If I ever attempted to solve any crossword puzzles, then it was during my secondary schooling. Whenever I played with it, it was exciting, but I was not a regular and passionate puzzler. Other than this, I rarely bothered to notice any crossword puzzles anywhere. Newspaper pages containing crossword puzzles were a part to flip straight-ahead.
It’s strangely amazing that director Patrick Creadon saw something in crossword puzzles to make a documentary film about. He went on to making a film about a world thinking inside the box- referring to the tagline of the film preceding the title [Discover A World That Thinks Inside The Box: WORDPLAY].
Wordplay (2006) focuses on Will Shortz, editor of the New York Times Crossword, other crossword puzzle contributors, and the annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, founded by Shortz himself. Shortz is one passionate crossword puzzler among few having chosen crossword as the profession. The film randomly presents interviews with celebrity crossword puzzlers like Bill Clinton, John Stewart, Bob Dole and few more and reveals their insight into this game. The film also combines interviews of the participants of crossword puzzle tournament about their preparation and hope for the championship.
The most interesting part of the film is annually held crossword puzzle tournament where more than hundred Americans participate. From children to elderlies, everyone tries their luck to be crowned as the champion. The game is interesting, but not as easy. It demands one’s knack developed through thorough practice to play with words, and sometimes, dictionary might not be a help as well.
Film has a specific style of photographing interviews, activities and people. It is framed as uniquely as the puzzle game is. It’s not a cinema, neither a TV, but a crossword puzzle. Photography completely empathizes with the spirit of crossword puzzle.
‘Wordplay’ carries a big significance as a film about minimalistic topic rather than as a film about crossword puzzle. At an age, where a dominating fraction of filmmakers go on to find stories in controversial sociopolitical contexts, marginalized issues and other casual human interest stuffs, Patrick Creadon thinks out of the box by seeing a film inside the boxes.