viewer.
Chinatown cheats too much to qualify but is still an excellent based on performances and veracity.
Memento is all about the trick and the trap -- the mechanics of the thing and intentionally keeping all the details from the viewer.
Red Dragon wasn't a particularly good movie but it made the viewers in the back row feel smart and with the current so on that level it worked.
How about some others?