Sample Sales Coverage: (Cont'd):  Fall Creek / Page 5

COMMENTS (Second Page)

The three-act structure is clearly evident, with the central conflict (the massacre) immediately and clearly established in the first act; the second act barraging us with conflict after conflict and finally resolving the primary contention; and the third act fully resolving its central conflict (the trial) and bringing all the subplots and storylines to a succinct close.  Scene changes are seamless and causal.  The emotional resolution and the thematic resolution occur simultaneously, following a well-timed climax that incorporates a resurrection motif.  The author resourcefully introduces the third act tension in the second act, causing us to look forward to the next challenge in the story.  The presence of the Indian warriors is not fully shown at first, creating a magnified feeling of peril, and when we finally see the actual warriors, the impact is powerful because of their gradual unveiling that went before. The secret of the boy, Ben, is introduced step-by-step and is fully exposed with an emotional punch.  The subplots all naturally intersect with the main plot.  The romance angle (Hannah and Fort) is interwoven with the dramatic action and never slows the pace (as romantic scenes are want to do).  Set-ups (especially the decimated condition of the murdered Indians) are all explained with a clarity that heightens our emotions. 

 The characters are authentic and embody the mental and emotional constitutions of people from the 1800's in America.  The protagonist, Caleb, is a caring, brave, and humble man who is willing to sacrifice himself for others, a modest preacher who does not bowl us over with his sermons and to whom we immediately take a liking.  The antagonist, Clasby, although he is a mean instigator, whom we enjoy seeing receive his comeuppance, and who exhibits proclivities for drink, licentiousness, and cunning, is not a shallow villain, being that he displays his own version of compassion and is willing to risk his life for what he believes in.  Lute and Ora both stand out as remarkably staunch and courageous people.  Hannah is a sensitive young woman with pluck.  Fort is considerate and affectionate, a sharp lawyer whom we root for as he wins points over ignorance and prejudice.  Senator Stuart is a formidable legal opponent who waxes sentimentally bombastic, a trait we love to boo.  Many of the Indians (especially Lone Pawn and Black Antler) come across as evolved, mindful, and generous individuals who inspire us.  Reba is a believably wicked and depraved woman.  Judge McGowan plays his role as commentator on justice with a sophisticated flair.

Dialogue is expertly realistic in terms of the period’s regional vernacular and sings with pointed repartee and a “frontier style.” Characters often repeat another character’s words, giving new meaning to them, and thereby creating smooth and thought-provoking, alternating exchanges.  Nuance is prevalent and is mixed with candid declarations, which befit the guileless personalities of those times.  Voices are original and distinct for each character.  Combining the lawyers’ examinations with theatrical speeches to the jury effectively compresses the time in court.

“Fall Creek” is a western with heart, a heart of mercy which tenderly encourages us to question our American imperiousness by offering a tantalizing tale that deepens our compassion as it entertains (an excellent combination for a film audience).


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