A way to re-live favorite films and enjoy them for their stories, screenplays are often overlooked when it comes to reading for pleasure. Equally enticing and often a better source to understand the complexities of a plot, here are essential screenplays of popular contemporary films that, upon release, made quite an impact in the theatres, especially for their novel and captivating storylines.
The Coen brothers' Fargo is a timeless tale of mystery, crime, and family drama, laden with dark humor, eccentric personalities, and an American Midwestern setting that takes on a spirit of its own. The story based on real events, with fictional elements, is proof of the director duo's talent when it comes to writing a tightly woven, but at the same time fiendishly fun, narrative. The screenplay reads like a charm, making every character's quirkiness jump out of the pages, in a way that anyone can enjoy reading it, irrespective of whether they have watched the movie or not.
Three friends in an Edinburgh apartment, a dead body, and a suitcase full of cash; the foundation of John Hodge's Shallow Grave is melancholically sinister and experiments with themes of friendships and desires in their rawest form. The screenplay captures the mania and phobia that emerges in the three main characters, each one with a distinct temperament, and adds the element of dread to a tale that is as thought-provoking as it is witty. If you've seen the film, it's easy to imagine the actors speak the lines. If not, the book allows the reader to conjure up their own opinions about the people involved, while also appreciating the morbid humor that lingers throughout the script.
A boxset compilation of Vishal Bhardwaj's most riveting films; Maqbool, Haider, and Omkara are equally compelling in their influence on paper as they are on the screen. Based on William Shakespeare's Macbeth, Hamlet, and Othello respectively, Bhardwaj seizes the audience and reader's fascination by transporting the characters of the brad's classic tales to homegrown Indian settings, giving them a rare, renewed, and present-day appeal. From Mumbai to Kashmir and the heartlands of Uttar Pradesh, each story is meticulous in its approach, honest to the source material, and exceptional in its dramatic quotient. Surprisingly, the English translations work equally well, never letting go of the psychological traits that make these stories unmissable reads.
A beautiful account of newfound romance and a look at life's unexpected pleasures, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset emphasize on the notion that we can find love at any time and in the most unlikely of places. The dialogue-heavy films feature two strangers, one from America and the other from France, meeting and spending time in Vienna and Paris, both of which form an idyllic background for the budding love between Jesse and Celine. As the characters engage and discuss life and its many intricacies, the screenplay acts as a gentle reminder that, in the end, debate, discussion, and acceptance is always the path to everlasting love.
Pick any Tarantino screenplay, and you are in for a treat. However, The Hateful Eight is one of his underrated character-driven gems packed with sharp dialogue and intelligent storytelling. A suspenseful plot of strangers stuck in a traveler's lodge eccentrically named Minnie's Haberdashery, Tarantino fans will appreciate that the screenplay comes with added dialogue, parts that didn't make it in the film. This gives the script a slightly more detailed perspective and helps explain some of the events in the movie. Crisp, at times amusing, and a delight to read, The Hateful Eight is definitive Tarantino in terms of its composition and execution, and the screenplay, very much like the final film, does not disappoint.