A crime drama
Full script download here:
Treatment and Synopsis download here:
A graduate, returning home to a quiet suburb, learns about a valuable cargo arriving at a local airport. He is persuaded by his friends to help them in a elaborate heist, but which leads to terrible consequences.
In 2009, as news about the economic recession grows, ADAM, unemployed and frustrated arrives home in the UK to live with his family. His luck changes when he meets JANE, a trainee teacher, who is kind and someone he feels he can talk to. She introduces him to SEBASTIAN, a close friend from an affluent background, and who also seems interested in gaining Adam’s friendship.
On a rainy night two cars drive in a high speed chase along a country road. One car loses control and crashes down an embankment. MIGUEL, Adam’s best friend, tries to escape but is killed by Sebastian’s men who retrieve the stolen bag of valuables and kidnap Jane. Adam is left for dead, but survives, and goes to find a locker containing a gun and a bag which Miguel had stolen.
At a manor house hotel in the country, owned by Sebastian’s parents, Adam tries to rescue Jane, and confronts Sebastian. Outside the restaurant, shots are fired just before Adam stumbles out the door and collapses.
In a flashback to the past, long before he’d met Sebastian or Jane, Adam is in Australia with Miguel, where he meets a girl at a party. When he suspects that she might also be seeing Miguel he decides to return home and find a career. He tells Miguel that a doctor diagnosed him with depression, and which he believes is because of his debts and difficulty finding a job. When Adam does return home he becomes furious after he discovers that his father took out a loan to pay off his debts.
In the present, Adam is under arrest and interviewed by police about the shootings at the hotel. The detective asks him questions to determine what happened, but the investigation is complicated with the part he’d taken in the robbery, as it seems there must be something that he’s not telling them. Adam only asks to see Jane, but the officer explains that this is prohibited since both of them are being treated as suspects.
In a flashback to Adam’s return home, he and Miguel both have difficulty finding work as they attend job interviews. While working at a music festival, Adam meets Jane and Sebastian, and is invited to a party at Sebastian’s hotel where he learns more about their relationships, and there falls for Jane.
Adam finds a job as a bartender at the airport restaurant, and then by chance talks to a businessman who tells him about a transport of valuables from Dubai. A short while later, Sebastian reveals his plan to commit a robbery with the help of Miguel and a Romanian man called ‘VLAD’. Adam has difficulty believing what they say, and leaves the same day to visit his sister DEIDRE in London, and to take part in a paid medical trial.
While Adam undergoes tests at a hospital in Croydon, and one evening witnesses the London riots, Miguel and Vlad steal the security access codes to the airport terminal, and then prepare by delaying the cargo flight before it departs from Dubai airport.
During the robbery, Sebastian and his gang must kill the guards when they’re interrupted by a member of staff. Afterwards, Sebastian becomes paranoid when he finds that some of valuables are missing from the stolen cargo, so he abducts and interrogates Adam, Jane and Miguel. The story reaches the climax from the beginning car chase, and is followed with a flashback to the subsequent shootings, where Adam shoots Sebastian.
Several months after the court trial, after Adam had been cleared of the charges, he meets with Jane to reconcile their relationship. In a final twist, as Adam boards a flight back to Australia, Jane and his father receive delivered packages containing the stolen valuables Miguel had taken from Sebastian.
Treatment for the script GALAPAGOS
My ambition for the script had been to create a commercial British feature film the likes of Trainspotting (1996) and Sexy Beast (2000), that would also be in the vein of popular ‘cult’ thrillers I’d enjoyed, such as a Reservoir Dogs (1992) and The Usual Suspects (1995), but without being yet another hard-man cockney flick the likes Layer Cake (2004), Welcome to the Punch (2013) or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998). And, ideally, it would have a ‘message’ that would say something interesting.
The title, Galapagos, is meant to be an enigmatic metaphor, and represents both incongruity and isolation. I’d come across the term at a publishing conference while I was employed with a scientific research publisher, Biomed Central, in London in 2013. A Japanese speaker had talked about how culture and technology in Japan seemed to analogous with what scientists called ‘Galapagos Syndrome’. This essentially referred to any species and organisms that were entirely indigenous to this island, where these had evolved in isolation away from the outside world as Japanese culture had done for centuries. I thought it was an interesting metaphor which related to how people generally felt when they’d were alienated or marginalised by cultural or economic changes in society. In some sense it seemed applicable to the characters, especially if you were an unemployed arts graduate.
I’d wanted to write such a story for a long time, but never seemed to have enough material or ideas to create a full length script. I’d been either unemployed or working on a part-time after losing a Production Editor with a London publisher in 2014, but during this time, my concept for a script about a depressed, unemployed graduate returning home from Australia had finally ripened and as my enthusiasm and ideas began to take shape.
THE LOCATION AND SETTING
In contrast to such films as Trainspotting, Sexy Beast, Reservoir Dogs, The Departed, and a plethora of other hard-hitting films crimes from the genre, I believe that the rural beauty, affluent towns and cities would make an interesting noir, almost gothic, location as the backdrop. I’m probably not the first person to try to do this, and I believe some people would object and say it might show Hampshire in a negative light, I simply think it would be interesting to see a contemporary modern story filmed in such a location which would seem a world apart from the prestige and council estates of Ken Loach or Downtown Abbey.
THE STORY AND CHARACTERS
The main protagonist, Adam, makes a friend while working a music festival, one of whom is from a very affluent and prominent family of business owners in Winchester. In a theme of the temptation, he falls in love with a young woman called Jane who is in a similar situation to himself at a party he invited to through a mutual friend of theirs Adam had met at the festival, the intelligent, affluent, but enigmatic Sebastian Fairfax.
Eventually, Adam finds work as a bartender at Southampton Airport, and from where he learns about a monthly import of goods through a chance encounter with an Arabic businessman; this being a transportation of diamonds and banks notes using an armored van with several armed security guards.
On the impetus of his only friend and co-worker, Miguel, and his new friend Sebastian, and with the promise of a better future and a chance to clear his financial debts, Adam reluctantly agrees to assist in the robbery after being introduced to one of Sebastian’s other friends, a mysterious Romanian man nicknamed ‘Vlad’. Sebastian assures Adam that he is not required to be involved in the actual robbery, since all they require is his cooperation and assistance gaining access to the control room and the airport terminal, which Miguel is already helping with.
Sebastian also reveals that, with help from Vlad’s contacts abroad, their motive is not to steal the diamonds, as this is merely a decoy, and is actually to obtain access to the airport’s security and information system. With this data, if it is replicated, it would allow them access to bank accounts, passenger information, and the security software used by government agencies, banks and airports across the world. This information is worth more than the diamonds, and despite the high level of security, Sebastian continues to assure Adam that there is minimal risk or danger.
Somewhat predictably, although the heist is successful, several of the guards and airport staff are killed during the robbery. Afterwards, Sebastian and Vlad discover that money and diamonds are also missing from the stolen goods, and naturally they suspect that Adam and Miguel are probably involved. In response, Sebastian captures and interrogates Jane and the others, before managing to escape and then been pursued in a high speed car chase before crashing and then showing a time ellipsis in the narrative back to the earlier opening scenes.
As mentioned, the story is based on my own experiences as an unemployed graduate returning home after a year travelling following my graduation. The central character, Adam, is what a friend sneers at as being ‘the aspiring middle-classes’, although the protagonist is sceptical and open-minded and tries not to judge others, as both of his parents come from humble beginnings, and his background is far from affluent.
One of the themes I’d wanted to show, as I’d felt Trainspotting achieved, was that the characters were ‘lost’ and alienated, without being aware of it or appearing to be so. Adam and his friends don’t have a sense of direction, and aren’t properly able to understand on another or express their feelings. It’s only when Adam encounters Jane (later in Act 2) that he has a chance to finally express his thoughts.
In terms of structure, style and themes, I am clearly trying to emulate, Trainspotting and Reservoir Dogs, but also some of the realism and drama of British films of Mike Leigh, which satirised and examined the often contradictory and mundane aspects of British life.
In Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino doesn’t show us anything about the robbery except for a few scenes of the characters escaping and being pursued by police. This seems to remind the audience that beyond the chitchat and bravado these men had really been involved in a very bloody and violent robbery, and which further allows tension between the group, as they come to realise that there must be an undercover cop, a ‘rat’, among them.
A similar device is present in Trainspotting, in which Ewen McGregor , the ‘hero’ , who is trapped among his dangerous and untrustworthy friends, and whether or not he can overcome his own destruction behaviour and drug addiction. Essentially, Trainspotting is a series of unrelated events about this unhappy and troubled character and the people surrounding him.
28th August 2015
Apparently I was a finalist for the UK script competition, I’d never expected to win, but sort of knew maybe the scene with the exploding armored was too much….
UK Film Festival Feature Script Competition
To: Murray Woodfield
So sorry this is a group email. I would love to be able to email you individually but there is a lot going on at the moment.
I just wanted to update you and say thank you for being part of our Script Competition and to tell you that your script was in the running till the last round of judging – so your screenplay was thought very highly of by the committee.
We appreciate your talent and perseverance as we know how much work, inspiration and passion goes into a feature script. Please keep getting your script out there.
In case you have not checked our website Script Submission News of 10th August.
the winning script was announced as…
THE CIRCLE by Fred Wood
Highly commended were
WILLIAM AND LUCY by Michael Brown
THE FRAGILE SATISFACTIONS OF US AND THEM by Patrick Curran
Congratulations for being in the final round of the competition. For this you are welcome to a free festival pass but please contact us in November when the programme is announced on the website – to tell us which screenings you would like to attend. (In case you can’t see the attachment the Festival is on the evenings of 25 to 28 November)
Hope to meet you at the festival – find me and please say hello.
Best wishes and good luck always,
Photos from the film Killing Zoe (Rogar Avary, 1993)