Writing duo Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal set their sights pretty high when they concocted the screen story for TRON: Legacy – by attempting to weave a complex tapestry of sci-fi mythology, chock-full of subtext about evolution, technology, religion, and everything in between.
That duo’s philosophical interests may have ultimately exceeded their grasp on coherent storytelling with the TRON sequel, but Klugman and Sternthal remain as ambitious as ever with their new writing/directing effort: The Words, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival (to a mixed reception).
The Words tells the tale of Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper), a struggling writer who eventually achieves the success he so desperately wants – by taking credit for another author’s manuscript, which was written many years before. However, Rory’s guilty conscience eventually begins to affect him in unexpected ways.
Rounding out the cast are such big-names as Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde, Dennis Quaid, J.K. Simmons and Jeremy Irons as a mysterious elderly figure. The film’s supporting cast also includes a handful of recognizable faces, including Ben Barnes (Chronicles of Narnia) and John Hannah (Spartacus: Blood and Sand).
Going by the trailer, The Words‘ central narrative concerns the couple played by Cooper and Saldana – juxtaposed against flashbacks to the experiences of Barnes’ writer character, in the past – and filled out with an additional subplot involving Quaid and Wilde, which eventually overlaps with the primary storyline.
Bradley Cooper and Zoe Saldana in 'The Words'
If you’re struggling to understand just what The Words is about, even after watching the trailer – you’re not alone. Jokes aside, though, that footage does illustrate how difficult a task Klugman and Sternthal set for themselves.
Early word of mouth, as mentioned before, is that Klugman and Sternthal don’t manage to juggle the various plot threads and themes raised in The Words with grace. Still, when you take the solid cast into consideration – along with some interesting ideas about creativity – the film could still be worth a look.
As for Rory Jansen: it’s too bad he doesn’t have any NZT (ie. the drug taken by Cooper’s character in Limitless).
The Words begins a theatrical release in the U.S. on September 21st, 2012.