The File Short Film

The-File-Recut-Outer-Cover

Synopsis: When a noble police investigator digs too deep into the past of the wrong man, the lives of both men change forever.


Trailer:


Full Film:

Production Year: 2005
Type: Fiction Short
Role(s): Producer, Director, Writer, Editor, Cinematography, Special Effects

 


Production Updates


 

May 8, 2004
The following is a new short film script that I’ve written. We’ll be shooting it later in the summer.


The File

Shooting Draft (May 8, 2004)

BEGIN PROLOGUE

INT. OFFICE

NICK, a young, sandy-haired man of medium build stands in front of an
open file cabinet.  After ruffling through a series papers in the
cabinet drawer, he stops and pulls free a file.  The image of him
looking at the file freezes.

Pictures appear in place of the frozen image that show Nick working and
playing.

NARRATOR
Nick Underwood was quietly carving out a career
as one of the premier fraud investigators in
the city.  He believed in justice and the ideal
that everyone be held to the letter of the law.

The frozen image shifts to shows Nick with his wife NORA.

NARRATOR (CONT’D)
He was devoted to his wife.  He was a weekend
adventurer.

Return to the image of Nick still frozen as he looks at the file.

NARRATOR (CONT’D)
However, he knew that the contents of that file
would forever change his life.  He could have
easily placed the file back into the drawer and
forgotten about it, yet such a course of action
simply couldn’t be found within him.

Motion returns to the image and Nick tucks the folder inside his
jacket.

NARRATOR (CONT’D)
Nick was not one to be easily intimidated,
although the man who he could indict with the
contents of that folder was not someone easily
underestimated.

A photo of a well-dressed man crosses into view.  The man in the photo
is GUILLERMO GARCIA.

NARRATOR (CONT’D)
That man’s name was Guillermo Garcia.  Garcia
had recently been appointed the assistant
district attorney.

Images of Garcia at his parent’s sprawling complex.  His suit-wearing
guards keep close watch on him.

NARRATOR (CONT’D)
The youngest lawyer ever to attain his
position, Garcia had the backing of a powerful
family.  A family with long-range political
ambitions for young Guillermo. A family that
could not allow anything to stand in their way.

INT. CAR – NIGHT

The streetlights glow as they streak past through the passenger window
of a moving car.

NARRATOR
Garcia had heard rumors of an investigation
into his office.  Worried that his family’s
secret dealings with city officials might be
discovered, Garcia soon discovered Inspector
Underwood.

Cross-Fade with Nick leaving the room with the file.

NARRATOR (CONT’D)
Not an irrational man, Garcia had learned that
money and fear went great lengths towards
silencing opposition.  Garcia knew that
silencing the information in the seized file
would be worth going greater lengths than he
had ever gone before.

END PROLOGUE AND FADE TO BLACK

BEGIN MAIN TITLES

(Begin music ‘Cockeye’s Song’ by Ennio Morricone)

MAIN TITLES APPEAR OVER VIDEO OF STREETLIGHTS PASSING BY AT NIGHT (In
1970s-style font):  “The Liberation of Nick Underwood”

END MAIN TITLES AND FADE TO BLACK

TITLE CARD:  “Blood or Money”

EXT. SUBURBAN HOME – NIGHT

(Begin music “A Fistful of Dollars” by Ennio Morricone)

A pair of polished shoes steps down onto the curb.  As the owner of the
shoes strides across the lawn, another person’s lower half can be seen
walking at an angle in the distance.

The pair approaches the front door of a house and knock on the inner
door.  Nick answers the door and one of the men, MAKO, quickly moves
forward to grab Nick by the throat.

Through the house’s windows, Nick can be seen being led across the
living room and into a dining area, where he is ultimately seated at
the table.

INT. SUBURBAN HOME

Garcia stands across the table from the seated Nick.  Mako stands at
the center of the table, to Nick’s left.

Garcia opens a metal briefcase containing stacks of cash and presents
it to Nick.  In Nick’s mind, he flashes to an image of the files.

Nick appears to refuse the cash, acting like he doesn’t understand what
Garcia is proposing.  Mako moves lightning-fast to swing a cane up
across Nick’s face.  The brutal blow slashes Nick’s face.

Nick still refuses to meet Garcia’s demands.

Rather suddenly, Garcia pulls out a pistol and shots Nick several
times.  The sound of each shot is heard against flashes of bright
white.

INT. SUBURBAN HOME – LATER

Nora comes into the home, grocery bags supported in both of her arms.
When she flips on the light in the dining room, she finds Nick’s body
slumped over the table.  The grocery bags fall from her hands and hit
the ground.

A close-up of Nick’s head shows that he is riddled with bullet wounds
and laying in a pool of blood.  A stream of blood rolls down the table
top and drips onto the wood floor below. Drip, Drip, Drip.

TITLE CARD:  “Rebirth”

EXT. HOSPITAL – NIGHT

A hospital approaches through the front windshield of an ambulance.
The ambulance’s siren can be heard wailing from above as the vehicle
screeches around a corner and drives up to the emergency room entrance.

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM – LATER

(Begin music ‘La Resa Del Conti’ by Ennio Morricone)

Nick lay on a small hospital bed, seemingly unconscious.  The room
around him is sparsely furnished with drapes and a table near his bed.

Nick’s eyes suddenly open.  He looks around disoriented, but not overly
surprised by his surroundings.

Nora enters the room, smiling and bringing him a tray of food.

NARRATOR
Try as he might, Garcia did not kill Nick.

While Nora stands with the breakfast tray, Nick reaches over and
unfurls a newspaper that had already been placed at his side.  After
reading one of the headlines, he looks as thought he wants to cry.

A close up on news printout shows the headline:  “Fire Destroys Home of
Disgraced Cop.”  Text in the article features words such as “Fraud” or
phrases like “…district attorney suspects Underwood of corruption.”
Besides showing a picture of Nick and Nora’s home, there is also a
stock photo of GUILLERMO Garcia.  Under Garcia’s photo is the caption:
“‘We will find Him!’ vows district attorney.”

NARRATOR (CONT’D)
Even though Garcia couldn’t find the file or
easily now kill Nick, he could use those within
his power to quietly destroy everything around
Nick and, so he hoped, bury the file with him.

EXT. COUNTRYSIDE ROAD – DAY

(Begin music ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ by Ennio Morricone; use
only first half of the song for this sequence)

Pitch black gives way to a slowly-building tunnel of color.  Driving
along a meadow in the country, a car passes under a canopy of trees
while following the road along a ravine.

EXT. FARMYARD – DAY

The car is parked in a farmyard.  Nora busies herself unpacking items
from the trunk, while Nick has already walked up next to the rear of
the farmhouse.  Nick crouches down and digs with a small shovel near
the foundation of the farmhouse.  After a couple of shovel loads of
dirt, he pauses.  Stooping down, he pulls a plastic-encased package
from the ground and holds them up to his eyes:  The file.

A montage of events passes, with Nick chopping and carrying wood.

NARRATOR
Nick knew that hiding at the farm would keep
him safe for the time being, but he also knew
that he could not run forever.  He prepared for
the inevitable.

The montage continues with Nick working out, doing pushups and pull-ups
in the old barn on the farmyard.

EXT. COUNTRYSIDE – DAY

The only sound that can be heard is that of a tire rolling against a
blacktop road.  The flat landscape of the prosperous corn fields gives
way to Nick riding a road bike along a deserted blacktop road.

(Begin music “Once Upon a Time in the West” by Ennio Morricone; second
half begins after Nick is revealed riding the bike)

EXT. FARMYARD – DUSK

(Return music to ‘La Resa Del Conti’ by Ennio Morricone)

Nick and Nora hurriedly move around their car.  The pair are unusually
dressed, with Nick wearing completely black athletic clothing and Nora
wearing a trench coat and hat.  Nora opens the car’s trunk and Nick
moves near the house to gather a small, blanketed bundle.

NARRATOR
But rather than wait for the inevitable, the
time came to act.

Nick carries the bundle over to the car and sets it inside the trunk.

INT. CAR TRUNK

Nick unfolds and spreads out the blanket that contained the contents of
the bundle.  Laying in full view on the blanket is a pistol and a dark
cane.  Nora walks over and hands him the file folder.  Nick throws the
folder towards the front of the trunk.

Nick closes the trunk and everything goes black.

TITLE CARD:  “The Truth”

EXT. RESIDENTIAL STREET – NIGHT

The black fades up slightly to a night scene along a residential
street.  Nick and Nora’s car rounds a corner and comes to a stop.  Its
lights go out.

INT. SEDAN

Nick pulls the final pieces of his outfit into place, strapping on a
pair of dark gloves.  His work complete, Nick looks longingly at Nora
and she leans in to kiss his sad face.

After their lips part, Nick opens the car door and steps outside.  He
holds a cane discretely to his side as he disappears into the night.

EXT. GARCIA MANSION (FRONT) – NIGHT

A sprawling mansion sits perched above the other houses in an upper
income neighborhood.  Its wide driveway leads from the street up to the
mansion’s main entrance.

Nick and Nora’s sedan pulls in from the right.  It stops at the end of
the driveway to pause before turning and driving up to the house.

EXT. GARCIA MANSION (REAR) – NIGHT

Nick moves swiftly through an elaborate garden, finally stopping to
hide behind a high grove of bushes.
Nick peers through the bushes and sees a large guard, who will be known
as DRAGON, casually walking by in the distance.

EXT. GARCIA MANSION (FRONT) – NIGHT

Nora parks her car near the house and runs up to the main entrance of
the house.  Before she gets near the door, a female guard named SHIVA
SIBYLLINE intercepts her.  Nora cries inconsolably as though she is in
extreme duress.  Shiva is cold as ice in her reaction, calmly pulling
out a walkie-talkie.

EXT. GARCIA MANSION (REAR) – NIGHT

Dragon moves about his routine, not overly concerned.  Suddenly a
walkie-talkie hisses.  Back at his hiding spot, Nick seems momentarily
startled as Dragon reaches into his pocket for the walkie-talkie and
answers the call.  After a moment of exchange into the transmitter,
Dragon moves swiftly down the garden path and disappears.

With the path clear, Nick steps out from behind the bushes and walks
towards the French doors that form the mansion’s rear doorway.

INT. GARCIA MANSION (REAR)

One of the French doors to the opens and Nick’s dark form passes into
the room.  He moves thought the darkened room, silhouetting against a
bank of observation windows in the distance.

Through the observation windows, Guillermo is seen playing racquetball
on the court two stories below.

INT. RACQUETBALL ROOM

Garcia is about to serve when he hears the corner door open behind him.
He angrily turns to see who has caused the interruption.

Nick runs through the doorway, heading straight for Garcia.  While in
mid-run, Nick pulls his cane into position to strike.

(Editor’s note:  During Nick’s run there will be a triple cut as the
camera pans up.  First we see his lower body, then the abdomen, then
the shoulders and head approach.  Right before the pair clash, the
camera position will switch to the side and show them in profile.  The
frame will freeze for an instant of anticipation whereby the framing
bars will collapse in to focus only the pair’s eyes staring at one
another.  The collapse will give way back to normal framing and then
the action will resume.

When Nick is close enough, he brings the cane down hard upon the
shocked Garcia.  Garcia blocks the cane with his racket.  When Nick
tries to pull the cane back and attempt another strike, Garcia uses his
racket to flip the cane from Nick’s hands.

Garcia laughs at Nick in between beats, each combatant wondering what
the other will do next.
Garcia’s smirk disappears when Nick reaches behind his back to produce
the pistol.  He shoots the lawyer several times in the chest at close
range.  Garcia instantly collapses onto the court, dead.

As he continues to stand silently with pistol in hand, Nick looks up at
the observation windows and sees that Nora is now held by Garcia’s
three bodyguards:  Shiva, Dragon, and Mako.

INT. RACQUETBALL ROOM OBSERVATION AREA

Reveal of Shiva holding a knife to Nora’s throat.  Nick looks up
concerned.  Nora shakes her head.

INT. RACQUETBALL ROOM

Nick nods and runs forward such that he is out of view.  With his back
against the wall that runs directly under the observation windows, he
is effectively hidden from above.

INT. RACQUETBALL ROOM OBSERVATION AREA

Mako motions to Dragon to follow him and the pair leave the observation
area.

INT. RACQUETBALL ROOM

Nick stands with his back to the far wall of the racquetball room.  He
clutches his gun and stares along the flat surface of the wall to his
left, waiting for movement from the far doorway.

On the opposite side of the wall, Mako and Dragon are just outside of
the doorway.

Dragon bursts into the room, strafing Nick with pistol shots.  Nick
arcs around the room to avoid the fire and the shoot-out ends up
looking like the pair are symmetrically following the edge opposite
edge of a large circle inside the room.

(Editor’s note:  The camera slides through the doorway, starting on a
shot of Nick in the distance and then moving over to reveal Dragon and
Mako on the other side of the doorway.)

Both have wounded one another and pause to reload their guns.  Nick is
quicker and ends up getting a series of shots off at the distracted
Dragon.  Dragon’s bullet-ridden form falls next to Garcia’s body.

Before Nick has time to celebrate his victory, his pistol is knocked
from his hand when a cane strikes his forearm from behind.

INT. RACQUETBALL ROOM OBSERVATION AREA

Nora elbows Shiva in the stomach.  The blow causes the knife to drop
from Shiva’s hand.  The two fight in silhouette in front of the bank of
observation windows.  Nora is quick to reach at the ground for the
knife.
She stabs Shiva, helping her body drop to the ground while still
gripping the knife.  After Shiva’s body has settled, Nora pulls the
knife back out from her body.

INT. RACQUETBALL ROOM

Mako steps up from behind Nick and has to quickly avoid Nick’s punch.
Mako slaps his cane at Nick again, but this time Nick blocks the blow
and grabs Mako by the collar.  Pulling towards himself, Nick actually
falls on his back and throws Mako over him in the process.

Unfortunately for Nick, Mako is quick to his feet and once more raises
his cane.  As Nick tries to rise from the daze of the fist-fight, Mako
charges at him with the cane coming down to strike.

Behind Mako’s charge, Nora has entered the room and throws the knife at
Mako.  The blade stabs him in the back of the neck and he falls dead to
the ground.

Nora rushes over and helps Nick to his feet.  The couple passionately
kisses.  Nick reaches under the back of his shirt and produces the now
familiar file folder.  Nick sets the folder on top of Garcia’s dead
body and walks hand-in-hand with Nora out of the racquetball room.

NARRATOR
As they left the past behind, Nick and Nora
fled to begin their lives again.

FADE OUT

CUT TO END CREDITS

(Editor’s note:  The end credits will feature portraits of each cast
member with the photo taken against a shadowed background.  Video
outtakes of them will freeze-frame and sketch after playing.)