Breaking In: Bill Forsyth

Anthology inaugurates an ongoing series called FROM THE PEN OF… to spotlight that brutally neglected figure most often forgotten in the filmmaking process, namely the screenwriter. Famously devalued by cinephiles more prone to celebrating auteurs and actors, screenwriters are rarely honored with the likes of critical studies or repertory retrospectives.

While a few classic Hollywood scribes continue to earn attention (Ben Hecht, Preston Sturges, Dalton Trumbo, etc.), most have never received their fair share of credit or acknowledgment. This is particularly true of screenwriters who emerged hot on the heels of the demise of the studio system in the 1960s. While audiences may associate the works they penned more closely with particular directors, a closer study reveals that the sensibility and ingenuity of particular screenwriters shines through in each of these films.

 

Bill Forsyth BREAKING IN

1989, 94 minutes, 35mm. Screenplay by John Sayles. With Burt Reynolds and Casey Siemaszko.

The second American film by Scottish director Bill Forsyth (GREGORY’S GIRL, LOCAL HERO) portrays the relationship that ensues when professional thief Burt Reynolds and the younger, inexperienced Casey Siemaszko break into the same house. Reynolds decides to take the amateur crook under his wing, and the result is a charming, unexpectedly affecting comedy.

“A subtle, masterly film, a series of life lessons which never ducks the moral ironies, no less precious for their simplicity.” –TIME OUT