03-13-2008, 08:19 AM
I watched "No Country for Old Men" last night. Powerful film. For such an action-oriented and violent film it struck me though how simple the plot was, no real high concept involved-- the plot was basically a search/recovery (of money) plot, also a survival (from killer) plot. No 'high concept' e.g. US President kidnapped on Air Force One. It was the incredible 3D characterization that made it such a good film. A good reminder how even a simple plot can be made into a great story for film if the characters are well developed. The ending also broke the rules (I don't want to give anything away so I will not say); odd, because I just watched "Once" (musical indie) that also broke the rules for the ending.
03-19-2008, 04:20 PM
Well, high concepts aren't plots anyway, and usually end up having really basic cookie-cutter plots hung onto them, much the same way you hang a coat on a hanger. This isn't necessarily a bad thing - 40 Year Old Virgin is a perfect example of a high concept film with a basic Romantic Comedy plot hung on it, which also happens to be pretty good. Character pieces like Coen Brothers do (and, not to give away any of their other films but...that's actually a pretty typical ending for them ;) ) are actually much more complicated to write, because you no longer have the convenience of a predictable story structure to lead you to the finale. Instead, the characters lead the way, and that's never a straight line (unless you're a crappy writer, that is). On the other hand, because it's character driven, the actual plot isn't given the same prominence you find in typical genre flicks. So they tend to appear 'simpler' or 'smaller in scope' when viewed by the audience. But with actual creation, I'm sure you'll find that this is, in fact, not the case at all.
Are they better? That completely depends on what story you're trying to tell. Or, more accurately, it depends on whether you're trying to tell us a story...or tell us about a character. :D
03-19-2008, 04:37 PM
And personally, I think the thing to remember is that both have their own merits. I do think there is something to be said for the simple plot. I think they have a neccesary place in the universe of cinema. It's just when they overshadow the stuff that tries a little harder that you run into problems.