Black has made a promise he can't break, to catch a killer he can't
Hey, I'm Hollywood bigshot Sean Penn and I'm going to make
a movie about a good man who has served as a good cop for twenty years.
Then, I'm going to ruin his life for no reason other than the fact that
the screenplay I read calls for it. This movie will be a character driven
movie (so the plot won't really matter) and I will lure such acclaimed
actors as Jack Nicholson, Vanessa Redgrave, (the up and coming) Benicio
Del Toro, Helen Mirren, Robin Wright, and Mickey Rourke (that's right,
How will I lure these actors? Easy. Vanessa, Benicio, Helen, and Mickey
will each be promised one scene (and exactly one scene). It won't
necessarily have to be a good scene or advance the story or anything, but
it will require uber acting and tears (you know those actors love their
As for Jack, well, hell, he's an old friend. We made a movie that most
people really hated called The Crossing Guard a few years back. Jack knows
that I'm an "actor's director" and we are going to make his character so
complicated that in one scene he will appear to be competent and
world-wise, and in the next scene will look like an Alzheimer's patient.
His acting will have to be great because Jack will be required to react to
thing that could never possibly happen in real life.
If you want to see my movie, don't read the next part because I'm going to
discuss key plot points.
Jack will be on the hunt for a serial killer because he made a promise to
a mother whose child was slain. The police will arrest a retarded Indian (Benicio)
who will confess to the crime and get to cry a lot. Bravo. Then in an
incredibly believable scene, the handcuffed retard will take a policeman's
gun and shoot himself. Everyone except Jack will think the case is closed.
He will receive no help from people he has served with for years even
though they admit he is a good cop.
In his quest to keep his promise to the woman I'll show lots of gory
details and throw subtlety out the window. You'll get to see lots of
forensic photos of naked ten-year-old girls with their throats cut.
Jack will try to gather evidence from people who have absolutely nothing
to offer. He will visit Mickey whose child is missing. Mickey will cry and
say he misses his little girl. Then Jack will go to Vanessa whose
granddaughter was slain. She won't have any information, but she does cry.
Then, Jack will do the most natural thing in the world. He will use
triangulation to "guesstimate" where the killer will next strike, go to
that area, and BUY A GAS STATION.
He will then meet Robin who happens to be a single mom who has a daughter
who exactly matches the age and description of all the dead and missing
girls. When Robin's ex-husband beats her up, she naturally shows up at
Jack's door because (well I haven't figured that one out yet). Jack offers
to let Robin and daughter stay with him in his gas station/home. Jack and
Robin will start a relationship.
This is where I predict all the critics will fall in love with my movie.
It will be really unclear whether Jack is legitimately caring for Robin
and daughter, or whether he is using the daughter as bait to catch the
killer. Actually, both are true. So, you see, it's really complex and
real. My favorite thing about the movie is that I will leave out a scene
that most people would think would be necessary. This is the scene where
Jack tells Robin about the killer and about the increasing evidence that
her daughter is in danger. This scene will not exist in the movie because
it will be the one mistake that leads to Jack's utter ruin.
So, how does our villain die? I thought about a shoot-out, but that's to
trite. I'm an artist. No, the serial killer will die in a car wreck. You
see, Jack has the killer set-up, and in a scene that you won't see, he
will enlist the aid of his former colleagues (with snipers and
Then, I will reveal my masterful ending. It will be pointless and some
critics (like Jane Sumner) will no doubt describe it as existential (a
meaningless term in this context). The former cop colleagues of Jack will
abandon the sting because Jack has chosen this unfortunate time to go into
his Alzheimer's routine. Then the head cop will tell Jack that he will
have to tell Robin about all this. Now, I know some people in the audience
will wonder why they need to inform Robin now and not before the sting.
But, this way, we can have a crackling scene where Robin arrives tires
squealing to whisk away her daughter and call Jack "fucking insane."
My complex picture will end with a broken Jack muttering unintelligibly to
the camera. No one will ever know that Jack was right about the killer. I
would like to credit my screenwriters for the undoubted success of this
movie. First of all, there is first-timer Jerry Kromolowski. He was
assisted by Mary Olson whose previous writing experience was 28 years ago
for a seldom seen movie called "It Ain't Easy."