Wednesday, 13 January 2016

BUMP - CRIME DRAMA

LOGLINE: A​fter an accidental hit and run, a young lawyer’s entire life unravels over the span of one night as he attempts to dispose of a corpse that turns out to be way more than an innocent victim…

WRITER: Ori Guendelman 

SCRIPT BIO: Number 8 on the 2015 blood list.

INITIAL REACTION:

This was an odd one. It was a fun fast ride, but it wasn't grounded in reality at all which really detracted from the story. The hero has a clearly defined flaw at the start of the film and by the end of the film... he hasn't learnt anything what so ever. He stays exactly the same all the way through. Kind of annoying... 

Let's get into it...

***spoilers...

THE STORY:

Thomas is a pussy cat. He's a yes man. He's summoned by his asshole boss one evening to say that the promotion to partner in the law-firm is his if he just doesn't do anything to screw it up. All he has to do is not fuck up and his life long dream of being a partner in a successful law firm will come true.

Bummer then, when driving home that night Thomas runs over and kills a man. Not keen on losing the promotion or going to jail for 20 years for vehicular manslaughter, Thomas dumps the dead man in his trunk, takes him home, has an argument with his wife that he loses as he is a wimp. 

Oh, and his wife is cheating on him. 

Thomas cuts the dead man up and puts him in a box to dispose of, but when he cuts him open he finds a large parcel of drugs with a GPS locator in the man's stomach. 

Turns out the guy he killed was a drug mule. 

Now some Mexican cartel is after Thomas. 

Thomas will have to use all that he's got to make it through the night, disposes of the body, make good with the cartel and evade the police.


CONCEPT:

The concept here is pretty damn cool. Everyday hard working man, accidentally kills someone. He has a lot to lose so we can get behind him wanting to make the body of the man he killed disappear. But then it turns out this wasn't any ordinary man. It was a drug runner for a major cartel.

That's a concept that's ripe with huge amounts of conflict. You can pretty much see the movie. Damn it that sounds fun!

But here's the thing. Every script and ultimately every film is execution dependent. And here, in Bump it feels like the writer went with the 9 year old story rather than the grow up version. 

It almost feels like they pitched the concept to a class of 9 year olds, then said, 'okay guys, that's the idea, now I want all of you to brain storm that into a story for us.'

And that's how the script came to be. 

But as I'm breaking this sucker down piece by piece, and we're on concept at the moment, I have to give it to Ori, this is a really cool concept I can get behind.

CONCEPT RATING: 8/10

CONCEPT TIP: Start simple, then complicate things. An easy way to turn a mundane idea into cool idea is to take something we've all seen before in a film - honest Joe accidentally runs over a vagrant - and complicate it - i.e - vagrant is a drug runner for a major cartel.

Shit just got real.

FORM:

Form wasn't too bad here either. The writing was lean enough. There wasn't too much over description. And speed reading it I still managed to understand the story in its entirety, un-like yesterday's ramshackle piece.

Bump does use bold for its slug-lines which is a rookie thing to do, and it over uses underlining, often putting the underlining in the wring place.

FORM RATING 6/10

FORM TIP: Don't use bold ever. Only underline events that are important. Use CAPS for two reasons - 1) the first time we meet a character. 2) to highlight an OBJECT that we don't want to miss. 

STRUCTURE:

Structure was so-so here. There was a clear ordinary world, but because of over-writing, and dialogue scenes that went on waaaaaay to long, there wasn't as much of a set up as there could have been. 

Clear inciting incident.

No real refusal of the call.

And from there the story became a bunch of scenes snapped together, not anything following any kind of considered structure.

I believe the lack of structure comes from the character not learning anything along the way. It's Thomas-mild-and-meek all the way through.

Imagine if Jamie Foxx's character in Collateral had remained a pussy all the way through.

That's what we've got here.

STRUCTURE RATING: 5/10

STRUCTURE TIP: Well done if you can get an identifiable flaw into your hero. Congrats. Great starts. Now see if you can work on the hero overcoming that flaw throughout the story. 

That's essentially what structure is. 

The Hero facing event after event that tests their flawt. At first they react in their flawed way, but as the story progresses, they become aware that their flaw is causing them problems. Finally they confront the flaw, confess that they have this problem, then do their damnedest to over come it. 

CHARACTERS:

Again, it felt like the background for the characters came from the brain storm session from the class of 9 year olds.

Not one character felt real here. They were ALL stereotypes. Each and everyone of them felt like a homogenous re-hash of every vanilla personality trope we've seen a thousand times before. 

CHARACTER RATING: 3/10

CHARACTER TIP: Don't rely on a class of 9 year olds to come up with the back story and personality types of your characters. 

DIALOGUE:

Dialogue was hit and miss here. 

While there are some snappy lines, there's also waaaaaay too much dialogue. Take the opening scene for example. We have this to and fro between Thomas' boss and a waiter that goes on forever and has nothing to do with the story.

All the writer is doing in that moment is setting up that Thomas' boss is an asshole.

Totally unnecessary as that point is conveyed a beat later when Thomas' boss starts talking with Thomas. 

DIALOGUE RATING: 5/10

DIALOGUE TIP: Keep it pertinent. Once you understand your characters and what it is you need them to say in a scene, aim to get to the point of the scene as soon as possible. Once you've done what you need. Get out of the scene as soon as possible.

VOICE:

Voice wasn't great here. Nothing really stood out. Nothing had any real flair to it. Aside from the concept, pretty much everything else about this script is forgettable. 

VOICE RATING 3/10

VOICE TIP: Try something out of the box. Don't write vanilla. If you're always going for this safe option, odds are your script will have a low voice level. 

PRODUCTION:

Fairly easy to make. Not too many locations. it's not contained or limited in the location department, but there's probably less then 15 locations here, which lowers production costs a little.

The budget of this film would be cast dependant. You could do a 5 million dollar version with smaller names, or you could get that A/B lister to bolster the ticket sales, but that would boost this up toward the 15 million dollar range. 

I'm going to split the difference and say this would be roughly a 10 mill shoot. 

The concept is strong enough to get this one over the line. I just hope that the producers 
are savvy enough to get another writer in to clean up the bullet holes here.

SUMMARY:

While the concept is awesome, the execution is far from. There are some serious logic flaws in this script. Let's take the ending. 

Major spoiler here***

Thomas gets away with it. He's busted by the police for killing the drug mule. They have him on video tape murdering another person, then fleeing from police custody and at the very end, the Fed's decide to give him a hall-pass, because.... 

...here's the kicker...

... the drug mule was really an under cover agent and it was supposedly their fault that he was crossing the road in the first place. 

Explain to me the logic in that? 

That's just one of a myriad of bullet holes in this film. 

Logic gaps galore here. 

That's not how the justice system works. If you kill an undercover cop and someone else, there's no offical body that's just going to say, 'you know what, it was really our fault for  organising an undercover operative in the first place. Sorry you got tangled up in our stuff, here's a get of jail free card.'

Also, that Thomas doesn't learn ANYTHING through the whole film. He doesn't even try. That's what killed me. There's not one moment where he mans-up and takes a risk.

Terrible execution of a great idea.

OVERALL RATING 5/10