Overall Recommendation:
4.0 stars
(3)
5 Stars:
33.33%
(1)
 
4 Stars:
33.33%
(1)
 
3 Stars:
33.33%
(1)
 
2 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
1 Stars:
0%
(0)
 
Premise:
4.3 stars
(3)
 
Story structure:
4.0 stars
(3)
 
Character:
3.7 stars
(3)
 
Dialogue:
3.7 stars
(3)
 
Emotion:
4.0 stars
(3)
 
 
1-3 of 3 reviews
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4 out of 5 people found the following review helpful:

Great premise, pretty-great execution

Overall Recommendation:
5 stars
 
Premise:
5 stars
 
Story structure:
4 stars
 
Character:
4 stars
 
Dialogue:
5 stars
 
Emotion:
5 stars
 
January 10, 2011
For the most part, this is a great script. Writing a script about a man who has lost his memory has its inherent givens: it's mysterious, it's claustrophobic, it's paranoid. "Reminded" has it all, and I felt like it is something uniquely new.

But if this script has anything, it's complexity. The first page alone is very disorienting and really grabs you by the throat -- which is a good thing. Of course, there's always the other end of the spectrum. With complexity comes confusion, and "Reminded," while good, is also a little disorienting.

In terms of character, I have some very minor issues with Roger's past and how he's this sort of uncaring psychologist. I'm not sure I bought that. I would like to see some shuffling in Act One that gave his past more prevalence. I do like the idea of his character arc, though. Well done there.

The oldest story adage in the book is the "put your character in a tree" line. I feel the biggest weakness in this script is the lack of an external force that is putting Roger in jeopardy. Without jeopardy, we're just kind of going from one plot point to the next with nothing pushing us forward. The danger here is the story and plot floating away from its own foundations.

Prognosis: the writer has a great voice, obviously knows his stuff, and with -- I think -- one more draft with some tweaking to the story and character, this script will be ready for the big screen.

Definitely give it a read.
 
0 out of 1 people found the following review helpful:

First 15 pages have my attention.

Overall Recommendation:
4 stars
 
Premise:
4 stars
 
Story structure:
5 stars
 
Character:
4 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
4 stars
 
January 08, 2011
I have only read to page 18. No time to go further, but the desire is there.

Good start.

I see no technical issues. You seem to know your stuff as a screenwriter. The action is described tersely, which is good, dialog is believable, and the characters seem well developed with some depth.

The story reminds me of ones I have seen, "Regarding Henry" comes to mind, but yours seems to have some nice nuances going and is keeping my interest. Amnesia is a tough boat to row, I think. Having been a cheap TV ploy for many episodes of many shows. Again though, yours is an interesting start.

I took points off of what could be five star material mainly because the first 18 pages make it look so much like other premises I've seen. Depending on the end I may revise it upwards.

I took points off the dialog mainly for the medical exposition from the doctors. Not sure how, but could be a bit better. Other than that I like the dialog.

Good luck with this. I will may finish reading and add another review or revise this one.
 
3 out of 4 people found the following review helpful:

An intriguing complex story with a few holes

Overall Recommendation:
3 stars
 
Premise:
4 stars
 
Story structure:
3 stars
 
Character:
3 stars
 
Dialogue:
3 stars
 
Emotion:
3 stars
 
I love the trailer for this project. It really sets the tone and gives a clear understand of what this film is supposed to feel like. I also love the complexity in this story and believe with some work it could be developed into a very compelling movie. The basic premise that a man survives his attempted murder by failed parachute and then searches for answers without the help of his own memory is a good one; however, I found the story structure in this script somewhat lacking. I’d like to see the story start before the accident/murder attempt so all of those backstory details can be developed rather than just hinted at throughout. Then I think that backstory should be completed in a series of flashbacks as the story progresses. As the story is now written it reads more like a murder mystery than a suspense thriller which is what is intended. And the mystery in this script is for me more confusing than mysterious.

Developing a main character who has lost his memory and who is supposed to be different than he was previously is difficult and I believe is again another reason to have some scenes of him before the accident so the audience can clearly see how he has changed.
I also think the conflict in this script needs to be reconsidered. The main character is not really facing any ongoing jeopardy that builds over the course of the story. He wants to uncover the truth but there is no threat to him if he doesn’t. Of course, he’s in danger when he’s captured by the mob guys but he easily buys his way out of that and it’s gone – so where is the danger for him that should be driving this story?

There were a few small technical issues I had with this script but for the most part it was well constructed and easy to read. The one thing I think is worth noting is how some of the scenes started. I agree it is important to get into a scene late and get out early but many of the scenes in this script started too late for me and left me having to spend time waiting for clues as to where I am and what’s going on in the story.

I’ll just state for the record, everything you’ve read so far and all that is to follow is just one man’s opinion. I could be completely wrong. All of the problems I found could just be a result of poor reading and me looking with an overly critical eye. I’m certain I missed some things that were obvious and I apologize for any mischaracterizations of the work. I honestly admire the complexity of this script and fully understand how difficult it is to put this all together in a seamless story package.

So let’s walk through this script now and I’ll state specific problems I fund during the reading.

EVERY STORY PROBLEM I COULD DIG UP

The opening with the cemetery and skydiving accident is compelling and makes the reader want to know more about what happened, which is of course what this story is all about – what happened. In the narration that follows Roger makes the point that he wants to make sure his wife’s death was really an accident and at this point in the story it’s unclear why he would think otherwise. This goal would have more impact if there was a motivating factor that sparked his suspicion in the circumstances surrounding her death.

After Sara picks Roger up the story immediately shifts to Roger standing in the rain and that was disorienting. I felt lost, pulled out of the story, and had to wait until a few more clues showed up to discover where I was.

From here we move to the psychologist office and learn that Roger was also a psychologist, and wrote a book, but this is never developed any further in the story. It also plays against the notion that he was an “ass” in his previous life. People who become psychologist generally care about other people and my impression is he was a cut throat real estate developer, so I don’t know what to make of this.

We then learn that Roger’s best friend is Cal and if that’s the case why hasn’t Cal been in contact with Roger? It seems like Cal should have visited Roger as soon as he came out of his coma.

When we arrive at Cal’s house we learn that he has a butler. There may still be people who have butlers but it seems so other world to me that I had a hard time staying with the story. A more modern version of the butler would be the personal assistant and that might be a better choice for this character.

Cal seems to be Roger’s good friend in this scene but shouldn’t Roger be wondering why Cal never visited him in the hospital?

We also learn in this scene that Sara has been taking care of Roger’s estate since the accident and that sends my mind off wondering how that came about. Doesn’t Roger have any family members who should be taking care of his estate and exactly what is his estate comprised of? Is there a business that has to be maintained, investments that need to be managed, exactly what is it that she does?

While Roger and Sara are packing for Italy he has a weird change in personality and has his hands on her neck in strangling position and the description tells us we are seeing a dangerous side of Roger. Sara then brings up the incident to Cal on the airplane, and then Roger gets weird again at the café asking Sara if he was funny, but that’s the end of it. None of this dangerous side ever appears again. I assume that was just remnants of his old personality, but it really serves more as misdirection in this story because the reader is expecting something more to come and it never does.

Also in the café scene Roger speaks Italian to everyone’s surprise and this is never developed beyond this point. How is it Cal and Sara didn’t know he speaks Italian? Why is this brought up?

We then see Roger crying at the opera and my thoughts are this guy is having wild mood swings and he’s going to go off at any moment. But that doesn’t turn out to be the case so I was again misdirected.

After the opera we are brought to a scene with Cal and Roger at the bar and I found myself lost for a few moments while I tried to figure out what happened to Sara. It might be a good idea to make it clear the two guys have gone off alone before this scene starts.
During this scene with Roger and Cal, Roger takes the opportunity to check on Cal’s recent calls on his cell phone. I don’t know why Roger is suspicious of Cal at this point, nor do I understand the significance of the two calls he received.

At one point in the conversation Cal tells Roger he likes him. This seems odd for two guys who have been best friends for years.

Next we find Sara and Roger in a hotel room with two queen beds. This seemed odd to me. Why wouldn’t Sara have her own room? Or if she needs to be with Roger at all times, why wouldn’t they have a two room suite?

The next morning when Sara says she will tell Cal they are spending the day without him, it feels a little contrived. Why does anybody have to “go tell” Cal when they can just pick up the phone and give him a call? And when Sara tells Roger to eat his breakfast she will go, where is she going to go in her bath robe?

I don’t think a romantic montage belongs in a suspense thriller. It felt awkward to me.
Now we have the also awkward exposition of Sara announcing she has her own room now but I think the story would be better served if she started with her own room or they shared a two room suite.

When roger is questioned by the detective he seems overly defensive. I would think his new softer personality would be more understanding of the detective’s work. He also doesn’t share with the detectives anything about his memory loss and I would think that would be something he would want them to know. I don’t know why he would want to hide anything from the police at this point.

When the detectives bring up the notion that Sara was supposed to tell Cal about them not spending the day with him it becomes clear that this is just a story contrivance to implicate Sara in Cal’s death and therefore seems forced.

Roger leaves the police station with Sara and in the next scene he is alone in his hotel room. This is another moment where I felt lost and pulled out of the story because I had to wait a few moments for some more clues to figure out where I was.
Annette shows up as the clerk who took Sara’s message for Cal and we don’t know it yet but this turns out to be Roger and Macie’s daughter. This seems like too much of a coincidence and a story contrivance rather than real life.

Roger gives Sara a list of questions he wants answered and when he hears the answers he’s not happy to learn he was an “ass” in his previous life. What’s troubling about this scene is we don’t get to hear any of the details. Of course, I’d rather not hear the details delivered in a question answer session, I’d much rather see what he was like before all this happened either in flashbacks or by starting this story earlier so we can see Roger before the accident.

When the detectives show Roger the mephedrone it is implied they were the cause of Cal’s death but it’s never clearly established. And I honestly can’t tell you at this point I know how Cal died. I know it was a hit, but I don’t know the cause of death. And I’m not at all certain I understand the whole mephedrone connection. Not sure if or why Sara would want to ask a hotel clerk where she can buy sleeping pills. Maybe this is all supposed to be a distraction to make us believe Sara killed Cal? For me it’s simply confusing.

Now we come to the point where Roger decides for some reason to get a duplicate passport for Sara. I don’t see any clear motivation for this. He only has to wait one more day to get Sara’s passport from the police, unless he suspects she is guilty, and that has not been established in the story. He just appears to be extremely impatient and I don’t know why Sara would go along with this kind of dangerous deception that can only get them into trouble, when she is completely innocent and has no need to sneak out of the country.

Next we learn that Annette gave up the drug dealer to the cops and he’s picked up but delivers nothing that moves the story forward. I just feel misdirected by all this and it may be that the intention is to implicate Sara in Cal’s death but we are not at all certain the mephedrone is what killed Cal, or if Sara gave Cal the mephedrone, or why she would do such a thing. There are too many unanswered questions and not enough evidence for the audience to follow. Rather than an intriguing mystery I just feel confused by all this.
Roger does have one flashback that shows him to be a tough power broker and it also hints at Sara’s relationship with Macie, which is a good way to let the audience see what happened rather than telling them what happened; nevertheless, I’d prefer to see a series of flashbacks that tell an entire story from beginning to end and those flashbacks woven into the present day story.

When I found Sara and Roger frantically packing to get out of the country I was totally lost. There doesn’t seem to be any motivation at all for them to run like this. I’d like to see how Roger and Sara came to the conclusion that they have to escape and are willing to risk jail time in their effort to get out of the country.

Then Roger destroys Sara’s cell phone when he could have simply turned it off?
And when Brunetti spots what he thinks is Sara and Roger it seemed like he knew they were going to try to run. If he believed that, why didn’t he have someone watching them? His turning back to check on them didn’t ring true to me. I’m also not certain why Annette is with the detective at this point.

The mail cart chase seemed a bit long.

In the next scene the detectives are racing to the hotel but it’s not established why they are in such a hurry. Sara and Roger left in a cab and they could just call the cab company and see where the cab took them and then race there – that would seem more like a reason for urgency. Maybe we just need to see the detective learn they have a duplicate passport and now he suspects they are leaving the country so he races to the hotel. But it seems like this news would get to the detectives many hours after the event since they were not public enemy number one at the time of the crime at the consulate. This small crime might go unnoticed by the detectives for some time.

Sara and Roger use a clever plan to divert the detectives to Venice when they are flying out of Milan and then an officer reports to the detectives that Sara and Roger left via Milan. I’m wondering how the officer knew that and why no one tried to stop them if they were spotted in Milan.

On the airplane Sara and Roger decide to get married in Vegas and this simply feels like one of the biggest movie clichés of all time. They can get married in Chicago with only a one day waiting period. I understand Vegas is more cinematic with the view out of the window, but I would simply like to see something more unique.

At the extradition hearing Sara’s lawyer seemed more like he was asking the judge for a personal favor rather than arguing the law as he should be. Again the mephadrone is brought up and we are lead to believe Sara actually did buy mephadrone. For some reason I still don’t know why she would do that or even if she really did. I guess she just wanted to get some sleep, but why not go to a doctor?

Back at the Ellis estate Edgar the butler is now working for Roger and brings up the redecorating. I’m afraid this has me completely lost as well. I don’t know what that had to do with the story and why that triggers a massive search by Roger and Edgar.
When the Detectives question Annette about her mom she is still sensitive about something that I would think she has dealt with by now. During all this talk about her mom no one seems at all interested in who her father is.

Roger gets abducted and stabbed in the hand by mob guys and this seems a little over the top. I get that they think he’s jerking them around with his memory loss story but I would think after two years and the discovery that the person who actually issued the contract is dead, maybe some more subtle negotiations would be in order before the abduction. I don’t know that in the mob hit world, community property laws apply. It seems like hits on spouses would be one of their biggest sellers and assuming a husband knows what a wife is doing does not seem a likely scenario. In fact, it seems odd that they would carry out a hit two years later without first contacting the person who’s going to pay them. I’m afraid this all feels contrived to me and not believable.

Also, during the mob interrogation Roger thinks they’re talking about Sara his new wife when the hit was carried out before she was his wife.

Roger, picking up the cash for the mob at the bank, gets pulled into a news conference with the mayor and this seems totally unrealistic. Aside from the fact that it’s an extraordinary coincidence it simply doesn’t seem like something a mayor would do. Mayors don’t usually give up the spotlight for someone else, and they are too smart to blind side someone with the press. This doesn’t feel organic to the story. It feels more like a tool to build suspense.

Roger now tells his new butler, Edgar, that Macie hired a hit man to kill Cal and they want money from him as payment. There is absolutely no talk about going to the police at this point, and I don’t know why Roger wouldn’t go to the police since his wife is dead. Instead they agree to pay because the butler doesn’t think it would be a crime. And how does Roger know that he will be left alone if he makes this payment? How does he know they won’t just kill him to keep him quiet after the payment is made? He treats this like an ordinary business deal and that seems strange when you’re paying off a group of killers.

After this, Roger goes to the mayor to get help in Sara’s release from jail and he tells the Mayor he knows who killed Cal. The mayor doesn’t ask for any details, he just wants Roger’s word that once he helps Sara this will be the end of it. But there’s no talk about what “it” is.

Roger now gets together with Edgar to dig through paperwork in an effort to find out how Cal would benefit from his death. I was thinking he should just ask Sara. It seems like she would know.

Roger believes both he and Macie were supposed to die but Edgar restates the point that Macie’s death was judged to be an accident and it seems at this point we are supposed to take that as an absolute fact but if it were not an accident wouldn’t the person who perpetrated the crime try to make it look like an accident? So when he makes this statement it seems like he’s either not thinking clearly or he’s trying to make a plot point.

Then we come to the mayor’s visit with Bill at Traxx Construction. They talk about how they’ve been manipulating records to get this condo project off the ground and finish by saying “Mr. Ellis, better hope we find it.” And I’m not sure what that implies.
When inspecting the parachutes Roger finds a plastic strip but apparently doesn’t recognize it as a zip tie then he is allowed to take that plastic strip out of the evidence room. I would think that would not be allowed.

When Roger discovers the newspaper headline at the convenience store, and the store clerk has an opinion about the real estate development, it seems very contrived and not organic to the story.

After getting details about the development deal filled in by Edgar Roger asks if Macie every delivered anything to Cal. That seemed like a strange question to me. It felt very much like he was simply trying to set up the next scene.

Now Edgar leads Roger through a secret tunnel used during prohibition. This is another story element that feels too convenient and totally unbelievable. And this is followed by the secret room behind the bookcase that we’ve seen 1000 times before which was for me a big letdown. I’d much rather see something fresh and new.

Roger and Edgar find the box of documents and photos that Sara delivered to Cal and spend hours going through it. It’s hard for me to imagine exactly what was in that box that took them hours to examine and it feels like an easy way to get them the information they need – sort of a story short cut – they figured it all out by looking in that box - Not very exciting.

After looking through the box and finding out everything they need, Roger once again spots a newspaper headline. I don’t know where this newspaper came from, and this is again all too convenient and feels like a story contrivance and not something that might really happen.

Sara gets released, and in her discussion with Roger, he wonders how Macie knew what Cal was up to. Earlier Sara told Roger she knew Cal wanted to kill Roger but never warned him – she never explains why she didn’t warn him, and he never asks her why – but now we have to suspect she is the one who told Macie what Cal was up to.

Roger agrees to leave the whole thing alone and stop his investigation but he’s never actually reached a final conclusion and if the mayor is involved in a murder plot shouldn’t he be going to the police? I’m not sure what he believes at this point. Does he believe that Cal tried to kill him and his wife died by coincidence in an accident on the same day? So, since Cal’s dead it all doesn’t matter anymore? I’m simply not sure at this point and I think I should be absolutely sure by now.

Roger shows up at the dedication and makes his speech and this all seems like it came out of nowhere. None of this deep concern for the park was developed over the course of the story and now we are supposed to suddenly feel the same passion Roger does about another land grab for condo construction. It’s an important issue, but feels very small at the end of this murder mystery.

After this Roger has a flashback and remembers Sara was the first one to his side when he hit the ground and clipped away the zip ties that made his parachute fail. Sara then reveals it was Macie who wanted Roger dead. Exactly what’s happened is not clear to me. I’m guessing Macie sabotaged Roger’s parachute and then Sara was supposed to be on the ground to clip away the evidence so Macie wouldn’t get caught? I should know for sure at this point but I don’t. And if Macie was an accomplice to Roger’s attempted murder why does he still love her?

And Sara’s revelation that Macie loved her is an enormous bomb to drop at the very end without one moment of development throughout the entire story – other than that one hint flashback.

Now Sara wants to kill herself again and Roger wants her to fall so she will forget the past. Roger sounds very desperate here. He’s a wealthy guy. He doesn’t have to hang onto the woman who was having an affair with his wife and was partner in his attempted murder. I simply don’t see this incredible love that holds these two people together.
Finally, we discover Roger is Annette’s father and I don’t know why she was given up at birth and why her mother never came back to get her, and why Macie never told Roger about the daughter they share. There’s an entire missing story here. And I’m completely lost as to how Roger found the matching earring in Cal’s driveway two years after Macie died.

The closing image is the park being rebuilt and I guess that’s a metaphor for these lives being rebuilt but I’m not feeling it as I should. At the end of this story I’m more confused than satisfied.


RECOMMENDATIONS

It may be better for this script to start out before the accident/murder attempt. The accident/murder attempt could be placed at around page 10-12 and the early part of the scrip could be used to set up all of the backstory elements – Roger’s relationship with Cal and what kind of deal they were working on. Macie’s relationship with Sara and how intense that was. Even something about Annette could be hinted at up front and slowly developed as the story progresses. This can all be accomplished in the first 10 pages after which everything changes with the tragic accident.

It may not be necessary to have Roger in a coma for two years. Seems like it would be more interesting if he comes out of his coma in a few days and there is still someone who wants him dead. Now the story is about Roger figuring out who wants him dead before he is successfully killed.

In addition, it might be more powerful to put Roger’s fortune in jeopardy and make this a fight for his financial life as well as his real life. With these increased stakes and a series of flashbacks that build an entire backstory explanation this script may feel more complete and fulfilling.

I think there is great story potential here but for me it is not yet fully realized.

I wish you all the best with this project and all your work to come.

If you have any questions about this review I’ll be happy to respond.
 

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