An excerpt from my script review for Bridge of Spies which will be available 10/20/15:
2.) Plot Stability
Instead of giving you a plot summary in this section, I want to focus on something you can actually use in your own writing, or avoid in this case.
The Two sTories
As interesting as the setting was, the plot seemed to tackle too much.
In Part 1, you had the trial of Abel, and Donovan feeling it was his patriotic right to give even a communist spy the fair trial we all deserve under the Constitution of the United States.
(Parallel! The same argument was made for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, even when being labeled terrorists. People today had similar negative reactions to those in favor of it.)
Part 2, we read about an unofficially sanctioned prisoner exchange taking place between Donovan and Communist East Berlin.
Both parts were interesting on their own, but in this story they felt underdeveloped and mashed together.
(Not to mention this sets aside the whole U2 spy plane storyline that leads into Part 2.)
In your own writing focus on ONE story.
Sure you want ups and downs for your characters, but a reader shouldn’t be left feeling cheated in one or both parts should you choose to tackle a similar feat.
With Part 1, I was left wanting to know more of who Abel was, and just what secrets he had obtained.
For Part 2, the Berlin Wall construction was covered so quickly, I’m left thinking the area was cleared and a wall erected in less than a day.
On top of wanting to see more of the initial construction, there was no time for Donovan to get into any real trouble during his “cat and mouse” excursions into East Berlin.
Sure he’s caught initially, but once released he simply goes back and forth over the Wall with more ease than it takes to cross into Canada.
In the end, it felt like both parts of the story left out fun and exciting parts, and instead focused on a lot of talking, whether the trial or hostage negotiating.
The plot points and twists were definitely there.
The cost associated with Donovan’s choice weighed on the reader, especially considering what it did to Donovan’s family, but once he makes the jump to “super spy” during the prisoner exchange, I had a hard time buying it.
Please make sure you’re maximizing your story’s potential. Don’t throw everything in the script and then see what sticks. (At least not after your first draft.)
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