Written By by Jessi Thind & Mathieu Larivière
“You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.” What’s likely the most famous line from the great 1890 Kipling poem describes not only the script for the movie with the same name (by Jessi Thind & Mathieu Larivière) but also digs right for the core of the story itself.
If you ever had the chance to spend around 15 minutes reading and digesting Kipling’s poem, you’ll know it’s a poem of great rhythm, language mastery, and storytelling. The introduction, twist, plot building, and grand conclusion that leaves you wondering. Everything a modern scriptwriter or writer of any sort should strive to is in that poem.
So if you decide to title your movie by the great poem Gunga Din, you better deliver. It’s setting the bar pretty high. Luckily, the Gunga Din script by Thind and Larivière delivers and a bit more.
Starting in Afghanistan, we’re introduced to a bunch of American soldiers on a mission, led by Samantha. Although that doesn’t sound too thrilling, and it’s not something you haven’t heard, read, or seen before, it proves it’s not about what you write, but how you write it.
The introduction to the story (and the rest of the script) could’ve easily fallen in the bland section of the movie history archive, but instead, it rises above. With the perfect pacing, descriptive sentences, and imaginative character introduction, the painting comes to life.
All the unnecessary fat is cut out and what’s left is pure narrative action. Being a script, the technicalities such as scenery descriptions are clear, making the entire screenplay easy to transfer to a live-action movie.
Usually, scripts come with either unnecessary fat or plot holes that disturb the story timeline or the characters’ motives. What can be a great movie ends up being a mess neither the reader (viewer) can enjoy, nor a filmmaker can make use of. In the case of Gunga Din, the opposite is true. Everything is in pristine condition, thanks to the writers’ capability and what can be imagined as a clear goal.
As the story moves forward, it goes from one action scene to another. To indulge in a bit of nitpicking, some minor scenes do come as cliches you’d expect from an action movie. Nevertheless, even these moments feel natural when you go through the overall story and don’t take away from getting immersed in the story.
As scenes progress and about halfway into the story, you can expect, even know, what you’re in for. A solid action movie with a great protagonist, her crew, and a mysterious man–namely Gunga Din.
This is the part where if ever a filmmaker decides to turn this into a movie (which definitely must happen), needs to be careful. Because although the script is meant as an action-packed story, at one point, Thind and Larivière decide to switch it up a bit. Not too much, but enough to keep the dynamic going and avoid plain, predictable boredom of the ‘80s and early ‘90s Rambo-like blockbusters. It worked then, not 35 years later.
Fortunately, the duo has a couple of aces in their sleeves they decide to sprinkle across the story. This ensures a thrillful ride from the beginning to the very end.
Overall, the script for Gunga Din by Jessi Thind & Mathieu Larivière is a great piece of storytelling that deserves to be on the big screen. It’s clear that they put all their time and skills into making the story work, both for the audience and the possible filmmaker that will one day turn the script into a movie.
Gunga Din is a better man than the British soldier in Rudyard Kipling’s poem. The same as the Gunga Din script is better than most of the indie movie scripts that come along ever so often. The writing is immaculate, the characters are relatable, and… When the story works, it works. Just read the poem and if you like it, you’ll love this movie when it comes out.