No, Other Ira at 2012-06-25 16:29:11:
Scott, the following is not a response to what you wrote about theme. Indeed, I like what you wrote. But on the general topic of "theme", and with tonight's tweet-fest with script readers, I'm inspired to offer a comment.
As with many aspects of script/film analysis, there often appears to be a failure to acknowledge retrospection.
I recently read an amateur's first 3 pages posted at another site and the comments that an established pro provided. The amateur's opening scene does evoke a Tarantino opening.
The pro wrote:
"Here's the thing about Tarantino: it all seems like aimless banter, but it's not. It's very intentional, it's almost always about theme, it's almost always about lies and truth and philosophy and power and weakness within a moment."
But as I read the opening of "Reservoir Dogs" or "Pulp Fiction", while I like what I read... How could I or anyone know at the moment that Tarantino is establishing the movie's theme?
Seems to me that the only way to know if an opening scene fails as a theme-setter is to first read the rest of the script and then (re)consider the opening scene.
Sure, the first 3 pages of many scripts stand well on their own, but in many good scripts those opening pages can appear not-so-good. Wordy. Too many details. Too many characters. Nothing happens.
For example (as to some of those "bad" elements), like the opening pages of "Ordinary People". Actually, even the opening of "Reservoir Dogs" seems a bit wrong as it's being read. Oh, but then as things develop...