Dramatic Repeat

For the record, let’s get one thing; I can separate fact from fiction. I know that movies don’t always depict real life accurately, and there’s a required level of suspension of disbelief. You won’t find me storming message boards, ranting about how ludicrous the fact that the costumes were made out of a poly-cotton blend in The Ten Commandments or anything like that.

Still, there’s one thing in the cinematic world which is passed off as absolutely normal in just about every courtroom drama or dramatic thriller that just gets to me for some reason. That, my friends, is what I like to call “the dramatic repeat.” You know those scenes where the hero or heroine are scrambling to diffuse a bomb or some equally out there situation and their sidekick looks at them and screams, “There’s no time! There’s no time!” Granted this predicament (hopefully) isn’t one that too many of us are faced with, but honestly, what good comes of repeating that?

I know, I know, it’s a stressful situation so you may not be thinking clearly and you may be frantic, which might account for the dramatic repeat, but I just have to say, it doesn’t seem like it’s that helpful. Now if the person shouts “There’s no time!” and the hero replies “What was that? I can’t quite hear you over the dramatic score and the crazy loud dramatic ticking of the bomb!” then I could see the reason for a repeat. But maybe that’s just me…

The mai problem is that this is a verbal epidemic that is sweeping more than just awesomely cheesy action movies. It’s also become a favorite of the courtroom drama. When a witness is on the stand and asked a question like, “Did you see the victim alive after that night?” and the obviously traumatized says, “No… No, I did not.” Now, this is a different kind of dramatic repeat, because the second time around they expand on the first part. Sure, I guess this happens sometimes. Although I’m pretty sure in court, you typically want to answer just “yes” or “no” for the attorneys, but that’s a whole other thing. Still, for the number of times it happens per courtroom drama, I imagine it happens maybe once in real life.

But there you have it again, movies embellishing real life. It’s certainly nothing new, but it’s always weird how frequently I see the dramatic repeat in movies (and if you think about it, I bet you’ll start noticing it too) compared to how often it happens in real life. That’s not to say it never happens, although I can’t come up with too many reasons why it should… But I guess that’s just the way it goes.


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