12,000

We have over 12,000 students, from over 100 countries, within one of the safest campuses in the UK

93%

93% of Lancaster students go into work or further study within six months of graduating

Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Penning Dramatic Chance : Adaptation, Durrenmat...
View graph of relations

« Back

Penning Dramatic Chance : Adaptation, Durrenmatt, and The Pledge.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2004
JournalFilm Studies
Journal number1
Volume5
Number of pages14
Pages66-79
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

In Sean Penn's crime thriller The Pledge (2000), a crucial stage of story action is determined by a purely chance event. Neither prefigured by narrative signposting nor sutured into the film's system of causation, the chance event both mystifies the fictive agents and distresses audience expectation. This essay explores the issues at stake in the film's reliance on chance action, arguing that its usage represents a significant risk on the part of the dramaturgist. Moreover, the essay examines the alterations that the film makes in Friedrich Drrenmatt's source novel, and considers the ways in which these alterations radically transform the effects created by the story's chance event.