Thursday, July 7, 2011

'Killing on Carnival Row' - Script Review

A gaze into highly innovative world, propelled forward by a well-known detective story.

What's it about:
In an alternative world, where fairies live in ghettos oppressed by humans, a police detective has to find a serial killer, when his faerie girlfriend is the latest victim in this killing spree.

Plot Summary:
On the first page the first faerie dies and while her corpse floats down the river, we are introduced to Inspector Rycroft Philostrate. In a very noir Voice-Over he gives the viewer/reader an overview over The Burgue. He tells us about the faerie opression and the high tension between everybody living in the city. We get to know the Mayor and his wife, who fights very openly for more faerie rights. On page 6 Philostrate takes on this case and interviews the only eyewitness: a selkie - a half-human / half-seal creature. Afterwards he pays a visit to his secret faerie girlfriend, who has to work at a faerie brothel. By page 16 we already have two dead faeries and a Haruspex is called to the crime scene. These can not only see the future, but also the past and help the efforts of the police force. Philostrate goes to the Museum of Natural History to get the help of the faerie expert, Professor Alcandre.
Now all the players are in the game and the plot starts turning...

On page 30 the new victim of the serial killer, called Unseelie Jack, is revealed to be Philostrate's secret girlfriend. Not able to cope, he walks into a bar and gets wasted. Still high, Philostrate rescues a young faerie, Vignette, from an attack by Unseelie Jack. Meanwhile the Haruspex finds evidence, that points to Philostrate as Unseelie Jack. Vignette, cared for by the inspector, has to flee with him, when the police approaches. Together they hide in the underground of the faerie district, but Philostrate wants to catch the killer of his girlfriend. The fourth victim is found at the Museum of Natural History. When Philostrate goes to the crime scene, he is spotted by tzhe police and has to flee, only to be saved by Vignette. On page 71 they kiss the first time, but Philostrate backs off, the memory of his dead girlfriend still haunts him.
We are coming closer and closer to the end...

On page 78 a whole ballroom of important politicians is killed by an attack of the faeries. But it is revealed, that the Mayor is responsible for this horrible attack. He uses this event as justification to round up every non-human and put them in prison. On page 89 it is revealed that the Haruspex is Unseelie Jack, but before Philostrate can kill her, she escapes with Vignette. He follows them and we find out, that the Haruspex is a creation by Professor Alcandre: he was payed by the mayor to terrorize the faerie disctrict. Vignette kills the professor, but the Haruspex can escape. The two follow her to the prison and Philostrate kills the Haruspex in an aerial fight. The Mayor is shot by the Police Chef and everything returns to normal. After these horrible events the faeries get suffrage and equal rights in the Burgue. Philostrate and Vignette fly away on a Zeppelin to see the world, and he is finally strong enough to admit loving a faerie in public.

The Project
The script was written in 2005 by Travis Beachem and sold to New Line just a few month later. It attracted the talents of Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth & Hellboy) and Hugh Jackman (X-Men, Wolverine, The Prestige), but got stuck in development hell.
It is Beachem's first sold script and hailed as one of the best spec scripts floating around Hollywood. Beachem went on to do assignment work (The last draft of Clash of the Titans).

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- Tristan

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