Watch: Why the Midway Point of a Screenplay is So Important

Michael Mann's Collateral demonstrates how a story's midway point is the key to characterization.

Having seen Michael Mann's thriller Collateral a few times now, I've always remembered how tight the movie seemed the first time I saw it, especially considering how big the production is. What I didn't remember was who directed the film (because with the exception, I guess, of Eyes Wide Shut and maybe The Color of Money, Tom Cruise movies always seem like, well, Tom Cruise movies.)

Of course, the director was none other than Michael Mann, which becomes super obvious once you realize that his restrained, stylized symmetry is all over this movie, accompanied by a terrific screenplay by Stuart Beattie.

In this video, Michael Tucker looks at how the film's midpoint (literally, the halfway mark of the film) functions as the hinge point where the film's plot and characters converge. In doing so, Tucker shows an elemental piece of storytelling wisdom neatly illustrated within this taut thriller.

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