Many of you may already have read this great two parter narrative/structural breakdown of Die Hard by the always interesting Peter Ball, but for those who somehow missed it (I know I did until Sean Wright pointed it out), I’ve collected them here for you entertainment:
For our purposes, fuck the sequels; we’re talking about Die Hard number one. John McClain trapped in the NakatomiTowers with a bunch of terrorists. Perhaps the greatest action movie ever made, a masterpiece of narrative structure. The rest of this series is going to focus on pulling apart that structure, act by act, but for the moment I wanted to kick things off with an overview.
In the first part Peter gives us an overview of what to watch for in Die Hard:
- One Plot, Two Stories
- Three Act Structures FTW
- Metaphors Matter
Read the detail of part 1 here: http://www.petermball.com/2013/08/06/what-writers-ought-to-know-about-die-hard-part-one/
In the second part Peter really starts to dig into the movie. Through sheer coincidence, I watched Die Hard just a few nights before hearing about these posts, which made reading it helpful. As he warns:
What follows is a pretty close examination of the Die Hard‘s first act, which means we’re going to spend a whole bunch of words looking over what’s effectively just twenty minutes of film. This post will probably stand alone, but it builds on some of the things I mentioned last week.
And he’s not lying. He breaks down Act 1 in 2-3 minute movements. Totally worth reading for the analysis, which you can do here: http://www.petermball.com/2013/08/13/what-writers-ought-to-know-about-die-hard-part-two/
Peter hasn’t posted part three yet, but I’m keeping an eye out for it.