Azazel’s ‘Fallen’ Narrative

Fallen (1998)

– iMDB Rating: 7.0/10

Cast:
Denzel Washington John Hobbes
John Goodman Jonesy
Donald Sutherland Lt. Stanton
Embeth Davidtz Gretta Milano

Directed by: Gregory Hoblit
Written by: Nicholas Kazan (written by)
Full PDF Screenplay: Courtesy of dailyscript.com

Fallen

I was seeking a film that had skipped my radar at the time of it’s heyday that I could count on to be a decent read. Well, everybody loves Denzel, right? Okay, so I chose this quite irrationally, but I hadn’t seen it & the IMDb score made it a safe bet.

I read it and it is truly gripping. There isn’t a single page in it that doesn’t leave you with a need to know what happens next, the way a thriller should be. That’s the one main issue I discover on un-produced films and drafts that need a good re-write. If I got paid for every unnecessary monologue I have read where folks are sitting around and go into long driveling sentences, where a one-liner would suffice, I’d be filthy rich. Back on point Fallen has a big fat ‘zero’.

Here’s a scene that I think says plenty about good writing. There’s a clear distinction in characters, it shows friendly office banter, while staying on point with an ongoing investigation, moving it forward to the next clue, the next scene. Three quarters of page 46, just under a minute of footage, zero wastage.

HOBBES

Any more on Muskavich?

JONESY

Only his pizza.

LOU

(passing by)

Hitting your area of expertise, huh, Jonesy?

JONESY

(turns on Lou)

Look man. Pizza is the staff of life. Without pizza and other fine Italian foods, there is no happiness, okay?

(turns back to Hobbes)

There was one slice left. Deep dish: Garlic, Linguisa and pineapple. An unusual combo, but Gina’s over in Oak Park has it as a #17. Plus there was nothing in Muskavich’s stomach, so it was the killers eats.

HOBBES

You’re saying the killer might be from Oak Park?

I did after my read watch the film too and it translates pretty much as it is on the page. The only small departures were unimportant. How does one decide what is unimportant? Hmmm.

Disclaimer: If you haven’t either seen the film or read the screenplay, and want to avoid spoilers you should probably stop right here. Below I’m about to outline practically everything that happens in the film.

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