Two men. Two missions. One girl. Just one choice. Who dies?
HOW IT RATES
In the aftermath of a terrorist explosion, survivors fight for their lives as they are trapped in a collapsing building. Who can you trust when everyone is under extreme pressure?
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Reviews of Downfall 11
by moviexpert14 on 05/19/2013You combined the genre of disaster film and added in the genre of horror. The old disaster films can be either great or just plain ridiculous. This was a good disaster film but I like how you added the downfall of society. That's combining the magic of movie with real life. Some situations like that there is always going to be social unrest. I liked how the group bands together... You combined the genre of disaster film and added in the genre of horror. The old disaster films can be either great or just plain ridiculous. This was a good disaster film but I like how you added the downfall of society. That's combining the magic of movie with real life. Some situations like that there is always going to be social unrest. I liked how the group bands together at first but goes through dissent and some people go homicidal. It's going to happen when loyalties and the fear of unknown happens. The scenes in the sewers gave it a claustrophobic feel which increased the tension and terror. You need to proofread cause I seen a lot of spelling and word errors along with typos but I was able to see past it. Some readers might not. Overall, really good read
by kevans2121 on 08/21/2008This seems to be a disaster movie in the vein of “Towering Inferno” or “Poseidon Adventure”, with a bit of “Die Hard” mixed in. I wanted there to be a direct physical confrontation with the terrorists, and felt a bit disappointed when it didn’t happen. Characters were okay, the idea of Paul going insane from the pressure seemed a bit extreme to me. I thought Farid, was a good... This seems to be a disaster movie in the vein of “Towering Inferno” or “Poseidon Adventure”, with a bit of “Die Hard” mixed in. I wanted there to be a direct physical confrontation with the terrorists, and felt a bit disappointed when it didn’t happen. Characters were okay, the idea of Paul going insane from the pressure seemed a bit extreme to me. I thought Farid, was a good device. The “is he or isn’t he one of them?” device could maybe have been developed a bit more to create more tension. The explosion seems to come awfully quick in the story. What do we know about the characters at this point? Why do we care about them? Need to get us more emotionally invested in their back stories so we can root for them or be sad when they die. This would be pretty expensive to produce. There were a lot of typos and grammatical errors, many of which I’ve noted below. Good luck!
P 1 “he is strong build” should be “he is strongly built” or “he has a strong build”
Don’t give camera directions, that’s for the director. Just tell the story.
“13.68 dollars” should be “thirteen dollars and sixty-eight cents”
9 18 y should be 18
23 “floor has collapsed”, not “have collapsed”
“quiet” not “quite”
32 “nobody is” not “nobody are”
“is anyone”, not “are anyone”
47 “can’t you heard it?”
51 “he more scared”
78 three men “were” not “was”
84 “off the rails” not “of the rails”
“it someone else”
“it sounds” not “it’s sounds”
94 “quiet” not quite read
by Ronnie71 on 08/08/2008Hi Thanks for posting ‘Downfall.’ I thought the strong points in the script were definitely the concept and the atmosphere. I think having a bunch of peple trapped in a collapsing building over the length of a whole film is a great idea. There is naturally a lot of room for good action and drama. Indeed there are some very good moments in the script hat are easy to read through... Hi
Thanks for posting ‘Downfall.’ I thought the strong points in the script were definitely the concept and the atmosphere. I think having a bunch of peple trapped in a collapsing building over the length of a whole film is a great idea. There is naturally a lot of room for good action and drama. Indeed there are some very good moments in the script hat are easy to read through. You have chosen a very good setting which I am sure would lend itself to great visuals in the hands of the right director.
Noow for areas to improve. I tend to spend more time on these since I feel that will be more help to you. First off I have to mention that there is a fair bit of bad grammar in this script. Here are just a few examples:
‘Do you have seen this?’ (6)
David turns around the face Kate. (15)
Kate is about to speak but decides to not. (18)
Believe me, spelling and grammar aren’t always my strong points. It’s just that I wouldn’t have expected to see so much of this sort of thing past he second draft. I think its distracting enough to be a turn off to a potential producer or agent.
Your scene direction has got to be leaner and more descriptive. Anyone working on this movie needs to have a very clear idea of what we’re supposed to see on screen
‘An elderly black lady with a capital ‘L’ (4)
What exactly does that mean? It took me a second or two to figure it out.
Paul slows down just as he passes her and
gives her a strange look. A look of superiority or one of hate? Hard to tell. (48)
It’s one thing to try to get that across to the audience but how is the actor supposed to know how to play that? I can’t tell from reading it myself how the character really feels inside.
I feel that basically dialogue should only come in when necessary. ‘Showing’ it through actions, gestures ect isd always preferable. I think you’ve got a lot of dialogue that you could probably do without:
No, hold the door!
David runs towards the door and pushes it backwards and
momentarily holding Paul back.
Give me the flashlight!
Henry rushes over to the doors and help David push them back.
Can you get the same point across without a lot of that dialogue? I bet you could.
Scenes in a story should always push the story forward. They should reveal some new bit of information that we haven’t seen or heard of before. Doesn’t always happen here. When Farid is introduced you are basically recapping the story so far (55) Logical enough to fill him in I suppose but it really slows the pace down as written. Try to ‘catch’ Farid up by sprinkling info out a bit at a time as other things are happening.
At the same time I think that there is not enough ‘persoality’ to some of he characters. Each of the major and supporting ones should have some sort of ‘life story’ that has made them who they are and dictated how and why they react the way they do. Not all of their background has to come out in the script but you nedd to know it. Otherwise the characters will come across as wooden and two dimensional.
Henry’s military background is revealed rather late. (83) As it now stands, it seems to be just a ‘throw away line to try to explain why Paul goes off the deep end.
Plot points have got to be believable. You have a few things that ‘just happen’ to occur without any reason given. On page forty-something the security monitors ‘just happened’ to go out. I was waiting to see if you’d do anything with this later on but nothing more came of it. In a couple of cases you write as though you are not sure how something occurs:
David and Washington looks back at the noise that Farid is making that somehow is audible over the noise of the generators. (79)
The shadowy figure is not one person but three men that somehow was hiding in the shadows in the generator room.(87)
If you’re not certain how something can occur, how is a director or producer supposed to figure it out? The script is a step by step blue print of how a story is supposed to play out on screen. There simply can’t be holes like that.
There were a few cases where I had a hard time believing in some of your other plot points. I didn’t find Henry’s explanation of Paul’s insanity very satisfying. Too simplistic. I’d suggest putting something in Paul’s background to indicate that he has the potential to be a loose cannon. Maybe he’s on drugs (legal or illegal.) Maybe he’s a hardenend criminal who had reason to duck into the building just before it exploded.
Old Ms Jackson is probably the least likely member of the group to have the strength to pull the ceiling down on top of her (91). Especially since she’s out of breath from running..
They put a dumpster over a manhole cover (?????) I assume we’re talking about one of those huge things you ogten find outside of grpcery or hardware stores. If I’m right, that doesn’t strike me as realistic…(95) Even if they could move it there how could Paul even move the manhole cover from underneath?
We also need a more detailed explanation of the chemicals they’re dropping at story’s end (101) otherwise it sounds made up…I hadn’t ever heard of a chemical that can be used to contain radiation. There has been no mention of it in some of the more realistic movies I’ve seen that involve radiation. If it’s true I’d love to more more about it.
Anyway, I hope this helps. You’ve got a great idea with loads of potential. Best of luck! read
by patrick thompson on 08/03/2008With all of the spelling and grammatical errors this script was tough to read. (i.e. "he seems strong build" on pg 1) with all of those distractions.. and there were ALOT. i never really got into the script. but i did get the overview. David: a leader that cares to much. Paul: guy waiting for a chance to go nuts DC: black side kick and a few helpless dames thrown in for good... With all of the spelling and grammatical errors this script was tough to read. (i.e. "he seems strong build" on pg 1)
with all of those distractions.. and there were ALOT. i never really got into the script.
but i did get the overview.
David: a leader that cares to much.
Paul: guy waiting for a chance to go nuts
DC: black side kick
and a few helpless dames thrown in for good measure.
all stereotypes. they worked for this story but they did not surprise me in any way.
my main questions are:
(other than, "why in the world would you let people read this with so many mistakes"?)
1. what was all the shooting about? who was killing people? was it an occupying force or just more crazies with guns?
2. why did paul go nuts? what was his reason for going back to kill people. why didn't he just try to find away out?
3. who dropped the bomb? what was the reason behind this?
4. nuclear explosion and the whole town is not leveled? this does not seem possible.
a couple side notes.
1. pg 1 taxis are yellow all over the country. not just in new york.
2. if this is new york ... we don't use the metric system in this country. "meters" should be changed to feet or yards or inches or miles or anything else.
3. too many of your description blocks use several sentences to say the same thing. try to be more economical. say it once and move on.
my main suggestion is to hire a proof reader. Seriously, these can't all be typo's.
good luck with future projects. read
by astererebos on 08/01/2008Overall the concept was promising, but its execution lacking in numerous parts. A good survivor screenplay builds conflict not necessarily through environmental obstacles but oppositional personalities. You had a little of that with Paul, but he seemed more like a straw-man. His persistent racism felt forced and unnatural while Farid's appearance seemed like nothing more... Overall the concept was promising, but its execution lacking in numerous parts. A good survivor screenplay builds conflict not necessarily through environmental obstacles but oppositional personalities. You had a little of that with Paul, but he seemed more like a straw-man. His persistent racism felt forced and unnatural while Farid's appearance seemed like nothing more than foil.
I liked the first few pages as you introduced characters--especially David himself--from the P.O.V. of a set of coffee cups. However, I don't think it was utilized to the greatest extent possible. As for the rest of the screenplay, it definitely felt as though the characters were simply walking through a gauntlet of rooms without any discernible goal beyond survival.
On more technical notes, whenever you introduce a character you should always do so in CAPS. By the way it was written I could tell that English isn't your first language, and that combined with the passive sentence structure ("is going," "are walking") made it somewhat of a tough read. You should use punchier descriptions instead like "walks" and "goes" and go further by specifying those actions ("darts" instead of "walks").
I'd recommend developing much more distinct characters so that their situational reactions differ. I'd also recommend describing more about the disaster itself--saying that it was just a broad nuclear terrorist attack at the very end left me a little wanting. A recent example that comes to mind is 'Cloverfield.' While the characters were pretty much the same, it had the advantage of slowly and limitedly revealing the catastrophe in question in addition to revealing character relationships. read
by grendle308 on 07/30/2008You have an excellent beginning. Good establishment of characters, good set-up of conflict, great dialogue, great location descriptions, and an excellent wrench thrown in when they cannot leave the building even when they get the chance. But about halfway through it feels like you gave up. The essence of this disaster/thriller turns into a tired political statement on post... You have an excellent beginning. Good establishment of characters, good set-up of conflict, great dialogue, great location descriptions, and an excellent wrench thrown in when they cannot leave the building even when they get the chance.
But about halfway through it feels like you gave up. The essence of this disaster/thriller turns into a tired political statement on post 9/11 racism in America and I know movies are made of re-invented clichés, but this one, lately, can never be new. This is where you lost me.
And you have blatant talent – which especially shines when our characters are trying to survive. I really cared when the building went down, and it was an absolutely impeccable and original turn of events when there were terrorists outside the building shooting everyone. You really tapped into what made 9/11 feel hopeless – there was actually no escape. People were jumping to their deaths. What you did here was phenomenal.
But then those terrorists disappear. I wonder if Paul and his thugs as antagonists could be replaced by these terrorists getting into the building?
Which leads me to something else. While your dialogue is perfect (and I mean that, PERFECT) your characters seem a bit stereotyped and one dimensional. It’s also very confusing who is who and where they are sometimes. Maybe this is because they are barely described? I had a big problem with Paul’s transformation by the way. He comes off as a bigot, but then like lightning, he’s a madman. If you’re really going to go through with this, I’ve gotta’ see it happen. He needs to be mentally breaking down for the audience. And there’s a lot more to be explored in Kate’s relationship with David.
In regards to the actual writing, I was bugged by the descriptions of camera shots, your direction of actors, less than exact descriptions (“mother nature”, and “checking email”) and editorial decision regarding placement of credits – all big no-no’s in my mind.
And if you’re going to introduce race into the character descriptions, you really have got to do it for every one. There’s a lot of potential to offend.
Also, the addition of “CONTINUOUS” might not be needed when the film takes place in one building, over a literal span of 101 minutes.
There’s at least one type-o on every page, by the way. I saw your email address, maybe English isn’t your first language, but these type-os make it really hard to read sometimes.
You have a truly excellent start here. You write survival horror very well, and this script will guaranteed be a knockout if you continue in that vein. Thanks for sharing. read
by dbenamor on 07/29/2008Downfall notes title page reads 'thrid" draft probably want to fix that. p.1 "He seems strong build." strongly built? p.1 "13.68 dollars" write it out. p.1 "CREDITS START" also something I think is a spec no no. A typo, a grammar error, and two formatting errors and we've just got to page 2. Proofing matters man. You don't want to get tossed in the trash by a reader for... Downfall notes
title page reads 'thrid" draft probably want to fix that.
p.1 "He seems strong build." strongly built?
p.1 "13.68 dollars" write it out.
p.1 "CREDITS START" also something I think is a spec no no. A typo, a grammar error, and two formatting errors and we've just got to page 2. Proofing matters man. You don't want to get tossed in the trash by a reader for this silly stuff if you ever send this somewhere.
p.2 "THE MAN NAMED MICHAEL" otherwise known as MICHAEL? Why make this your heading?
p.10-11 inciting incident right on time. I'm not a stickler for this but some are, it works well here.
around p.30 twist of gunfire=villains there. Good structural roadblocks so far.
Very much Poseidon Adventure by way of Towering Inferno with david/paul leader dilemma, building on fire as setting.
Nice intro of farid at p.60, keeping the structural roadblocks going.
p.65 "what is this large area in the middle" "looks kinda large" silly sounding exchange, not in a good way.
p.73 leaden dialogue 'Someone is hurt' 'There could be others that are hurt' no use of contractions=robotic sounding.
kind of a dark turn as David doesn't tell Army guy about other survivors. Why? It gives your character an arc but a really dark one. I think you can find a more uplifting way to end his arc, he could just let go in some situation where they had to move forward and he had to leave someone behind for the greater good so everyone else could escape, something like that, and he did it and was okay with it.
grammar/spelling/sloppy writing is a huge issue. This is a fairly enjoyable script DESPITE the constant grammar errors that make some of your dialogue sound like it's delivered by cavemen, the equally sloppy description is a problem as well. A strong proofing is in order, as is reading some of the higher ranked scripts on this site to learn description better.
A good one. Towering inferno updated for a post 9/11 audience.
So-so. David's arc is strangely dark by the end, mrs. jackson is a stereotyped spunky old black woman, and paul randomly goes insane as far as I could tell. Like klutzy arab Janitor Farid though.
When not obscured by the poor grammar, some of the lines were strong. I would encourage you to cut down on your language since this picture really doesn't need to be rated R, assuming you change the ending to be less dark. If you keep it that way, might as well make the whole movie more R-rated. Some of lines were very robotic and on-the-nose. And you did not have many distinctive voices for the characters. They may have different types of things they say but they don't have different speech patterns.
Pretty good except for darkness at the end.
Very good, hits all the spots. Inciting incident, twist into Act 2, twist at p.60, good stuff.
With a grammar/spelling/description polish and a little work on the characters and dialogue this could be a really strong script. I'd still enjoy seeing it onscreen even in its present form.
Dan Benamor read
by shadesdown2001 on 07/27/2008Although Downfall seems like a good story line, it seems a little copy cat from all those other movies made from 9-11. I have noticed quite a few mistakes throughout the script that needs to be changed. To many to post here but a reread by the writer would do this screenplay a world of good. Using profanity in dialog is accepted but to use it in ACTIONS - such as "ASS" on Pg... Although Downfall seems like a good story line, it seems a little copy cat from all those other movies made from 9-11. I have noticed quite a few mistakes throughout the script that needs to be changed. To many to post here but a reread by the writer would do this screenplay a world of good. Using profanity in dialog is accepted but to use it in ACTIONS - such as "ASS" on Pg. 8 should be changed to a more non-profanity word such as butt or bottom. Allot of the ACTION is a little to detailed and could be rewritten. Like they always say, LESS IS MORE. Such as describing the sounds of the watersprinklers. That should be left up to the sounds department when making this script into film. You also included numerous times in ACTION, some questions such as: David looks around fast and is trying to locate the source
of the sound. The sound becomes a bit louder, but is still
just as fast. RAT-A-TAT-A-TAT... is that gunfire? You used the word "CONTINUOUS" in quite a few of the SCENE HEADINGS when it wasn't needed.
This plot would have been better during pre-9-11 time.. Sorry if that sounds a little off key but I feel it would be hard to sell this taking place in a city that has already been attacked by terrorists. read
by GWheelan on 07/26/2008First off, I will say, as a story, this would definitely be a movie I would want to see. It's pretty quick pace, and it's a pretty interesting study of human psychology in a disaster. I'm a little iffy on the whole "We're running from gunmen but there was a WMD explosion" thing. I think you need to go with one or the other here...either al Qaeda hit us with a WMD OR they've... First off, I will say, as a story, this would definitely be a movie I would want to see. It's pretty quick pace, and it's a pretty interesting study of human psychology in a disaster.
I'm a little iffy on the whole "We're running from gunmen but there was a WMD explosion" thing. I think you need to go with one or the other here...either al Qaeda hit us with a WMD OR they've managed to organize a massive ground attack against us by insinuating agents into our society. Both is a little hard to suspend one's disbelief on...
One thing I have GOT to mention on this one that would normally be nit-picky...GRAMMAR. I know that usually, one should stay away from that, but here, grammar was EXTREMELY distracting. I went on the ride with you here because I took this on as assignment and the story itself genuinely kept me interested...But I'll be honest, if I was a studio reader perusing this, the proliferation of grammatical errors in this screenplay would have totally prevented any thoughts of a greenlight. In fact, just on the distracting nature of the grammar, I'm thinking a lot of Studio people would pass on this. Definitely go back and take a hard look at that, find a few good friends with great skills in English composition to proofread and edit for you, 'cuz if you can fix that relatively minor glitch in your writing, it'd be awesome to see this movie! read
by **DELETED ACCOUNT** on 07/26/2008DOWNFALL By Simon Larsen I always start my reviews with a page-by-page look at what I am thinking or feeling. I feel this lets you know where the story works and where it doesn’t, not to forget pacing and god forgive mistakes. I had three reviews in my assignment box and one by an author I know puts out great work, but your logline was the most interesting. If there is more... DOWNFALL
I always start my reviews with a page-by-page look at what I am thinking or feeling. I feel this lets you know where the story works and where it doesn’t, not to forget pacing and god forgive mistakes. I had three reviews in my assignment box and one by an author I know puts out great work, but your logline was the most interesting. If there is more than one example of a problem I point out I may not point it out more than once, so don’t think your of the hook. Well with out further adue:
Pg 1- In the first action both lines are describing the same thing, basically, so why not combine them. ‘A coffee shop full of coffee hungry office workers rush in and out on their way to work.’
Pg 1- Is David a character we are first being introduced to? If so make his name all caps. ‘He seems strong build.’ Isn’t a real sentence is it? How about ‘He seems like he has a strong build.’ ? But does he have one or not? If don’t know for sure just cut that line.
Pg 1-? What? Yeah is the same as Yes and they both mean ‘that would be all.’ Was he just trying to be polite? Then why did he say ‘No’?
Pg 1- It seems awkward not seeing a character with so much dialog and action? Why not just par it down so all we see is a guy buying coffee, less action less dialog, then it may feel more natural.
Pg 1- Unless you are directing it, kill the ‘credits start’. Give the director something to do.
Pg 2- There’s no need to add action between each dialog line. The dialog should give us a good idea of what is going on. This also gives your script the fast pace that screenplays need and all that beloved white space. For example:
He brushes into a BEAUTIFUL WOMAN in a classic executive suit.
Oh, sorry, my bad.
It says the same thing. We know he just left the coffee shop and we can get she digs him. In much less space.
Pg 2- He has the coffee in hand, not ‘in head’.
Pg 2- Ok, you really do need to tighten up your action. It’s pacing like this is a long drawn out scene, when I think you meant for it to be a fast paced romp as one mall grabs coffee and rushes to work avoiding obstacles along the way.
Pg3- Why didn’t he just put a foot in the door, instead of pushing the open button?
Pg 3- Always all cap a characters name when first mentioned. Also how beautiful a person doesn’t tell us how to interpret their dialog and action. For example:
KATE (32), a beautiful tiger cat always eager for action, comes blasting through the half-open doors.
Or is she
KATE (32), a beautiful shrinking lilly, comes blasting through the half open doors.
Pg 3- How do we know it’s an awkward silence, when we can’t see David?
Pg 5- Ok, we probably really want to see this David character now.
Pg 6- ‘Do you have seen this?’ Ok, there is some need to polish this script a little more. Usually I give a 10 or 20 page evaluation of what a busy movie executive would do when looking at your screenplay. Unfortunately, this would have been tossed by now. Remember polish rewrite, polish rewrite, rinse and repeat. Unless you know someone this has to be the best example of your work. I’ll now just evaluate the story, plot, etc. unless something big jumps out at me.
Pg 6- I can’t help but say that there was no point in hiding David. What actor would like their character hidden for the first 6 minutes?
Pg 8- There has many English mistakes in your dialog. Dialog is what makes or breaks more movies.
Pg 12- Wouldn’t the sprinkle pipes have broken from the explosion.
Pg 13- I imaging the building is listing or is the building still straight and stable. If it is unstable no-one would go to the elevators.
Pg 19- With the shear amount of typos and poor English I am wondering if English is your second language. If so great job, I haven’t read one translated script this good. If not, I’m sorry, but you have a lot of work to do.
Pg 24- You have a lot of key characters. How are we supposed to learn and care about this many? Maybe you want to make the group of survivors smaller.
Pg 28- Oh, it’s not just a natural disaster.
Pg 42- They made it to the lobby by page 42, where are they going form here?
Pg 47- Is Paul the only antagonist?
Pg 67- Yes, why wasn’t Frank an ass when Paul was?
Pg 75- I really don’t get the idea that people will turn on him. For what gain? There is nothing to be won by turning on a helping hand.
Pg 94- I like that Paul became a more threatening antagonist. I just don’t like the giving up on people repeatedly.
Pg 96- How many animals and birds are in this part of the city on a good day?
It’s an interesting concept. I thought the ending was going to have a bigger impact, like a crashed UFO or something, but I think the nuke is the most realistic reason. The story is interesting, but there is a lot that needs to be buttoned up. Tighten the dialog and action. Since this is primarily a human story set in rubble, the dialog needs to take front stage and the action should be at a minimum to support the dialog. Good luck and keep rewriting until you have gold. read
- Writer: Simon Larsen
- Uploaded by: MarsNielson
- Length: 101 pages
- Genre: action, drama, mystery/suspense
- This script was written in April 2008 as part of the annual Script Frenzy event. I took a lot of time afterward to rewrite it and make the structure and dialogue tighter. I really hope you enjoy reading it, it has most certainly been a pleasure writing it and an learning experience for me.
- Bio: I've been a production runner on movies, a sound engineer on others and a producer on some. I've started two production companies; one that made short films and one that made multiplayer online games. Sold one of the companies and dissolved the other. I'm a happy husband, a proud father, a slow runner, a passionate screenwriter, a jazz lover, a movie buff, an enthusiastic book collector. I try with the great help of my son never to grow up and always remember to play and be curious about the world.
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