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STEFANO BOSCUTTI is an award-winning writer and director.
He loves stories about true mavericks and outsiders who want to change the world. Larger than life characters who either wildly succeed or go down in flames. (Often both at the same time.) Boscutti's stories are usually laced with humor and a ton of irony.
on June 26, 2012 :
Most of Stefano Boscutti's work is laced with humor, albeit often a dark, grim, humor. This screenplay doesn't have any of that. It's a disturbing, nightmarish thriller about a psychopathic preacher and two young children.
If you're anything of a film buff, you'll immediately recognize the plot from the classic Robert Mitchum movie, Night of the Hunter. What you may not realize is that the movie was based on a novel, and the novel was in turn based on the true story of the murderer Harry Powers, hanged in West Virginia in 1932. John Harper draws more fom the novel and the real events than it does from the 1955 film. This is something I always enjoy about Boscutti's work - his ability to find true events that really are stranger than fiction and make stories about them. Take a look at his Elvis Presley screenplay, for example, which is about Elvis going on an insane drug-fueled jaunt to visit Nixon.
The dialog throughout is magnificent. It captures the period and the region perfectly, and the characters speak with an authentic voice. Boscutti doesn't go in for anything too complex: he just writes it like they'd say it, and as a result you can feel exactly what he's conveying. When you're reading it, see if you can get hold of a collection of Blind Willie Johnson recordings. Almost every scene uses music by the old blues master, and it'll give you an extra sense of the atmosphere if you can listen to John the Revelator or Bottles, Knives and Steel as you go.
This is perhaps Boscutti's most powerful work to date. If they ever remake Night of the Hunter, this would be a good script to start from.
(reviewed the day of purchase)