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Night Film > Question #2: Scott McGrath

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 06, 2014 10:07AM) (new)

From a review in theguardian.com: “Enter our hero and narrator, disgraced fortysomething writer Scott McGrath, who decides to investigate.

I say ‘hero’, but Scott is plainly a bit of an idiot. On the basis of a single anonymous phone call he had once – on live TV – more or less accused Cordova of being a child-murderer, and was then surprised to find his life falling apart and the work drying up. And for a once-successful magazine journalist, he's an alarmingly bad writer.” (http://tinyurl.com/nvnqmtw)

Is Scott an idiot, or did you like him? Did your impressions of him change over the course of reading the book? Can you share any examples of his writing that you considered to be particularly good or bad?


Emily Burns (emilymelissabee) | 124 comments Mod
Scott frustrated me a lot. I could have been on the fence about him being an idiot until (view spoiler). That was just too much!

On the other hand, he was such a good anchor to this plot - so stubborn, so willing to put himself in danger to solve this grand mystery, to the point of obsession - the novel wouldn't have been what it was without him being kind of an idiot about this! I'm interested to hear what others have to say.


Kate (arwen_kenobi) | 100 comments Mod
He really is a frustrating character but I found I was glad that he was - most sane people would have left everything well enough alone! Especially considering the last time he tried to 'investigate' Cordova. I liked that he was frustrating and I liked that he essentially stayed that way through the whole book. He has his moments of (sort of) clarity but I don't buy that he's going to suddenly become a whole new person. Anyone else get that vibe?


Emily Burns (emilymelissabee) | 124 comments Mod
Kate wrote: "He really is a frustrating character but I found I was glad that he was - most sane people would have left everything well enough alone! Especially considering the last time he tried to 'investigat..."

Absolutely, Kate! I definitely got that vibe, too. He's the kind of investigator you want - ruthless, and self-sacrificing to the core.


Susan (susanopl) | 472 comments Mod
Very interesting thoughts about Scott. I agree with Emily about the spoiler event. I was on edge reading that and just didn't see how it could have a happy ending. I think for this plot to work at all, Scott had to be a bit of an idiot - who else would team up with partners like Nora and Hopper? They certainly didn't seem reliable, especially at the beginning. Maybe his idiot tendencies were what made it possible for him to take all the chances he did. Scott certainly risked leaving his daughter fatherless on several occasions. If he'd been thinking clearly he would not have taken the chances he did. Overall, I found myself liking Scott in spite of all this. He has a kind heart and genuinely tries to help Nora with her messed-up life. His interactions with his daughter were also heartwarming.


Jennifer Patrick | 57 comments Mod
Scott Mcgrath was a much more memorable character when he was paired up with Nora and Hopper. When he was on his own, he was not such a strong character. At times, I found him a bit weak and cheesy at times.


Theresa Efendov | 5 comments Scott McGrath was really gullible to believe the stories about witchcraft. Scott was determined to find out the truth about Cordova even after Inez Gallo gave him a logical explanation about what happened to Ashley. He chose to continue his investigation and risk his life in the process.


Eric | 16 comments I think it's a bit harsh to call Scott an idiot simply because he comes across as quite intelligent and good at his job just based on the creative ideas he uses to gather information. He may not be an idiot but he is obviously a flawed character who is clearly obsessed with Cordova and making it personal. As the book went on I definitely became more and more annoyed with him but that was more to do with Scott the parent than Scott the journalist.


message 9: by Julia (new)

Julia | 13 comments I didn't find that Scott was particularly stupid or idiotic, but that, as a character, he was extremely selfish and obsessively focused on Cordova and "the truth". I felt that that selfish obsession led him to ignore external cues and ultimately make less informed decisions. This selfishness was distasteful to me but the portrayal of him as a manipulated victim did make him a slightly more sympathetic character. Unfortunately the victimization also served to highlight the weakness of his character.


message 10: by Allison (last edited Nov 13, 2014 06:53AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Allison | 396 comments I think one of the things that really struck me about Scott was his impulsive nature (that's how he got into this mess with Cordova in the first place), although I also thought that compared to Nora and Hopper he was certainly capable of demonstrating restraint (however short-lived). The lack of impulse control by all three characters continually propels this story forward...and I LOVED the idea of acting without over-thinking every little thing. Right now, I am vicariously living through someone else who is following his hunches and running with things! All three characters serve as wonderful counterparts to each other, too. What an immensely enjoyable romp this whole thing is! If they make a film, I wonder who might get cast in these three roles. Any ideas anyone?

To me, Scott's flaws definitely give his character a more believable bent, and I am generally finding him very endearing. Aren't we all flawed in various ways? I also find myself being very forgiving of his multi-tasking parenting/investigating. These are his two passions, and I suppose he is trying to balance the two somehow. However, I'm not at the end of this novel yet, so I haven't reached the big spoiler alluded to earlier. We'll see how I feel about him then!


message 11: by Kate (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kate (arwen_kenobi) | 100 comments Mod
Allison wrote: "I think one of the things that really struck me about Scott was his impulsive nature (that's how he got into this mess with Cordova in the first place), although I also thought that compared to Nor..."

He is very endearing. As much as his choices are poor I can't help but like the guy. We'd really have no story if he wasn't an 'act first ask questions later' kind of guy.

Casting wise I almost think Jake Gyllenhaal - if only because I have his film "Nightcrawler" on the mind (which I really want to see but haven't yet seen) where it seems he's playing a much more extreme version of Scott.


Allison | 396 comments Kate wrote: "Allison wrote: "I think one of the things that really struck me about Scott was his impulsive nature (that's how he got into this mess with Cordova in the first place), although I also thought that..."

Hmmm...interesting. I see a scruffed-up Jake Gyllenhaal as Hopper, and I'm thinking more along the lines of Ryan Gosling as Scott.


Emily Burns (emilymelissabee) | 124 comments Mod
Allison wrote: "Kate wrote: "Allison wrote: "I think one of the things that really struck me about Scott was his impulsive nature (that's how he got into this mess with Cordova in the first place), although I also..."

Funnily enough, I thought Gosling would make a good Hopper, Allison! And Jess Weixler (from The Good Wife) as Nora. As soon as we met Nora, Jess popped straight into my head! I have a hard time casting Scott - I see him a little older, maybe a Leonardo DiCaprio...


Allison | 396 comments Emily wrote: "Allison wrote: "Kate wrote: "Allison wrote: "I think one of the things that really struck me about Scott was his impulsive nature (that's how he got into this mess with Cordova in the first place),..."

Yes, I think you're right about Scott being a little older: we need someone like a Clooney or Duchovny for him. And I agree Gosling would make a terrific Hopper. Please let's *not* have Leonardo DiCaprio involved in this project though... :)

And Nora is quite young, yes? I'm not familiar with this Jess Weixler actress, but I was picturing maybe Dakota or Elle Fanning in the role.


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