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HOW IT RATES
Sean Murray is a young, new C.I.A. agent who's been ordered to carry out a false flag operation on American soil. His life, and America, will never be the same.
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Reviews of The False Flag 19
by jayb on 01/06/2012THE FALSE FLAG is in most respects an exceptionally well written script. It has a strong concept, great structure, a likable protagonist and a relentless pace that conforms to expectations for the genre. Unfortunately, all these good qualities are undone by one spectacular flaw: its frivolous treatment of a subject of the utmost seriousness to most Americans. The script... THE FALSE FLAG is in most respects an exceptionally well written script. It has a strong concept, great structure, a likable protagonist and a relentless pace that conforms to expectations for the genre. Unfortunately, all these good qualities are undone by one spectacular flaw: its frivolous treatment of a subject of the utmost seriousness to most Americans. The script has some great action sequences and set pieces worthy of a 007 movie. But the American movie-going public is not ready for a James Bond approach to the bombing of the Mall of America. Ten years after the attacks of 9/11, this subject speaks to one the biggest collective anxieties of the nation. In a different context, this script could be the basis for a great blockbuster of a movie. But in the wake of 9/11, it’s impossible to believe that an entire agency of government officials would plan and execute a major attack on the Mall of America, followed by two suicide airplane attacks on major buildings. Mainstream audiences will not be willing to engage in the massive suspension of disbelief required to turn this premise into entertainment.
In my opinion, the blockbuster approach to this material is very risky. This is obviously a big budget script. So the movie version must be able to pull in large audiences. That means sensational special effects, a simplified plot and lots of stuff blowing up. All of this is OK in a 007 movie... Maybe your antagonist can get away with plotting to blow up the Mall of America if he’s Ernst Blofeld or the latest megalomaniac to emerge from SPECTRE. But not if he works for the US Government and dupes naïve young do-gooder” types like Sean to carry out his evil plans. Maybe I’m wrong. But I just don’t see it working out that way.
The concept itself is not the problem. I think a blockbuster approach to the blowing up of the Mall could work. But you’ve got to approach this material with a measure of respect and at least aim for a degree of plausibility. My notes below convey my astonishment at discovering that the attack on the Mall was a real operation, not another test like we saw in the opening scene. You are obviously a talented writer. But I have to say, I was very disappointed that the story would take such an improbable turn. Then, to make it even more implausible, you show the Smoking Man conspiring to put Sean and Kitty on remote control aircraft and crash them into buildings. Please tell me it isn’t so!
I notice you have four stars currently on the script, so maybe a lot of other people are loving it the way it is. If that’s the case, you may want to ignore my advice. But if anything I’m saying resonates, here are my thoughts on what went wrong and what you might do to make it better…
In and of themselves, the mall and airport sequences are great movie-making and I expect you will want to do everything you can to preserve them. So how can you make them more believable?
First, this cannot be a government sanctioned operation. I know there are people who believe our government staged 9/11 as well as Pearl Harbor and probably Hiroshima, too. But they’re not enough of them to fill a thousand multiplexes across the country. Slightly more within the realm of possibility would be a plot to make it look like Iranian terrorists intended to blow up the mall of America... Maybe have Duke and his team, disguised as terrorists, plant live bombs in the mall. Then have other members of the team step in and foil the plot. Only what if the operation goes wrong when one of the team – Vasquez, for instance – turns out to be a double agent? Or a renegade fanatic?
This could work. But you’d probably have to sacrifice the great airport sequence. Unless… The Smoking Man decided that once the operation went bad, the agency needed to cut its losses by getting rid of the rest of the team members who witnessed this colossal fuck-up. So he decides to put them in remote control planes. But instead of running the planes into buildings and killing more Americans, he scrambles the Air Force to shoot them down, which is what would actually happen in a real plane attack by terrorists. That still stretches credibility. But it’s more plausible than what you’ve got.
Other options? I don’t know… Would a Dr. Strangelove approach work with this material – an obviously satirical approach to a deadly serious anxiety-provoking subject? Very risky and very difficult to pull off. But maybe it could work. You’d have to change the entire tone of the story and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to do that.
A renegade militia intent on provoking WW III in the Middle East? Timothy McVeigh and his buddies were crazy enough to blow up the federal building in Oklahoma City. So we know there are kooks out there willing to take such extreme measures. But how would they get an All-American do-gooder like Sean to join their ranks?
I have a feeling you’re going to want to stick with your original premise of a clandestine government organization which conspires to stage twin terrorist attacks on American soil. If that’s your choice, go for it. If I knew what the American public really wanted in a blockbuster, I’d be rich by now. If this is the story you really want to tell, here’s what I recommend to help make it a little more palatable for anyone remotely concerned with plausibility…
1) Ratchet up the paranoid/manic/maniacal aspect of Duke’s personality…. I’m talking Wild Bill Donovan on steroids and testosterone, with a touch of Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper (from Strangelove) on the side.
2) Clearly establish that Smoking Man, Duke and the rest of them are rouges operating outside of direct government control.
3) Put Sean through some kind of hazing process that supposedly establishes his bona fides to join a false flag operation of this nature. This is the biggest implausibility of all – that Duke would assign a new recruit to such a sensitive mission without field testing him in a less critical, but still morally hazardous solo operation. Instead of putting Sean through the paces of a low stakes capture the flag operation in the first act, send him to a third world country to assassinate a civilian politician with some “unintended” collateral damage. This would make for a more exciting opening sequence and would establish Sean’s qualifications to serve on the team that blows up the Mall of America’s. Of course, this will make Sean less likable in the eyes of the audience. But you can’t have it both ways. You can’t make Sean a good guy and have the bad guys think he’d be willing to go along with them in their morally corrupt scheme to provoke a war with Iraq. Duke needs to think that Sean is enough of a bad guy to carry out the mission when it comes right down to it. Your protagonist must tread a fine line between good and bad. In other words, he must be morally complex. Not like a Bond, so much as a Bourne. Of course, Bourne had the advantage of not knowing who he used to be, so he (and the audience) could begin with a moral blank slate (hmmm).
My notes below are mostly of the nitpicky type. At times, the dialogue is a bit off, and the characterizations are pretty one dimensional. But aside from the glaring implausibilities, this is a very strong script. You have a clear talent for writing blockbuster action sequences and the structure of this screenplay is excellent. You also have a very good feel for the genre, something that is usually lacking in less experienced writers. Most of the elements of a successful action screenplay are already there. You just need to make the fictional dream believable… At least for the couple of hours it takes to watch the movie.
p. 1 – Solid cinematic opening.
p. 2 – What does a “New York Mexican” look like? Mexicans may be the fastest growing ethnic group in New York, but they haven’t been there long enough to be an easily recognizable type, like the Nuyoricans (Puerto Rican New Yorkers).
p. 5 – Not a good idea to have your hero speak in comic book clichés for the first words out of his mouth. And in general, it’s usually a bad idea to have lines of dialogue begin with interjections, such as “Oh” and “Hey”. Why does Guard One say “FLASH BANG!”? I can’t tell if that’s a typo or an actual attempt to communicate something.
p. 7 – Nice of Kitty to strip before she takes on Sean hand-to-hand. But why the sleeping dart? I assume he was killing other guards (i.e., the head twist on the preceding page). So why let Kitty live… Just because she’s a girl and has a nice rack? I’ll buy that. But I think it’s rather sexist of him.
p. 9 – Cheater! I thought you might be up to something like this when he shot Kitty with the sleeping dart. But the head twist on page 6 is a blatant red herring. I think you’re better off letting the reader think that he shot Kitty dead and not showing the sleeping dart in her arm until the page 9 reveal.
p. 11 – “Oh. Ah, congratulations…. (etc.)” Lame. Guys like Jugs, even if their techies, don’t get this far in the CIA by being wimps.
p. 13 – A viewing audience isn’t going to know what the medals on Duke’s wall are for.
p. 16 – It’s doubtful someone in Sean’s position would need a primer on false flag ops.
p. 18 – 3-5 bottles of whiskey is too much. They look much tougher if they drink a single bottle between them and show no ill effects. Five bottles, whether actual or just a drunken boast, make them look like assholes.
p. 26 – This has to be a phony operation. Right? No way the members of this team are going to blow up the Mall of America. I’m thinking you’re going to have a hard time making this sequence work, because the premise is so implausible.
p. 32 – Bad time to take the reader out of the story with an on-the-nose flashback to Kitty’s childhood.
p. 41 – I was wrong about this being a phony operation. This is just totally implausible. You need a much better set-up to make this believable.
p. 43 – Why wouldn’t they zap Sean? Vasquez just shot a bunch of cops in Sears. They can hardly be worried about public appearances at this point.
p. 47 – Under the circumstances, I’m having a hard time understanding why Duke wouldn’t order Jugs to take out Sean.
p. 52 – I did not realize Aunt Sarah was really Kitty’s aunt until she was dead. Perhaps this is just careless reading on my point, but I thought it was just a case of mistaken identity. Part of my confusion stems from the fact that she call’s Kitty Kefira. It might have been less confusing if you had referred to Kitty by that name before, as this is an important plot point you don’t want the reader to miss.
p. 53 – Jugs finally gets around to zapping Sean a second too late. Good thing they’re not playing Call of Duty or Sean would have been dead about a hundred times by now.
p. 55 – “He spends more time with the engine than he does with me!” – The teenager’s words do match the urgency of the moment. There are trained killers shooting at him. Does he realize he could die at any second?
p. 61 – The Sean-zapping device needs to recharge? That is really lame.
p. 62 – This is a good scene where he cuts the device out of his neck. Problem is Jugs should have zapped him twenty pages ago. For this scene to be truly effective you must come up with a plausible way to delay the activation of the device (so far you haven’t come close to doing that). The other option, is to make this the first thing Sean does after he disarms the bombs. Actually, this is the only intelligent thing for him to do. He knows the device is there. So the moment he deviates from the plan, he should know he has to do this. Otherwise they’ll kill.
p. 69 – Duke is eliminated for fucking up the assignment. This makes me think of a way out of the huge implausibility dilemma in this script. What if the mission was to merely plant the bombs, but not set them off? Only Vasquez turns out to be a double agent (or just plain insane) and sets them off. Then Duke gets eliminated for losing control of the mission and Smoking Man and other agents make the best of this new situation. Now they just need to tie up the loose ends of Sean and Kitty, so they don’t go public with the true story.
p. 73 – “On the end…” - This is very confusing, because at first I thought you meant the other end of the phone line.
p. 74 – Good idea for Kitty to remove the chip. But why haven’t they killed her yet?
p. 83 – I’m not buying the hiding in a mattress business.
p. 86-89 – Donner does not come across as a skilled interrogator. He certainly isn’t someone the FBI would send in to question the wife of a terrorist suspected of blowing up the Mall of America. He’s not nearly cagey enough – all speeches, instead of actually trying to get some useful information from her.
p. 98 – It makes no sense at all for a government sanctioned operation to fly a plane into a building in Chicago. To begin with, an operation like this requires planning and this is all spur of the moment. Second, it has no chance of success. Remember the evening of 9/11? The entire country was locked down. No way are two terrorists going to get up in the air after bombing the Mall of America, even with the help of a clandestine government organization. Third, this is just overkill. The mission was accomplished with the bombing of the mall. Fourth, even if this crazy scheme succeeded, why risk it, as it would only draw attention to the more improbable aspects of the government conspiracy?
p. 112 – Kitty had to die for her sins. Good move.
p. 111-116 – The denouement is long and a chore to read after the fast pace of the preceding pages. The TV commentary on p. 115 is completely unnecessary. read
by craigpau on 12/26/2011Pretty clean script. Some of your sentences in action description are really long. Tighten them up. All the description slows it down in places, but I was able to get through it. I wanted to like the script more than I did because the set up for the idea was pretty cool. I did like the first thirty pages, but after that, I thought there were huge lapses in logic and things... Pretty clean script. Some of your sentences in action description are really long. Tighten them up. All the description slows it down in places, but I was able to get through it.
I wanted to like the script more than I did because the set up for the idea was pretty cool. I did like the first thirty pages, but after that, I thought there were huge lapses in logic and things that happened were so coincidental that I slowly lost interest. But I do this when I watch most Hollywood movies in this genre so probably not a big deal.
Page by page:
p.8 – The gag to get to Kitty is too silly. It is the oldest trick in the book so why use it?
p.9 – Great opening – that it’s all a training exercise. It works and pulls you in.
p.19 – Be great to see his daughter greeting him here as well. Sets up family unit.
p.25 - Sean must have had some idea what he was signing up for, no? I don’t really understand or buy the fact that Sean would agree to be part of this Special Ops team and then have no idea that they were planning on blowing up The Mall of America. Same goes for the computer chip. Who agrees to do a job where they can track you with a chip, then find and kill you if you betray them? Why would Sean agree to this? That’s not a job. He doesn’t need the money this bad. I also wasn’t clear as to why Duke would hire Sean to do this crazy kamikazee mission when he didn’t really trust him.
P.28 - No one pays them much attention when they walk into the mall dressed as these crazy costumed terrorists? In Minnesota? I would think that the cops would be racial profiling and stop them almost immediately. It’s so out of the ordinary that you have to address it in some way.
p.31 – Don’t think you need the flashbacks.
p.32 – Same with Kitty flashbacks.
p.34 – Very coincidental that Aunt Sarah is in this exact mall at this exact time.
p.37 – Jugs is monitoring the GPS for placement on everyone and it takes him forever to see that Vazquez are in the same location. That’s his only job, right? The only reason I will be bringing up these points is because I think if made this all smarter, you might have something. But it all seems to be based on movie coincidences designed to keep the story moving forward and some of the points just aren’t logical.
p.38 – The mall security guard ‘decides to let it go’? Why does he decide to let it go?
p.38 – They don’t arrest Vazquez? And they believe him when he says it’s Sean? Why would they believe this crazy man?
p.41 – Vazquez would not have escaped if they had arrested him. This is what I mean by movie coincidence.
p.43 – Why wouldn’t they just zap him? He’s a threat to their whole operation here. And not in a public place? Not logical. They have many opportunities to get rid of Sean and there ends up being no logical reason not to do it. That’s why they planted the chip in his neck in the first place, so they could do that. And yet, it never happens.
p.49 – SEAN, not DUKE who says ‘Tell ‘em..’
p.53 – What takes Jugs so long to execute Sean?
p.58 – Sean tells Brianna to get out of the house now, yet she doesn’t leave the house.
p.60 – Cell phone dies. Seen this a million times. See if you can fine more creative ways to solve these types of issues.
p.61 – Cut flashback. We get it.
p.64 – Why can’t Duke get a clear shot at Kitty?
p.65 – So Duke decides not to go after Sean here. Instead, they are going to regroup. Sean just had a knife penetrate his neck so he would be very easy prey.
Most of my notes on the remaining pages have to do with logic so I think you get the idea at this point. I’m willing to go with a story idea with a few plot holes and give the writer the benefit of the doubt, but almost every single twist and turn in your story felt contrived and not believable. Again, you have a good idea of what and where you want to go with the story. Just think of a more original way to tie some of these together and don’t take the easy way. Be clever. Don’t use things you’ve seen in movies. Think of new ways.
I hope my notes help.
by SiColl007 on 12/24/2011Solid action script that keeps you rooted until the finish. Characters. Good. Nice variety - although rather a lot of Agents, most of whom meet an unfortunate end. Main characters were on the whole believable. Sean heads the cast as Mr Action-Hero - fulfilled the role well, but didn't add any great depth beyond what was required. Kitty was the Miss Bad who saw the light and... Solid action script that keeps you rooted until the finish.
Characters. Good. Nice variety - although rather a lot of Agents, most of whom meet an unfortunate end. Main characters were on the whole believable. Sean heads the cast as Mr Action-Hero - fulfilled the role well, but didn't add any great depth beyond what was required. Kitty was the Miss Bad who saw the light and died bravely; The Smoking Man was the quiet and menacing Mr Bad.
Dialogue. Average to good. Pretty standard action-type dialogue - didn't need to be anything great, just did its job.
Plot. Overall the plot was good. I felt that it really did run into some difficulties when Sean first went rogue, and there was some pretty desperate plugging of gaps as the bad boys struggled to find reasons not to logically just press the switch and blow Sean to smithereens. There are various excuses such as the truly implausible and somewhat laughable 'not wanting to do it in public' - in a Mall they were in the process of blowing up, and shortly after that, taking two security guards out (in public!). The other big no-no was how quickly they took Sean on board in the first place - I would have liked to have seen a tester (of Sean) before taking him on such a mission - there is an obvious question - what happens if he chickens out? I think the tester would have helped to flesh out Sean's character somewhat and may have given him a bit more back-story - why take one non-psychopath with you etc. Apart from these the plot clicks together quite nicely.
Story. Good. Yes, plausibility is stretched, but this is more than made up for by Hummers being flipped over in gloriously over-the-top action stunts. We all get it, and we all want to see a big fat bang. So we get that to.
Overall: Does what is says on the tin. Plot holes filled, this could shine quite nicely. There are numerous very nicely completed scenes - one in particular where Kitty and Sean both try to defuse bombs simultaneously - actually got me curling my toes, & scripts don't do that to me. Emotional heart-strings were being pulled left, right and center faster than a string-quartet at a wedding. There's a lot that is very right about this script, and a couple of wrongs than can easily be rescued.
Good work. read
by QCongress216 on 12/24/2011This is a very good script. I enjoyed the action, energy, and pacing of the story. As well as the dialogue in the story. Every page I turned had me in suspense on what would happen next. Or, who was the mole or who wasn't the mole. You also created some well-developed characters. If in the right hands, it could be a hit movie. But, you might wanna clean up a couple of things... This is a very good script. I enjoyed the action, energy, and pacing of the story. As well as the dialogue in the story. Every page I turned had me in suspense on what would happen next. Or, who was the mole or who wasn't the mole. You also created some well-developed characters. If in the right hands, it could be a hit movie.
But, you might wanna clean up a couple of things. For example, you put "SAME" in your sluglines when you were on new scenes. It's okay to put "DAY" or "CONTINUOUS" sometimes. Also, you were a little over descriptive on p. 97 about the abandoned airfield. You should consider cutting down your description; be detailed but brief. Keep the descriptions short but sweet. You should also introduce the FBI agent that questions Sean's wife earlier in the story. Maybe consider him being the lead agent that's trying to bring Sean and Kitty down. But, this is script is worthy of being made or even put on "The Black List". read
by snony on 12/23/2011I've started to use song titles or lyrics in my headlines, just in case you were wondering where that comes from (Iron Maiden - Two Minutes To Midnight). I liked this and I can imagine this being made into a cracker of a movie, up there with other good conspiracy-type movies like 'Shooter' and 'Long Kiss Goodnight'. As for the big brush strokes, I think you've nailed it in... I've started to use song titles or lyrics in my headlines, just in case you were wondering where that comes from (Iron Maiden - Two Minutes To Midnight).
I liked this and I can imagine this being made into a cracker of a movie, up there with other good conspiracy-type movies like 'Shooter' and 'Long Kiss Goodnight'. As for the big brush strokes, I think you've nailed it in this draft. The shortcomings, for me at least, were more to do with the mechanics of screenwriting than anything else.
I'm sure there's a lot of latitude and different schools of thought, but I would prefer full slug lines throughout, especially when someone moves from inside to outside. Moving from one room to another is okay.
General tip: try to avoid using words ending in -ed, -ing and -ly, as they sound past tense. Using better alternatives gives the writing more immediacy and makes for a quicker read.
"Shots are poured into plastic cups." could be written as "Sean fills plastic cups with Whiskey. Hands grab the cups. They drink together and SLAM the cups onto the desk"
P.2 "He suspects something" "...but he thinks someone's behind him" For me, a suspicion is something internal and can't be filmed (unfilmable). What can be filmed is action. Show us the action and we infer the (internal) suspicion from what you show us, not what you tell us. Ditto thinks. There are a lot of these 'unfilmables' throughout that need to be tightened up.
P.14 (downs a shot and leaves)
These kinds of actions should be in action lines, not in parentheses between dialogue.
So, I think this is the correct way to present this:
VASQUEZ: ...He thinks it through first.
He downs a shot and leaves.
VASQUEZ: He'll do. Sir.
Sean has a solid character arc. An unquestioning patriot who comes to realize that his own Government may be part of the problem, not the solution. At the end of your SP, he's a changed man. Nicely done.
I don't have much more in the way of comments for you, but I do have my notes, with the odd idea tossed in that may or may not be useful.
Best of luck with this! It's a movie I would definitely watch.
P.1 late 20's should be 20s (here and throughout)
compound's interior s/b compounds (possessive compound's not correct here)
P.3 GUARDS at bottom of page. Better at top of P.4
P.5 Windowsill and window sill. I wasn't sure myself, so I checked in my dictionary. The correct spelling is window-sill.
P.6 peaked into s/b peeked
P.9 repels s/b rappels (as in abseil, right? I think that's what you mean)
P.12 Kitty, ex-Mossad. Reminds me of Ziva in NCIS (she is soooo hot!)
P17 No answer. Sean nods.
Nods is an answer, albeit a non-verbal one. "Sean nods" is sufficient.
P.23 Iranian nukes: How long before US/UK/Israel do something in the real world? There have already been assassinations inside Iran, rumored to be carried out by Israeli agents. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
P.24 Duke has used towel-head twice now. Try and add variety. In my SP, I used "flip-flop dress-wearing bastard" That's a freebie!
I'm not sure you need the montage here. When Duke tells them to don disguises, you could just cut to the next scene in the van.
It might add more shock if they aren't told what the target is. Inside of the van blacked out. Doors swing open and daylight floods in. They're parked at the Mall. Duke gives them bags and orders them in. "Iran are building nukes. Kill a thousand Americans today, save a million Americans tomorrow" Then the enormity of what Sean is being told to do hits him, but momentum propels him along until he has time to take stock and make a decision (I won't do this).
P.35 Only C4? No nails or ball bearings? Real terrorists are real nasty.
P.36 few deep breathes s/b breaths
P.48 stand-offs are so last year. Haven't they heard of the 'apricot'? It's sniper slang for a part of the brain called the medulla oblongata. Instant kill. Anyone holding a hostage goes limp, can't pull a trigger or press a button. Stand-offs do make for good movie moments, even if not realistic.
P.52 I love Hollywood. In real life, tables or car doors don't stop real bullets, but in the movies...
P.66 Agent wonders s/b wanders
Smoking Man - very X files.
P.70 Suppose Duke waits to have surgery. Smoking Man reassures him that he'll be fixed up. When under anesthetic, Smoking Man/Agent accidentally on purpose gives him an overdose. He doesn't wake up. Both are dramatic, but for me the other one is both scarier, and nicer (almost like they let him go peacefully rather than kicking and screaming)
P.76 BLAM BLAM BLAM. Why not silenced? PFFT PFFT PFFT.
Why not use the headset thing to see through walls?
P.83 Nice hiding under the bed.
P.86 How do you say Mrs? I don't know.
P.99 Sean could use the handcuffs in the fight: Uncuffs himself, spins round and cuff the two agents together, then he and Kitty kick their asses.
P.101 Another Hollywood gem. Endless supply of bullets for the heroes. Love it!
P.113 Youtube. Nice way to exonerate Sean. Ordinary citizens can tell the truth and 'The Man' can't stop them. Great. read
by jakenp on 12/21/2011The False Flag follows Sean, a new CIA guy as he rebels against a despicable, secret government operation that he is assigned. The entire CIA chases him for the duration of the story, but Sean is wily and sharp. It ends in a climactic near-recreation 911-using-planes-as-weapons ploy. You have a knack for telling an engaging and exciting story. This was a quick read, despite... The False Flag follows Sean, a new CIA guy as he rebels against a despicable, secret government operation that he is assigned. The entire CIA chases him for the duration of the story, but Sean is wily and sharp. It ends in a climactic near-recreation 911-using-planes-as-weapons ploy.
You have a knack for telling an engaging and exciting story. This was a quick read, despite some overly dense pages of action direction (which I do think you can pare down significantly).
I love your beginning. Very nicely done with the false start "it was a training mission." Brianna and Jenny are nice. Kitty is pretty good once I get into her. Very high concept in a fun way that could make for a super-successful high-budget blockbuster.
I do think there is a lot of room for improvement here. I will just rattle off my thoughts. I hope they are helpful.
I think that your tone is way too whimsical. Duke is a buffoon who offers a ton of amusing (but not terribly funny); Sean smiles when he gets to listen to a classic rock song. I really feel like these moments don't work in such a sober story as the US government is doing a false flag operation to kill Americans and start a war. This story warrants a tone more in the vein of the TV show 24 or "Enemy of the State".
I think your good vs. bad is too black vs. white. The Agents and the Smoking Man seem quite cartoonish and Sean never really has to make a tough moral decision. Similarly, we never get to know Kitty, but we are expected identify with her on the simple fact that she made the decision to bail on the evil operation. Then she even becomes something of a second protagonist, as she has scenes of her own toward the end of act II.
For me, the whole Mall of America sequence seems like an act III. It's very long for such an early action sequence. It just felt dragged out.
I think you should have a scene at some point in the middle when Sean gets a hold of Brianna, pleading with her, whatever. Just have them get in touch and I bet some good drama will happen.
Some of the jumps you make seem unbelievable to me. Here's an idea pitch: what if Sean has FINALLY passed his training test and now is on the squad...a squad whose purpose he doesn't know yet? Then its on the way to the mall and at the mall that the true false flag operation becomes apparent to him. Make him (and the audience) put the pieces together, don't just have Duke do it all.
This story skewers the government pretty hard. I can't believe it. Maybe others could, but that is just my reaction. I was expecting that the whole thing was a rogue non-gov't operation (sort of like TV show "Alias")...but that is up to you.
Thanks for an engaging read. Despite my issues with this draft, the story is very enjoyable and exciting. Best of luck! read
by jayelveejr on 12/21/2011Damn you Hayes. I was planning on reading this script tonight after putting my kids to bed but I decided to start reading and I couldn't stop reading and reading and the pages kept turning and turning and a couple hours later, here I am with a freaking overlong review. Damn your eyes, man! And I really hate Special Agent Hayes, traitor but more on him later. In all seriousness,... Damn you Hayes. I was planning on reading this script tonight after putting my kids to bed but I decided to start reading and I couldn't stop reading and reading and the pages kept turning and turning and a couple hours later, here I am with a freaking overlong review. Damn your eyes, man! And I really hate Special Agent Hayes, traitor but more on him later.
In all seriousness, always a pleasure to read a script from an excellent writer. You didn't disappoint. This is a fantastic, rip-roaring non-stop thrill ride. From the opening pages, I knew I was in the hands of a supremely talented writer, as I already know, so needless to state ... you sucked me right in from the very beginning and you never let up. I loved how you give us depth and insight for each character from the very beginning. And you did so with just a quick brief description or quick bit of dialogue that tells us right off the bat what we need to know. For example, the banter between Sean, Duke, Vasquez, Jugs and Kitty right away let's us know something about each character and the dynamics between them. Great job.
We are quickly thrust into the mission and once the pedal hits the gas you never let up. This is about the quickest 116 page script one could ever hope for. As an action film, this is really exciting and it pushes all the right buttons. Sure, we kind of have to turn on our suspension of disbelief at times but do so with almost all action films (Hello! James Bond anyone!).I cannot tell you how quickly I read this as the pages kept turning ... before I knew it, I was in the Mall of America and I was at page 60 and I chuckled, how did I get here so fast? I did so because of the quality of the writing. Did I expect anything less from Mr. David Hayes? Nope, I got what I expected. Another fine script. Loved the characters of Sean and Kitty. By the time they go on the run and they're wanted, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. This was the ultimate cat-and-mouse chase film with outstanding set pieces. I was a bit shocked and surprised when the government took care of the rest of the team. It happened so early, I thought wow, you got me on that one. Good stuff since I couldn't predict. Always nice to be surprised and not see something that is easy to guess what's coming next.
Okay, so overall I think this is a really good action script and shows off your talents. I only have some minor reservations. I normally don't take notes but I wanted to give you as much detailed notes as possible only to let you know of things that were a little off to me or to give you some pointers. Also, I normally don't give long reviews to what I think are really good scripts because I just read and normally don't take such detailed notes. In fact, the scripts I think need more work are the ones I write the most notes and sometimes I start taking notes because I think, oh I think I need to get these down before I forget. So ... this is the first good script I have read in a long time where I started taking notes and notes ... you know why? Because I want it to get better (not implying that it isn't already) so you can get this s.o.b. made. I would love to see a credit of Screenplay by David Hayes on the big screen and I can nudge my wife and say, hey I know that stinkin' genius.
So this is a record for me in reviews here. I will now offer a bucket load of hopefully not useless drivel on a script which I classify as really good. But I want to give you my best buddy. I want you to take this to even another level because, after all, most scripts are all about writing and re-writing. You're aware I'm currently working on some projects and one of them is with a director who has made me write over twenty drafts already so I know better than anyone that writing is re-writing, and then when we think we're done ... even more writing.
So bottom line first: Overall, a thumbs up on this baby to steal a finger from Mr. Ebert. I would love to see this darn film on the big screen. It's almost a textbook on how to write an action script where tension and conflict keeps coming up. It follows the formula of good/bad in that you never let up. Like good...Sean escapes....bad, some folks recognize him...good, he might escape...bad, they have his family...etc. For each reaction there is an opposite force and that is quality tension filled conflict. Super.
Now on to the nitty gritty ... the below are from my rambling notes as I read so please apologize for any repetition or blah blah blathering on my end but I wanted to give you a precise detailed review from an unprecise and scatter-brained person... me.....cut to notes:
Now that the gushing is over, for the sake of a proper critique I will offer my two cents worth (actually, one cent with today's crappy economy) and give you my thoughts on certain aspects of the script. I really think you can still take this to another, dizzying level (if that's possible since this is already so good) but here goes ...
Let me preface by stating that ... although I was born in Cuba, one of my proudest moments in my life was when I became an American citizen. I cherish this country even with all its flaws. Although we have some problems and there is ample room for improvement, I also think this is the greatest country in the world. I do understand that there are aspects in America that can be improved but I really deep down believe that we are a great nation. I don't even consider myself a Cuban-American but rather an American who counts his blessings for having my parents have the courage to leave their homeland so that his kids could grow up in such a wonderful place.
Now the only reason I bring that up is because of this ... although I don't always agree with America bashing, I can also enjoy a good thriller about anything ... I love a good conspiracy theory and government covert/secret machinations within the bowels of government stuff as much as anybody. I love, love espionage and even to the point that it might portray our country with say ... things that people might object to or make us look bad. I myself have some theories that might be considered out there ... I even wrote one of my scripts about it -- about government/industry cover ups and such that I don't deny, nor am naive to think that these things don't actually happen, I'm sure they do ... so even though I may take issues with folks who really truly believe that we caused 9/11 or it was some covert U.S. operation to justify war or that we bring things to ourselves, and the world, by the actions of our country, I can still enjoy a story that might shade things a little dark. I look at all viewpoints and if someones wants to make a film about some conspiracy about us being the bad guys, I'll go ahead and take a look even if I may not agree with it. Some of our finest films have dealt with American conspiracies and things we might object to so on that angle, don't mind at all.
Why am I stating this? Because, in my opinion, the one thing that I didn't totally buy here is a group of American soldiers who willingly would carry out such a mission on our soil even if they believe to their inner core that this is necessary. Just the fact that they know that innocent people will die takes me a bit out of the "realism" that is inherent here in this great script and immediately brands all of them as bad guys, non patriots even if that is their intent.
What if? What if this wasn't on American soil? What if somehow we have Duke be an absolutely crazy guy who gets those in the group to buy into this. What if he makes them think that the bombs won't go off? Recently (I believe in October) there was a story about how we intercepted an Iranian plot to blow up the Saudi ambassador on American soil. It was reported in the Press so one can still be angered at Iran for conceiving such a plot and the fact that it came out in the open was just as good as it happening. If I recall, they were going through Mexico and use the drug cartel to carry out the mission (I think) so as not to trace it back to them. The fact that this was brought out in the open and that the plan never came to be, just knowing about this was just as bad as if the plan had actually taken place.
What if Duke tells his team, that we plant these bombs there but we will not use them. That they will alert the authorities to the bombs and then the bombs will be picked up but it will still be an act of aggression by Iran. What if they strategically place bombs all over the country, say a few days before and they do blow them up at night or when folks aren't there. Then they release a letter stating that these were just to get their attention and that a bigger plan is coming. And then they make it like the Mall of America was the ultimate last plan to actually blow it up. Then after they alert the authorities, make it look like it was going to be an Iranian plot anyway, and then when the poop hits the fan, the whole world finds out that this was an Iranian plot to bomb the mall? Wouldn't that make a bit more sense than having these patriot soldiers be willing to bomb our own people?
And what if half way through the scene (which is great of course), Sean and Kitty do find out that this is not Duke's plan ... that he really wants to explode the bombs. That way I can buy Kitty's sudden change of heart there at the mall when she contemplates what she is doing and how wrong it is? I really think that just "thinking" that word will get out that Iran had this plot will work just as well as actually blowing this mall up. But then if Duke double crosses them and Sean finds out then that makes a bit more sense to me.
Or ... what if this doesn't happen on American soil but say, happens in a place like London for example. Why not have it that Duke and the government wants to go to war with Iran but that for some reason our great ally Great Britain doesn't want to go along and then these soldiers will set off the bomb in say, London rather than in Minnesota? This would even add a political layer that the U.S. and Great Britain have different plans in mind, a sort of conflict within the whole scope which would then really lead the British to then go into war with America and against Iran because of this act of aggression? Sorry to the English but I just think something like this would make more sense if it "wasn't" on our own soil. As it stands now, this is more of a McVeigh type of thing and I kept wondering why these soldiers would do this -- but if it was on foreign soil that might work even better and that way, it makes it more of a Duke type of plan than the way it's portrayed here. Just an idea?
I also think this would fix a slight little kink in the coincidence that not only is this Sean's first mission but perhaps a wee bit coincidental that Kitty has the same reservations at precisely the same time. I think that if Kitty assumes that they will go through with the original plan of planting the bombs but that they will ultimately not go off then you can lose that layer of her having a tough time with it. For all she knows, like Sean, that is the plan but then she can realize at the same time that it was Duke's plan all along to blow them up (and you can even present it that Vasquez and Jugs go along with him and maybe only Kitty is not aware?). Again, I'm just rambling here on thoughts that came as I read this super script which I think can still soar to even greater heights.
There are times when Sean doesn't act right or doesn't think straight like he should. For example, when he calls his wife back home when he learns of the plot and thinks that Duke will go after her. Again, if this was happening somewhere like London, it makes just as much sense for Sean to call his family back home and tell them to get out. Anyway, the one thing he does that is a bit naive is to tell her to go to her mom's house first -- he quickly changes his mind but I think you can lose that line because logically, they know everything about him and his family so he has to know that going to his mom's house is just as dangerous as staying home. I know that is minor but it did cross my mind as something he wouldn't do. He has to know that they know all the details of his life. Plus, if we really analyze, once they alert the press about Sean being a suspect for the bombing, why is Brianna still at home and sees the same newscast first? Wouldn't the government go get her first and take her away, for example, before that is leaked to the press? It seems a bit strange that they will use him as a scapegoat but don't go and get his family first before releasing the news? If they're going to the bad guys, then they need to go all out I think and this felt off to me. Maybe minor because they do show up but what if she sees the newscast and then there is the quick knock at the door and they're there. The way it's presented now makes it look like they don't think things through and why give her time to escape? I realize she doesn't but ... again, just rambling here. I know this is minor but again just crossed my small mind.
I think sometimes we are told a bit too much or some of the characters like the agents and the Smoking Man talk too much. Something minor but the banter between them in the motel room when they'e searching for Kitty for example seems like information we don't need. It does show the sarcasm of The Smoking Man when he imlies oh sure, there are secret walls in motel rooms in Minnesota but ... at times, I would think they might be a bit more menacing if they talk less? Again, this is so so minor within this super script but I'm just thinking again (I know, stop thinking you dummy).
I loved how Kitty hides in the mattress and the utters one of my favorite lines: the bastards took my tequila. Classic.
The interrogation scene with Brianna and Agent Donner felt a bit long to me. I think you can cut it way down in my estimation. The heart of the scene is for her to spill her guts out but the main concept is for her to tell him that no way in hell her husband would do this. I might think about cutting it down a bit. Also when The Smoking Man grabs Sean, again, I think we already know his intentions that he's a cleaner type of guy so not sure the dialogue works as well. I really think we get it and when Sean blurts out that he knows they've killed the rest of the team, the Smoking Man should maybe not say a word, especially since we already know what happened. Again, I think less is more here. Okay, another minor note...Sean figures out that Smoking Man and govt. has taken out Duke, Jugs, etc. Why doesn't he ask him about his family? I'd like a quick reference by Sean that he's worried about them, maybe he yells at him...where is my family and the SM doesn't answer him? Just a thought.
Another minor thing... when Sean and Kitty meet up, I think you can lose the dialogue when he asks her how she got caught...since we already know ... this is information we don't need to know. They should just look at each other and leave it at that.
One thing I did like. I see now why they probably let Sean come into this operation. Especially if they set out to make him the scapegoat all along. I think there is a subtext there no? When the Smoking Man says they will crash the planes and they will be the most notorious U.S. terrorists ever? I think that makes sense to me and something that is not overly implied. I did wonder a bit why Sean got into this and it would make sense if they studied him and figured this guy would be perfect for our plan. (?)
I liked the action when they get away as they go for the plane but I did think these agents are a bit imcompetent letting them get away so easily?
Hey! Special Agent Hayes is in this?! Is that like a Hitchcock cameo for Special Agent David Hayes?!!!! Oh damn you Hayes, you shot Kitty? You punk.
The action in the latter pages is nonstop exciting, great writing. Maybe things work out a bit too easily and hastily. Certainly the wrap up is fast once everything unravels and the country, and we, know that Sean was set up and he wasn't the terrorist. I'm not overly crazy about the You Tube video and how this is the main cause of the country knowing the truth but ... I can't think of another way to do it so maybe I'm off here.
This is almost a perfect example of action screenwriting and despite my freaking overlong and perhaps tedious review here, I really think this has the makings to be a super exciting action film.
Yet another example of great writing from David Hayes. The only other minor thing I will mention (man, have I used the word "minor" enough in this freaking review) is that I think that Sean Murray sounds too generic a name. I almost wish he would have a more clever or catchier name. Maybe the point is that he's supposed to be an ordinary plain named dude, a Hitchcockian type immersed in this mess, so maybe I missed it but since Kitty has such a memorable name...Kefira Bukowski that I think our male lead's name Sean Murray sounds too generic? Maybe you should name him David Hayes so you don't kill off your female lead man?!
As usual, great job. I give this one thumbs way up on all ratings.
Can you please invite me to the premiere? Appreciate it.
Keep up the great work, bud and best of luck. read
by lamytheman on 12/21/2011The action in this screenplay goes from page 1 through 117 with no real room to breathe. I had some issues with the character and some of the dialogue. Towards the end in the interrogation room, Brianna mentions that the horrors of 9/11 is what made Sean join the CIA so it makes no sense to me all that he would knowingly even get on the plane once he was told of the plan to... The action in this screenplay goes from page 1 through 117 with no real room to breathe. I had some issues with the character and some of the dialogue. Towards the end in the interrogation room, Brianna mentions that the horrors of 9/11 is what made Sean join the CIA so it makes no sense to me all that he would knowingly even get on the plane once he was told of the plan to blow up the Mall of America. From then on you've lost me. I could go along with the idea that he was told that the mission was to stop an attack and learn a few pages later that the team was actually planting the bombs and in his attempt to thwart their plan he's framed for the bombing.
Some of the dialogue is bit drawn out or too much on the nose. For example, we know how much Brianna loves Sean from the interaction at the start of the screenplay, so I don't believe the dialogue between her and Agent Donner is necessary. A simple "I know my husband" would be more powerful than the long speech about finishing Sean's sentences and knowing his every need. Also Kitty's voice begins to sound like Sean's in the Abandon Airport Scene which is a bit unfortunate. With the back story you've establish for her plus the death of her aunt I would expect more of a need for revenge from this character not lines like "Who wants a little goodie from momma's goodie box..."
I really liked the structure of the screenplay and the concept. I believe it is very interesting and believe that the writer has the potential to make this screenplay pop with a few changes. read
by YolandaSB on 12/19/2011The concept of a covert group within the CIA executing false flag ops is fascinating but it's not effectively executed. I found it really tough to believe. This is supposed to be a government division in charge of highly confidential and controversial undercover operations and they seem very cavalier and unprofessional, sloppy even about their tactics and approach to everything... The concept of a covert group within the CIA executing false flag ops is fascinating but it's not effectively executed. I found it really tough to believe. This is supposed to be a government division in charge of highly confidential and controversial undercover operations and they seem very cavalier and unprofessional, sloppy even about their tactics and approach to everything involving the operation from recruitment to debriefing to how they communicate to how they execute. The US government prides itself on its military and this makes it look like a squad of amateur teens pulling off a high school prank. Take the energy and passion you devote to writing your action scenes and apply that to your characters, relationships, and showing the inner workings of this organization.
you're great at writing action, it's tense and fast-paced and flows well, but you dwell too much on the details and don't move the story along enough. Also, the action is very basic: guns and fighting and bombs and car chases. You need to write something that's never been seen before. These action scenes are not exceptional; audiences want the fantasy - the helicopter in the Chunnel in MI3, Bond chasing a target on a crane and rooftops, etc.
I would like to see something more high-concept than a mall bombing in the mid-west. There are elements of Die Hard here. There needs to be more at stake for everyone involved. I'd also like to know more about what it's like to work in this group that carries out these false flag operations: how does it affect the people involved, what happens to them if they turn rogue (this should be mentioned up front to set up for what's at stake if he doesn't follow through). The opening scene, which was way too long, should be a false flag op not a game; throw us into it right away to show what a false flag op is instead of telling us through dialogue.
Tighten your story to explain why this is the op you chose to follow. If it’s the one that causes the group to be exposed then show the fallout on the American people and the government. If it’s about a man who is recruited into the group, it’s got to be more believable, more serious and Sean can’t be someone who could go rogue. The government would observe and test his loyalty before ever considering him. They would brainwash him even. Just because he won a game of paintball doesn’t mean he’s covert ops material – obviously he’s not. This branch of the CIA wouldn’t take that kind of risk. So if or when he does go rogue, it’s because something drastic changed his perspective, something serious has to be at risk and the audience must feel that risk. It’s not enough to say that his family is jeopardy, we have to see them in jeopardy.
You're great at keeping track of what's going on in your story; pacing and structure aren't bad, but they're kind of off-centre because too much time is spent on action: the opening is 9pages and the mall explosion takes up the bulk of your story. The end is resolved too neatly on the last page, but there are still lingering questions of the fallout from the expose, which really means this is the middle of act two, when the bad guys start closing in (according to Save the Cat). I wanted Sean to be in greater jeopardy so I got really excited at the thought of the police and government turning against him once Rodriguez told the cops he was a terrorist, but that just died when R killed the cops. :( Push your character to his limit - what's the worst thing that could happen to him and make it happen. If it's his family is killed - make him think they're dead.
I was glad to see that you had stuck with the core group of characters you introduced at the beginning throughout most of your script – until you started introducing more characters later on – smoking man and all the agents and the Rogers brothers. All these characters are expendable. Deal with your core group. It turns into chaos at the end with everyone killing everyone, which just seems like a convenient way to tie up loose ends. Smoking Man seemed to take your story into an entirely different direction and tone – noir. It’s not a noir; it’s action.
It’s great that Sean is an active hero. He’s actually saving the day and driving the story, but all your characters and their relationships need more development. The characters are all very hollow and simply pawns for the plot. They have nothing at stake, don't have any strong needs or wants, we know very little about any of them. Brianna especially annoys me 'coz she doesn't DO anything but watch TV and cry. The scene at home could give more information about Sean’s relationship with his family - who they are as people, what they mean to him, the kind of relationship they have - more subtext.
Duke is an interesting character, but he's a little too much for a government employee: calling people 'terrorist shitbag' and 'towel-head piece of shit' - he's still a professional. Regardless of that, if you seriously want to get this movie made, language like this is going to turn audiences/readers off - it's racist. And 'big tits'? this language coming from a US government official is so unprofessional, sexist, condescending and insulting. The language got to be so offensive it made me not want to continue reading. Not to mention the proliferation of expletives. Dialogue overall has its moments, but could be a lot stronger. Action films have brief dialogue: characters don’t have time to be long-winded, but what they say (“yippee kay yay, Motherfucker”) says a lot about the kind of person they are. More subtext, give Sean more snappy one-liners and a stronger sense of character. He should stand out as the lead and right now Duke’s voice is the only memorable one.
The ending is rather convenient. There happens to be someone taping his conversation with Duke at the mall, which gets him off the hook and they air it on TV when it clearly exposes the government? There are no consequences for what happened. The government blew up a mall full of innocent Americans, pinned it on 2 Americans/agents and 2 dead ‘terrorists’ – who were they really?
Other Notes and Formatting etc.
your descriptions are very repetitive and wordy. you could cut down on some of it: "the design wouldn't be recognizable..." I don't understand why it wouldn't be recognizable if it's skull & crossbones etc. this sentence is unclear
You already say we're in a 'shabby compound' in the MSH, you repeat it in your description - tell us something we don't know. What does the compound look like? Perhaps you could find a more creative way of desribing that beyond the walls are woods and mountains. It reads like a list instead of a story.
You describe there's a face of a figure in the window of the tower looking at many screens but we're outside and can't see these screens. then you repeat in the next scene that he's staring at many screens. Introduce the character immediately, just once instead of 2ce using 'solitary figure' and Jeremy J.
Your MSHs are not clear. You're jumping inside and outside without saying so.
Every time you go in or out you have to have a new MSH. p3 or use intercut
you have a MSH 'on the window pane' - then you describe more action as if we're back in the previous scene but don't change the MSH
why is it important that the building is six storeys?
'grabs some gear' - be specific. if the 'gear' you refer to is actually the equipment you mention later, then don't repeat yourself.
be careful with your writing: 'looks to the right. sees the room he wants, the one he peaked (peeked) into before it rained...who now look like ghostly figures'.
some of the description is unnecessary - we all know what people look like in xray goggles/security cameras etc. you should, however say that they are xray goggles not just say 'headgear'
I'm not sure why he needs the xray goggles when he already found the room he wants - also, say what's in the room. why does he want it?
We need to know sooner than this who Sean is, what he wants, why he's breaking into this place and what this place is.
a few simple moves - be specific. when the majority of your script is fighting - you should know about fighting well enough to describe exactly what he does.
why is PAINTING...a MSH? it's not a location.
why does Kitty take off her clothes? what is 'full glory'? 'give them some room'? them who? her breats? that's unnecessary and sexist
why doesn't kitty speak before she actually does? Who is Sean that she knows who he is? we need to know who he is before she says this. What is their relationship?
page 9 - the whole thing is a game? and it lasts 9 pages? that's way too long. it could be done in 1-2. have to wait to see how this pays off but right now it seems pointless (it is). could use more dialogue and creative ways to introduce the characters, set up a few things that pay off later on. If Sean is the hero, (don't like his name btw, too ordinary) he should show special skills that no one else has. Look at the opening of the new Bond movies. He runs atop buildings, cranes and shoots people in ridiculous situations with ease. What's special about Sean?
the term is 'frou-frou'
p20 - two collide? ouch - the sex scene sounds kind of violent not like lovemaking
give us a better sense of location - where are we? What does this place look like? if it's nearly Christmas, you could tell us that by describing what the outside looks like - is there snow? lights?
what is the actual threat Duke poses on Sean's family? what sane person would agree to killing innocent Americans at Christmas? This seems so totally unrealistic.
why would Brianna even think Sean would be at the mall? did he tell her? did he say he was going shopping? doesn't she think he's at work? does she know what he does?
Agents Smith & Jones never say one another's names
find it really hard to believe they got away with killing cops and paramedics at the mall and there were no witnesses to say they did this
If all it takes to silence the squad is to 'zap them' using the chips in their necks, why does it take so long? why do they have to visit them personally? The whole chip thing is far-fetched and unnecessary.
you could do without the flashbacks. If the characters and story are developed convincingly, these aren't needed.
who's James Roland? Tighten up his speech and make it more professional.
How did James R tie Sean to the bombing if all the cops were killed by the guy who told them it was Sean? I'm guessing it was Smoking Man but that needs to be shown and explained why. It also comes a little late on page 80. why would the people in the diner need to get Sean's photo on their phones before they recognize him when they just showed him on TV?
why would Brianna still be at home when Sean called to tell her to get away ages ago?
why are all your janitors & housekeepers Hispanic?
If Kitty carved out the mattress to hide in it, where did she put the filling?
Brianna's speech "i know my husband" is kind of cliche - I finish his sentences...don't need this anyway
why would the cop believe Sean just 'coz 'he knows a liar when he sees one'?
why would Donner take Brianna home in a Caddy after interrogating her then politely agree to drive her to her mom's? - i think you're missing a scene.
p91-93 - where are they? all you have as a MSH is int/ext car. It's really hard to follow what's going on because there are no locations. why would the cop take Sean to see Smoking Man - the very man who's trying to get Sean killed?
and Smoking Man gives up on finding Kitty? - how did they find Kitty and when and where? how do we know she's in the other Hummer before you show her in the montage p95?
that's a lot of description of an abandoned airfield. unnecessary.
again - check your formatting MSH -p103 - inside the hummer - INT./EXT. HUMMER - ON THE MOVE.
what's with the cartoon-like descriptions of bombs and guns going off?
how is it that these 2 people who apparently had a problem with killing their own kind in the mall now don't have a problem with killing their own kind because they're under attack? They're still Americans even if they're not ‘good’ people. They’re their coworkers even; they KNOW these people. Wouldn't they still have a tough time killing them?
how many agents are in on this? "a huge pack' seems a bit absurd and out of control.
it's an abandoned airport - how would the control tower still work?
more agents with names who are never named in dialogue.
what are sticky bombs? how powerful are they? how do they work? we need to understand and see this.
p 110-111 starts to read like a spoof noir like Airplane - when one person shoots the other who isn't really dead then they get shot and they shoot the other, etc. it's kind of ridiculous and out of place.
Who is Simon Rogers?? You're introducing these bit players without any description or apparent purpose. read
by OliRichards on 12/19/2011For me this was both really good and really frustrating. First the good stuff – you can write, you can build tension, you can conjure up great action sequences, you can do realistic sounding dialogue, you can sustain a story over the length of a movie. All really great stuff. So why the frustration? There were a few things that I had a real problem with in this movie that... For me this was both really good and really frustrating. First the good stuff – you can write, you can build tension, you can conjure up great action sequences, you can do realistic sounding dialogue, you can sustain a story over the length of a movie. All really great stuff.
So why the frustration? There were a few things that I had a real problem with in this movie that meant I just didn’t think it would work. I’ll run through them in what I consider to be most important to least important:
- There is no way Sean would have been chosen for this mission. This is the biggest top secret mission ever. They would have chosen people not just on their physical prowess but on their psychological attributes too – which includes the ability to follow orders, lack of emotional connection to harming others and not sabotaging a mission. I just find it completely unrealistic he would have been chosen. And for them to have picked two dud people who go AWOL – no chance.
- Tied in with the first point. I didn’t find Sean was set up as a character well enough – one training run, then he joins a group in which everyone seems to hate him, and then the main event which he rebels on. We’d need a bit more story on the group, him becoming part of it, maybe one or two successful missions, him and Kitty perhaps chatting about how it’s getting all too much as Duke seems happy to kill anyone in his path, women and children included etc etc. In other words build up to him going off mission and make it a proper story.
- Why on earth did Duke not order Jugs to execute Sean on p.47? Maybe I missed something but it seems incredible he didn’t.
- The shoot out that Sean and especially Kitty engage in at the end is way over the top. Rambo ridiculous in the number of people they kill and the number of bullets that happen to miss.
- Why did they put make-up on themselves? I know it’s meant to be top secret but their cover could have been blown by a security guard spotting they had a silly outfit on. Surely there would have been a process in place to ensure the disguises were perfect.
- Kitty hiding in the mattress – really neat idea, but she wouldn’t have been able to replace the sheets.
I think your main difficulty is that these kinds of movies have reached a high level of sophistication. Films like the Bourne series and MI series have the same great level of action you do, but better back stories, plots and conversation between highly clever people engaging in battles of wits rather than the swearing and cheap jibes that you write. That sounds incredibly negative and it’s not meant to be. You’re a very good writer, it’s just that the good movies out there in this genre, which I really like, have great writing. I think you could get there though. Good luck! read
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