This week's Dan takes a look at the 1st 10 pages of Victor Bornia's
VILE: A LOVE STORY.
Today's pages come Victor Bornia, and I believe this script as a whole made the top 6.5% in the Nicholls Fellowship this year. Let's see what we got...
So, first, from the concept alone we don't get much sense of a "movie". Two people with similar interests meet up and do pretty much the same thing they've been doing already. There's no conflict or irony implicit in the premise. No goals, no stakes, no urgency. Right off the bat, you got that working against you.
We open on an L.A. city street where ladies of the night are on the prowl. A young, guilt-stricken, self-flagellating religious boy named Albin watches the girls from his parked car, dealing with his inner demons: should I solicit one, or shouldn't I? Well, after a police raid sends the hookers scurrying away in every direction, Albin is presumably saved from having to make a decision. He's "in the clear" - that is, until a late-arriving prostitute shows up at his car. Albin is too weak to resist this girl's charm, and the two end up doing the deed in Albin's car.
And afterwards, Albin grabs an ICE PICK - and murders the girl! Why? We'll find out, but at this point, we know by his reaction that he's at least tormented by that decision as well. Poor kid.
You can gauge quite a bit by just a first scene sometimes. This intro feels strange. It's presumably supposed to be about our lead character murdering a stray prostitute, but the first page and a half are devoted almost solely to depicting a police officer soliciting a hooker, in detail, then calling in his buddy's nearby for an official raid. Then showing the raid. It's not even really shown from the POV of Albin. Unless this police procedure is crucial to your film later on, cut that stuff out. Just get to the story. The pages feel direction-less already.
Also, they feel overwritten. The author goes to good lengths to describe these prostitutes, the streetlights, the cars, whatever - when really these things have nothing to do with the story (again, I'm assuming that here - but given the premise, I doubt any of these elements will come into play later). Make it lean, people! Get to the point! Don't give us details unless they are absolutely crucial to your narrative!
After Albin kills this chick, and presumably dumps her body or hides it somewhere, he comes home to find his psychotic religious mother reading Scripture at the dinner table. Albin, clearly a mama's boy and her psychological victim, confesses his dirty nighttime deeds (both of them). The mother essentially tells her son that it's okay he slept with a prostitute, just as long as he killed her afterwards.
I didn't like the mother's quick dismissal of her son's murder. It didn't feel real. Even if this woman is completely nuts, and condones and/or approves of her son's serial killer life, she'd still be grilling him on who he was seen by, if he took care of the body, etc. I don't get the impression these two dum dums are competent enough to be part of a serial killer plot. It feels like they should have been caught a long time ago.
The rest of the pages show Albin at work as a pest control employee, battling possums in an attic and chasing one across a neighborhood, then bumping into and chatting with twelve year old girls on two separate occasions...huh? Talk about a WTF turn of events.
I will say that in these pages, there is some nice prose, some vivid descriptions, some passable dialogue. There's good writing here, I don't want to take that away from him - but it's just not a movie right now. I have no idea what it's about. I don't understand the tone. I don't understand where it's going. I don't buy the logistics. There may be things made clearer later, but I can only comment on what I have.
Thankfully, we have ALL been at this point, and we will all more than likely fall into these kinds of problems again and again. The important thing is to keep writing, keep learning, and keep reading. As it is, if it were myself I would say set aside this script for now, work on finding a better concept, and just keep at it!
What did you think of Victor's 1st 10 pages?