An excerpt from my script review for Insomnia (2002) which will be available 10/17/22:
2.) Plot Stability
The tone is set pretty early on.
We’re given a sexy little scene of a woman’s body being washed, hair combed, etc.
Under any other circumstances, this is the type of intimacy that is voyeuristic…
…and then we find out the body belongs to a murder victim and the “cleaning” is the murderer removing any evidence.
From there the story unfolds in a typical detective fashion.
The stuff this script did right though?
Give your “good guy” flaws and problems to overcome.
Will, billed as the Pacific Northwest’s greatest detective, shows up in Alaska during a time where the sun doesn’t set.
This leads to a severe drought of sleep, causing him to not only be off his game, but as the days go on he begins to hallucinate, leading him to second guess what is real and what isn’t.
This is great for your story. It creates tension and gives the thriller an edge, since the audience isn’t sure what’s real and what isn’t either.
Next launch a precinct wide investigation from Internal Affairs, having someone look into your main character and his partner.
Something’s off, sure, and we’re clued into that early, but just what?
That’s what’ll keep us turning pages.
Coupled with the insomnia, Will ends up shooting his partner by mistake, and given that there’s the Internal Affairs thing going on, he decides to blame the shooting on the murder suspect who got away, afraid no one would believe the truth.
This lie puts him at odds with the rookie detective, Ellie, who begins adding up the clues and leading her to doubt Will.
All of this is good, because when we write scripts we need to give our characters something to do.
By interweaving all those problems into various layers, the hero is challenged and we, the readers, are entertained.
Last problem for Will, is that the murderer turns out to be a local mystery author. He saw Will shoot his partner, and knows he lied about it.
This forces the two into an uncomfortable alliance that leads to more problems in the end.
Does Will save or sacrifice himself?
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