Doubt

It is commonly assumed, and regularly taught, that the key difference between playwriting and screenwriting is that the former tells the bulk of its story with words (it is dialogue-driven), while the latter relies more heavily on images (it is camera-driven). This may be true, but a less obvious difference is that onstage one needs words and performance to draw the audience’s attention to a certain spot or action (“Hey, look here!”), while onscreen all you need is a close-up or a camera move—the viewer can’t look anywhere else, no matter how much they might wish they could. It is a technique that served such visually teasing directors as Hitchcock and Polanski quite well, and it is at the heart of the film adaptation of Doubt, a 2004 Pulitzer Prize–winning play by John Patrick Shanley.

 

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