Why Isn't This A Film? - Pines by Blake Crouch

What have we got here then?

Pines is a novel by Blake Crouch, first published in mid-2012, which has enjoyed a reasonable measure of success, particularly in ebook form.

OK fine. What’s it about?

Pines starts with Ethan Burke waking up next to a river, injured, with little memory of where he is or how he got there. Walking into the town of Wayward Pines, Burke begins to piece together the events of the previous few days.

Interesting. Is there something more?

Burke is a secret service agent, and there's something fishy about this town...

Save me the trouble then – is it any good?

No. Pines reads like the fan fiction of someone who has watched a lot of X-Files, The Twilight Zone and Twin Peaks, which, not by coincidence, is basically exactly what Crouch admits it is in the afterword. The characters are the thinnest of thinly drawn people, the writing is, at times, atrocious and Crouch really struggles to find interesting stuff for Burke to do whilst he's marooned in Wayward Pines. It's an unsatisfying mess of a novel.


The end is morally grey in an attractive sort of way. Not attractive enough to actually read the rest of it though, I assure you.

What are its chances of being made as a film?

Drumroll... Pines has been picked up by none other than M. Night Shyamalan. Now there's a twist. The problem is this is exactly the sort of hokey guff Shyamalan has gravitated too since Lady In The Water. As a TV series, Pines (now called Wayward Pines) will drag on, pop up with semi-annoying reveals every so often, and then hopefully depart TV screens when it has spent its last unsatisfying 'twist'. I'd love to be proved wrong, but the mix of Pines, Crouch and Shyamalan? I can see no good coming from it.

But who'd star in it?

It's a major series for Fox so expect someone at least semi-recognisable in the lead, at the very least. Burke is middle-aged and would suit an actor coming off a film flop. Taylor Kitsch has had two of those in the last year and would be a good bet. Vince Vaughn hasn't fared too well recently either and if he fancies doing something serious then hey, I could see him as a straight-faced agent. Might struggle with the physical parts though.

Will it be any good?

I'm saying no. When it wins loads of Emmys, I fully expect someone to rub this article in my face. IN MY FACE.

Anything else I should know about it?

Fox are hoping to run the pilot for Wayward Pines in 2014. Producer/Writer/Creator Chad Hodge has been giving twitter updates on a fairly regular basis.

Why Isn't This A Film? is a regular Film Intel feature which takes a book (you know... one of those things with pages in, doesn't project on to a screen, makes small rustling noises), comic, video game or graphic novel and assesses its adaptation prospects. One day this feature will get something right and we will win something major and valuable. Possibly.

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