An excerpt from my script review The Mule for which will be available 12/17/18:
2.) Plot Stability
Knowing me pretty well by now, 3way told me I’d have this script to review before I even knew what the project was.
My enjoyment aside, the main focus here is in the title of this review.
By now you should know you can’t go easy on your characters, but to me an even worse mistake is to present a challenging situation only to let it fall flat before any friction gets generated.
Leo’s superpower was the gift of gab (or maybe a +5 charisma hat), which got him out of damn near any situation he encountered before it even became an issue.
Being helped by a K9 officer when he gets a flat tire on his first drug run, the dog going crazy in the back of the police car? This should be promising!
But it wasn’t, because of a conveniently placed tube of Ben Gay.
Leo gets too comfortable with his cartel handler, stopping whenever and wherever he wants. Another good set up for a rigid cartel organization to flex a little of its muscle. Show Leo who’s the boss here!
But no…Leo and Amando watch a high school football game instead.
The DEA is actively looking for the make and model of Leo’s truck, and he’s pulled over by the highway patrol. Even if the officer doesn’t think Leo’s it, he’ll still look in the back of the truck, right?
Nope. Two chatty sentences into their discussion and Leo’s back to enjoying his nice day.
Now these outcomes can all certainly come to pass, but when you’re telling a story…
Build. Some. Tension.
There was absolutely zero in most of these situations that had the capacity for some excellent conflict which, after all, drives a story forward.
I don’t care if you’ve got an A lister attached to your script or not, you owe it to your audience (if not yourself first) to do your job properly.
Two Final Gripes
Did anyone else wonder why the fuck Leo just didn’t buy another truck?
He’s dropping loads of cash all over town that it’s obvious caution is in the wind, that when all the other mules start getting picked up you’d think someone in the cartel would think, “Hey should we have our number one guy switch it up a bit?”
My final complaint is minor compared to that, but I didn’t care for how Hernandez took all of two seconds to decipher the code used on the manifest. It’s another good example of “weak consequences” for the antagonists.
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