by KE Monahan Huntley

Ronin, John Frankenheimer's political thriller, is more Mission Impossible than his 1962 critically acclaimed The Manchurian Candidate. The objective characters (for the most part, mercenaries, terrorists, CIA, etc.), are barely sketched out. Expertise is their identification-what they answer to is an alias. Like the characters in this convoluted intrigue, the audience is challenged to conjecture: What the hell is going on?

Visually exciting, the objective story appears to intentionally revel in its intellectualized confusion--unfortunately to the audience's bewilderment. The potential relationship story is ambiguous as well. Little is known of the main character--less of the two possible influence characters. What elevates Ronin from standard action fare, however, is the restrained performances that lend believablity to the endeavor (objective story domain-physics).

Unlike the brilliant Manchurian Candidate, Ronin is not a Dramatica grand argument story. Or if it is, determining its structure is as perplexing as unraveling its plot.

About the Author

KE Monahan Huntley is an editor and publisher based in Southern California. As one of the original contributors to Dramatica, she helped edit and analyze many of the examples. In addition, her numerous articles provided an insightful "conversational" approach to the theory. Today she can be found at Write Between the Lines or follow her on Twitter @kemhuntley.

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