I just realized I never responded to Preston’s Pitch
Workshop Submission a few weeks ago, and while this critique is embarrassingly
late, I wanted to respond to Preston before posting the next one. (And sorry this is so late, Preston!)
For those of you who don’t remember Preston’s synopsis,
here’s what he writes…
Title: Thy Brother’s Keeper
Genre: Psychological Action Thriller
Log-line: Ronald Davis’s jealousy
and envy causes him to sabotage his twin brother Rashawn’s college basketball scholarship
chances by planting steroids in his locker. This ends up sending Rashawn to
prison, while Ronald goes on to lead a successful corporate career. Upon
Rashawn’s return to the world as a criminal minded thug, he finds Ronald was
the cause of his demise. He then sets out to destroy his twin brother’s life by
assuming his identity and going on a murderous crime spree. Ronald has to
leave his corporate life and turn to the streets to stop his twin brother.
After chasing Ronald threw the streets of Los Angeles, it will take detectives
Garrison and Rodriguez to find out that Rashawn died at birth, but yet lives in
the schizophrenic mind of the surviving twin Ronald.
First of all, I’m always a big fan of cool, twisty endings
like this, which feels very “Fight Club.”
And this is set in an interesting world that we don’t often see with
this kind of story. Both those
elements give this idea an edge and attitude that I appreciate.
Having said that—I think the key to making stories like this
work, stories with a massive twist at the end, a twist revealing that the world
is not all we thought it was—is that everything in the story leading up to that
moment most work TOTALLY LOGICALLY in support of it.
In other words, when we suddenly learn that Rashawn and
Ronald are essentially the same person, we have to instantly understand
how—knowing they’re the same person—every beat of the movie was entirely
The end of “The Usual Suspects” kind of spoon-fed this to
us… showing us in quick flashbacks how we only saw part of the truth, but there
was a “truer truth” behind it all—and it all made perfect logical sense. We never ask, “Well, wait—if Verbal
Kint was Kaiser Soze, how did THIS MOMENT happen?” The movie tells us EXACTLY how it happened… and all the
moments hold together logically.
To be honest, I don’t remember how “Fight Club” handled
this, but I don’t remember asking questions or suddenly realizing that the
movie had huge logic holes.
But in “Thy Brother’s Keeper,” I’m left asking HUGE
questions after only a synopsis!
If Ronald and Rashawn are the same guy, how did Rashawn get sent to
prison? Surely people there saw
somebody—but who was it? And if it
was Ronald, just calling himself Rashawn, who was living Ronald’s life in his
I worry you’ve set up a situation that makes it logically
impossible for Ronald/Rashawn to be the same person… you’ve given them separate
lives, requiring them to be in separate places, where they’d each affect the
world in unique ways (interacting with people, being seen, leaving evidence of
themselves, etc.). But doing this
makes it virtually impossible for them to be the same person, in the same body! How can Ronald be in prison, living as “Rashawn,”
if he’s also out living a corporate life?
I think that question needs to be answered… before you can
figure out how the rest of the story works, because it’s ripple effects will touch
everything else in the script.
Anyway, I hope that helps, Preston—I definitely think you’re
playing in fun, mysterious territory… mixed with a colorful, exciting world…
and I can’t wait to see it on the big screen!