Review of: Pick Your Poison 

reviewed by joxyjoxyjoxy on 11/18/2008
Credited Review
joxyjoxyjoxy
Pick your Poison Credited Review
Right away in the first scene i have to read something twice: when you have Walter entering the conference room for the second time, there is nothing to indicate that this is a short moment later. I don't think you need any scene outside the conference room at all. Just have Walter repeatedly entering the conference room. The receptionists' dialogue doesn't do anything for the story but take up space on the page.

Not sure what makes Luther instinctively choose to hide when he sees the heavies coming in. these are obviously not people he's seen before, and come to think of it, why do they kick the door in if they've really come for his services?

I'm b eginning to see a repeating pattern of narrative/scene headings that makes things less than clear. The following brief scene illustrates what I mean.

INT. MAIN OFFICE
Luther stops at the front entrance.
(MOMENTS LATER in the scene heading would be helpful here, also because you don't mention that the heavies or Victor are with Luther, I wonder: is he now alone? Have the heavies left? Did he shoot them all?)

LUTHER
Walter!
Walter's head appears.(where does his head appear from?)

LUTHER (CONT'D)
There's a length of chain in the
maintenance closet. Make sure the
doors are secure before you leave.
Luther goes out with the Heavies.

It isn't until the last sentence that I'm able to put any context on this brief scene, and by then I've already read most of it twice to figure out what's happening. Professional script readers don't like to do this. Additionally it's an unnecessary scene. Why not just cut to the drive up the mountains?

All femmes are fatale. Beautiful.

The discussion between Yarmouth and Luther: for as little information it provides for the story it is much too long.* It's essentially three full pages of dialogue that could probably be trimmed to one if only the essential stuff is kept. I would expect a conversation like this between two men who don't know each other in a situation like this to be brief and direct anyway.

*ditto for the conversation in the limo between Jordin and Luther.

I'm on page 43 now and there is not much going on. I would have expected to see more theatrical elements introduced by now. Intrigue, suspense, some action. This should be a puzzle with many pieces: Where are the attempts on his life by an unknown assasin? Where is the romantic involvement between him and the smorgasbord of daughters available for him to choose from (my God, you make this guy Luther more than just sexually repressed, he's got to be neutered). What is this guy Victor really up to? What does he have to gain by Spider's death? Tell me whether the Fabrinis benefit or suffer when Spider dies. At this point in the script you should have a boat-load of unanswered questions; known pieces of a puzzle that don't fit anywhere yet; clues; innuendo; misinformation.

Instead of filling pages with clever banter that doesn't move your story forward or reveal pertinent information, introduce an intriguing subplot; a new twist; a new suspect; a car chase, whatever.

The following is a slight formatting error.

LUTHER
(overlap)
I have a question.

LUTHER(V.O.)
I have a question.

Is the proper format (stands for Voice over).

LUTHER
I like agony. It's always been
there for me.-- awesome.

You have good dialogue in that it is clever, often funny, sometimes insightful. You have a good feel for presentation, flow.

Overall, there were many things I liked about the bigger picture of your script. The reveal about Jordin not being his daughter, Yarmouth her father. That Jordin is not actually dead; the reunion scene between them is understated and well executed. I like the whole concept very much. It's ripe with possibilities for suspenseful drama/intrigue, especially with the extreme characters you've made the sisters into. The problem is, as i've stated before, there just isn't enough dramatic action for me to sink my teeth into. To be honest, in the end it became an exercise in turning pages to find the answer to the only plot point: who's trying to kill Spider and why? Jordin's subplot does add another element to the story but it appears way late.

This is the most common criticism I have of scripts on TS, and make no mistake, I've heard it about my work a few times as well. As always feel free to contact me about any of my comments.

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