Period: Contemporary
Genre: Gangster, Machiavellian Tragedy, Thriller
Locations: L.A., Toronto, Rome, Helsinki

 
We Are Hoodwinks
  Treatment  

 

 Notes on Film’s subject matter, structure, style, and audience.
        This film will be liked by those who enjoy Shakespeare and Fightclub. The film is a revenge tragedy, where every person involved is exposed to and changed by power. Each character has their agenda and is very committed to that agenda. Along with the corruption of power, we see Henry’s spiritual relationship to violence and his momentous movements after a very great nihilistic revelation. I like to question how people can run with and pursue truly the spoils of a great revelation.
        The style will attract the audience base: 18 to 40. It will be sharp, cool and snappy with space at times for beauty and ghostly P.O.Vs. The violence will be more in the minds and ears of the audience and although the humour and sharpness of dialogue should be very entertaining, the subject matter may cause an intelligent film discerning audience to question in a philosophical manner both filmic techniques and the subject matters ideas within ones own world. Sufi defacement, extreme loss of ego, pushing oneself with a truth that is terrifying. A little like following the river in to the jungle of violence in Apocalypse Now. How does a man take such a journey?
        The various locations will show several timelines, that coexist, change the balance of power constantly, and give different light and verve to different elements of the story. The elegance of Roma, the cabin fever and cold beauty of Helsinki, the slick sheen of Toronto and the gritty action in LA. I want to use Hollywood techniques in the story-telling, yet subvert greatly in the subject matter and integrity of the acting style and script content.

Script Treatment

GABRIELLA, a very together and strong woman is sat drinking espresso outside a Roman café. She is searching for something in her red handbag. Her demeanour is confident, stylish, 60s yet contemporary. She is 28 years old, beautiful, sad and very angry. Across from her sits an elderly and very smartly dressed gentleman MARTINE VERMONTE, present leader of a large underworld organisation. He wants the letter in Gabriella’s handbag. Gabriella bursts out with rage as she hands over the information. We do not know for some time what the contents of the envelope are. Martine leaves the café and walks slowly across the piazza as Gabriella screams her vitriol on him. She returns to her espresso to be met by STEFANO, Martine’s grandson and heir to the throne. He wants to know where his grandfather has gone. Gabriella simply says “He just left,” and then she too leaves to Stefano’s dismay.
              Gabriella is now crying in a telephone box, she is talking to her true love ANDREW who is talking to her from Canada. She is crying, saying “I can’t do this, I can’t do this,” and Andrew is trying to calm her down, telling her that it just has to happen. There is no other way, he loves her and that all will be alright. As the conversation sadly continues, it is revealed that BETH (a member of Martine’s gang) is sitting with Andrew, evidently in control and confident of the situation. As the phone call ends she makes sure that Gabriella is on board. We now hear HENRY’s name mentioned. Andrew must swear on Henry’s life that Gabriella is in.
        TITLES begin: HENRY PRESTON our main character is sat looking into the distance as the camera slowly tracks towards him. We see that he is terribly beaten and ripped apart, strapped to a chair on a Verandah in a cold place, Helsinki, Finland. He has a yoke strapped across his shoulders and from the yoke hangs 3 cans on either side of him. Intermittently shots ring out. A wide-long shot reveals that two men are using the cans as long distance shooting practice. The bloody crow like figure hardly flinches as he is so  punch drunk. A man comes out of the Farmhouse from behind Henry with drinks on a tray. Another shot rings out and the man drops his drinks as he tries to dodge the bullets. The henchmen laugh at his histrionics; Henry still doesn’t flinch; only his eyes express anything.
        We go back some time to when Henry is less beaten. He is still captive under ANNA the main torturer. She is talking expressively to a camcorder about new forms of violence. She is documenting the proceedings. She has three henchmen Gringo, John, and Leslie who help her while wearing Venetian masks in front of camera so as to protect their identity. Anna does not. TAPE #3 is put into an envelope ready to be sent somewhere.
        Back at Beth’s apartment, Andrew is being toyed with about Henry’s transformation from loving brother to megalomaniac gangster. Beth suggests that he might change too. She takes him for a long drive to a secret hide-away where she tells him a chilling tale. As she describes the setting things appear in the space: “a table” and so a table appears, “a dead body” and so a cadaver appears, Beth states “Newly dead…” and the body changes to being freshly dead, “Henry”, and so Henry appears, and then Anna, Martine, sharp toys, a real mess, all appear including the real mess. The lights fade to night time and Beth and Andrew lay witness to the sordid events that unfold. Henry is whizzing on a cocktail of drugs, his arms inside the dead man’s abdomen. He is taking out the organs and throwing them into a box and on the floor: “It’s like digging a hole with your hands, like when you were a kid,” he says. He looks to the legs, “You know if we take out the bones we can get more in.” Henry is evidently using the body to transport contraband. Martine disapproves but when Anna and Henry begin to have sex on the floor with the human remains as toys he is nearly sick and leaves for his truck, shocked at the new generation. The lights change and we are back to day-time. Beth continues her conversation with Andrew, who vomits at Henry’s exploits. Her story could be true or fabrication to screw with Andrew’s mind. The crux of the film’s tale is expressed here when Beth tells Andrew that he can have Henry back, safe and sound, if Martine, very simply, gets his money back.
        We return to a time where Henry is still part of Martine’s gang, returning to his sweet but very sexual lover TURQUOISE lovable, beautiful blue haired motel queen. Henry has a satchel and a blue case (containing the money Beth is after), they embrace passionately on the motel balcony, and then Henry asks for a safe place to hide the loot. Turquoise gives him the key to next door’s apartment. As Henry leaves the scene cuts and leaves the Turquoise storyline for a while.
        We go further back in time where Henry is having a conversation with his old friend LENNY (aka GRINGO, his mercenary name) at an outdoor L.A. Bistro where he puts over the bare bones of his `Big Idea’. Lenny has worked for Martine for five years and he’s feeling dissatisfied with the outfit’s weak slack ways and he is ripe for hearing Henry’s ideas of a coup. The grand plan is unveiled. The scene is split in half, again more to be revealed later.
        It’s early at the motel; Henry and Turquoise are in bed and there’s a knock at the door. Gabriella comes in bright and breezy. The only reason for the visit is to see her friends and give Henry the gift of a watch. Then she leaves. Henry and Turquoise plan a Pacific Coast holiday.
        In a restaurant Andrew and Gabriella talk. A slow tracking shot moves towards the lovers witnesses a sweet conversation, filmically ending the holiday plans of the previous scene. Gabriella wants to go to Mexico. Andrew suggests the pacific, San Diego, and here is where the We Are Hoodwinks title occurs. The conversation goes: Andrew: “Why Gabriella, should we go to Mexico?” Gabriella: “Because we are on the run,” she replies. Andrew smiles. Gabriella: “What?” Andrew smiles again. Gabriella: “What?” Andrew: “Mexico?” Gabriella: “Acapulco or Playa…” Andrew: “Gabriella, you are wonderful.” Gabriella: “Why? I just said Mexico.” Andrew: “Exactly.” Gabriella: “We are players no?” Andrew laughs at the sweet accent: “The sweetest little Italian angel.” Gabriella: “Gangsters…” Andrew laughs more. Gabriella: “Hoodwinks.” Andrew: “Yes Gabriella, we are five Hoodwinks.”
        Another scene opens like the opening parenthesis [(] On a Roman balcony Gabriella kneels down wearing a wedding dress. She watches the piazza nightlife, a lonesome moped, some lovers talk and walk by, Gabriella cries as it begins to rain. Cut back a few hours Stefano pours champagne for Gabriella while he is about to take a shower. As he wanders off to the bathroom, Gabriella curses him. Cut to after the shower and Stefano calls of his new wife from the bedroom. He calls softly at first. She does not respond. Eventually his tone changes and he orders her to come. The tone means (and is explained later too) that she has been made to marry Stefano, who has always wanted her. The marriage is another term of Henry’s release. Cut back to the end parenthesis scene where Gabriella is kneeling on the balcony in the rain. The Vespa whizzes by. [)]
        Back in Finland the camera views the sky. A p.o.v. as Henry speaks internally, the dulcet whisper “Wherever you are when you look up, you are in heaven,” we see a baton flutter over the screen. The camera now views the blue of the sky with red seeping over the screen, left to right. “You don’t know where you are when you look at the sky.” Another flutter as the baseball bat comes down to a crunching thud. We cut to Henry lying on the ground and his left eye is bloodied over. Anna calls enough but Gringo hits him one more time. We as an audience maybe don’t understand why Gringo/Lenny is torturing his old friend. Allegiances, alliances and self-preservation are all being questioned. [There maybe more voice over to show the spiritual element of Henry’s nihilistic endeavours.] Anna in her psychotic innocence deliberates the next site of violence; the woods or the shed, “Green green green! Or dark and dingy? You can become quite obsessed by this.” Anna is becoming a true camera-person. It is here that she tells us that the videos are for Gabriella. The latest tape is given to Gringo to send. Anna simply asks Henry where the money is but there is no reply.
        In the more refined environment of a Martine’s home, Martine, Beth and Andrew discuss in a civilised manner the depth of Henry’s depravity and how Martine never wanted this to happen, Anna too had gone too far. All they seem to want is their money. However, as Henry and Lenny discuss later with Martine, his soft or apparent softness and his subtle directions cause harrowing results. He rests in safety while others do the dirty work, (the antithesis of Henry and Lenny who want the whole experience.) At Martine’s grand home, Andrew is teased over marriage of Gabriella and Stefano, subtly as always. Again the whereabouts of the money is the issue. [Additional dialogue maybe added threatening Gabriella.] A tape is given to Andrew. Martine: “I think you should view it first.” Beth: “Certificate it for your precious.” Andrew takes it and leaves.
        Return to the first scene of the film at the piazza in Rome. Martine is on a mobile phone looking at the contents of the envelope. Martine: “His name is Leonard Comer…” So Gabriella has given Gringo’s real name to the enemy. Gringo is still known as Gringo but it shouldn’t be too long researching the true facts. The camera tracks speedily back to Gabriella looking in her red handbag  yet this time the camera sees and expresses to the audience something different. She is not all that she seems. We follow her to the telephone box and see her feeling quite together and preparing for the call and then she puts on her tears.  The viewer will not know Gabriella’s plans or whose side she on?
        At Stefano’s apartment, Gabriella and Andrew are watching the tape. Gabriella is heavily shaken by the torture of her old friend. Andrew reassures her and as if repeating, tells her of the plan that Henry and Lenny need it to get so bad for all the events to be effective. Martine and Stefano must visit Finland for themselves before he dies. [New dialogue that may be included in the scene Martine’s home (above). Anna is going too far and may kill Henry.] Gabriella says that she thought this was it, that this was to be the end of it. Andrew explains what Gabriella has not fully understood that Henry has orchestrated the nihilistic yet megalomaniac gesture of torture and in the next scene, the second half to the L.A. bistro conversation with Henry and Lenny; we even see that Henry planted the idea of a documentary video in Anna’s mind. He wants a legendary document of his torture so that if he actually lives through it, all will fear him. Lenny is asked if he is up to the task of really torturing him so that they may lead truly. They end their conversation as they get their cheesecake with cream.
        A rather surreal scene follows, that may need earlier justification. Gabriella is sat with Turquoise on a bench. Gabriella talks to her sadly, as if she misses her. Turquoise does not reply but only sips her milkshake. The bench overlooks Rome. Stefano walks along a cliff edge towards them. Gabriella asks Turquoise to sit by her other side. Stefano sits where Turq was. From another camera angle we only see Stefano and Gabriella. Turq may well be a ghost. Gabriella is actually pleasant to her husband. Stefano asks Gabriella to tell all. Stefano says there are three more tapes and that he and his grandfather are going to sort things out as it’s gone too far. Gabriella is appalled at 3 more tapes and actually suggest that he thinks twice before he leaves, but he is determined that this is the only solution.
        We return to the opening credits image of the Verandah. Henry is tied to the chair with men shooting at him. The crow like image, the cans hanging from the yoke, flies buzzing around his wounds, bloodied face, bloodied stomach, weird shaped limbs, but his eyes can still think. He closes them and remembers.
        At Turquoise’s motel room, Henry walks in with cartons of take away food. As he enters the room he sees Turq lying on the bed peacefully with her neck sliced. His hands slide in her blood.  One guy enters from outside, one from the corner of the room or toilet. There is a tremendously violent fight as Henry vents his anger; faces and heads smashed to pieces. He calls Martine and threatens him with a visit saying that he’s going to skin him alive. Not an empty threat now that we know something of Henry’s commitment to violence. Henry leaves the loot next door to Turq’s apartment and visits Anna and his plan is truly set in motion. The momentum has begun after the murder of his love. He goes to see Anna, bloodied and angry. He questions Anna’s loyalty – Martine or Henry? She tells him she’s loyal to Anna. Henry lays the seed of torture and video in her mind as he tells her what he’s going to do to Martine. After an argument Henry leaves, angry with Anna. Anna stays strong and sardonic. Anna screams for him to leave. Their eyes still in contact she calls Gringo and tells him that Henry is leaving and that he’ll be driving his blue Chevrolet. Henry leaves.
        There is a slow drive to the coast. Gringo and two other cars close in on him. Slow whispering sounds drive them to the ocean where Henry takes his last breath before the madness, torture and his plan goes into effect. He is beaten on the beach and taken.
        We go back to Anna’s home where she is now talking with Marine where she takes delight in telling the old man that Henry was threatening to skin him alive and document it on a videotape. Martine is sickened and tells Anna that he can’t be seen to be soft and that Anna should over see getting his money back, while making  an example of Henry.
        From now on there are no flashback scenes and so we have a sense that the end has been set in motion. It begins in the airport where we see Martine and Stefano interact as a normal Grandad and grandson might. They are at the canteen. Stefano wants a coffee and asks if Martine wants anything. The old man thinks he might not have time even though Stefano says they’ve got two hours to wait. Until the tannoy announces “flight fl706u leaves in 1 hour 50 minutes”, Martine won’t believe he has time. As soon as he hears this he says that he’ll have a tea. We cut to a small scene where they are waiting for the flight. Martine: “Are you excited?” Stefano: “Actually… Yes.”
        In a car, Lenny/Gringo is driving Martine and Stefano from the airport. In the wilderness of the cold country (Finland), they talk of Gabriella and the cold, but eventually they arrive at the farm. Lenny gets the cases out of the trunk. As the camera crosses the line, we see the new state of the verandah, the crow image of Henry in the distance but also Andrew is standing there with a gun. Lenny joins him and they make Martine and Stefano walk towards the terrible sight before them. They notice the blood on Andrew’s hands and clothes and as they grow closer to the farm they see that Henry is bandaged but also that Anna and the two other henchmen are stripped and tied to the posts of the verandah, wrapped in blankets, soaking in blood. They enter the farmhouse as the tortured look on.
        Inside the farm, a shocked doctor reports to Gabriella the damage that Henry has incurred and that he’s never seen any injuries like this on a soul still living. Gabriella dispels her anger of the warped situation on to Andrew. She sees that Andrew is changing terribly. Lenny ties the bemused and rambling Stefano and Martine up while showing them no respect or sympathy.
        In the evening Lenny shouts that dinner is served. At the table are Martine and Stefano. Lenny taunts them and speaks of Henry healing as they are destroyed in a very painful way. Gabriella, Andrew and the doctor come in to eat. The food is dished out to quiet. Here some of the characters intent and suspicions are seen by the lingering lens. Lenny wonders if Andrew is weak and if Henry will survive. Andrew is growing meglamanic. Gabriella seems strong and independent while getting eye contact with Stefano. Gabriella is sympathetic but we also see her planning mind and we remember her earlier deception. Stefano speaks and Lenny stabs him in the arm for doing so. Stefano keeps talking and says that he loves Gabriella. She replies and rushes to his aid. Lenny tells Gabriella to shut up. Now Andrew blazes at his audacity. Tension is growing. From outside we see the warm glow coming from inside the farmhouse. Outside we also see the tortured souls still hanging from the posts, in the cold, slow breath steams into the night air. The ghost of Turquoise wanders around and views the bodies, then looks through the window. [Turquoise P.O.V. might be an interesting tool throughout the film.]
        It is morning and Gabriella wakes to what feels like a normal beautiful morning. Andrew enters her bedroom with toast and coffee. They smile, she thanks him, they talk about sleep, and then she sees new blood on his sleeves. Andrew says he has to go. Gabriella watches him out of the room sadly. The next camera shot finishes off her thoughts as we pan along externally from Gabriella’s bedroom to a torture room where Andrew enters and begins to hurt Stefano. Gabriella looks down to her coffee and we then hear a loud scream.
        In the afternoon, Gabriella is cooking, Henry is at the table with Martine; Stefano is dragged in to the room and strapped into a chair so that he sits upright. After some dialogue, Lenny begins to shout at Andrew: “You fucking weak fuck!” Highly provoked Andrew starts to beat Stefano with a log and then he runs over to Lenny and smashes him over and over with the heavy log until Lenny submits. Henry looks on at Andrew beckoning on his rage to continue. We see Gabriella’s terror and eventually she screams: “What is happening to you! Andrew is in a frenzy and enjoying the power. “I have lost you Andrew.” Andrew tells her that they will be kings but Gabriella sheds a slow tear and looking at him she says solemnly: “Andrew I love you.” FADE OUT.
        Dusk and the second evening at the farm and Gabriella sits on the verandah steps with a coffee, the henchmen and Anna, still tied to the posts and barely alive. Turquoise appears and holds Gabriella from behind. She whispers something and Gabriella screws up her face shaking her head. The dying faces look at her. Turquoise whispers again. Gabriella opens her eyes. – The sun goes down.
        In the kitchen, Andrew and Henry talk. Andrew questions the situation this time yet Henry speaks and splutters about their  future rule and that no-one will outdo this and that the only way anyone can beat them would be to kill them and that psychologically that is something powerful. Lenny enters and apologises for testing Andrew. Andrew talks to Martine and Stefano about how they played with their people like toys and never saw the effects of their decisions and orders but that they will notice for the rest of their painful days. Gabriella walks in from either outside or the shadows, wearing a nightgown and asks Andrew if he is coming to bed; Lenny mocks the henpecked Hoodwink. Henry tells everyone to go to bed while he tells the captives what a long day they all will have tomorrow.
        In Gabriella’s room we see her thoughts, the violence, her earlier phone call [Maybe another deception], the letter, the case, Turquoise bleeding, and Andrew’s violence. Gabriella rises and pulls a gun from her bag, puts a silencer on, walks back to the bed and tearfully shoots Andrew in the head. She walks to the bathroom where Lenny is shaving: “I’ve just killed my true love,” she says. “He’s becoming just like Henry.” She shoots Lenny too. Gabriella gets dressed [The Doctor wakes?] walks to the kitchen with a candle and after she talks meaningfully to Henry, Stefano and Martine she shoots them all. She picks up her red handbag, the car keys [the doctor quietly watches her leave, extremely relieved.] and with the gun she leaves the farm. As she walks away from the Verandah, death all over the place, Turquoise appears by her side. The crazy world fades out.
        FADE BACK: Gabriella and Turquoise are driving on a desert road in Mexico. The scene cuts to Turquoise’s apartment where Gabriella opens the next door and finds the suitcase and the satchel and leaves. Cut back to the desert drive. Gabriella and the ghost of Turquoise.       

                             . . . . THE END . . . . . Titles . . .
        FADE BACK: TV turns on and from white fuzz cut to Henry. Beth is watching a new tape. Henry is sat on the Verandah after the coup. He stands in terrible pain. He looks around to the tortured souls and back to camera and says: “Welcome… Welcome to a new day.”