November 10, 2004 at 11:41 pm | Scathing Letters
COMMENTS: LONDON FIELDS is a fairly disjointed and predominantly nonsensical drama that fails to offer much in the way of a coherent plot, developed characters or a satisfying ending. Things seem to take place randomly, with little reason for events to occur. The main characters are incredibly simplistic and unsympathetic and we never connect with either on a deeper level. Because we aren?t involved with the plot or characters emotionally, we simply do not care about what transpires. It is unclear what the authors were attempting to accomplish in this screenplay, but it is safe to say that whatever it is they did not succeed. Perhaps they were going for a quirky, gritty drama/thriller, but this story doesn?t possess the intensity or coolness necessary to pull that off. All in all, LONDON FIELDS is an utterly uninspired script that falters instantly out of the gate and never recovers; making it an unmitigated pass on all levels. While there are insurmountable problems present, the author does deserve credit for his/her attempt in fashioning a meandering, manipulative movie that also contains shockingly brutal moments and steamy sexuality. The notion of a dying author using the real life exploits and schemes of a sexy young woman as source material for his novel seems to be perfect fodder for a gripping yarn. The harsh London locales utilized in this script are also helpful, as are the brooding characters, as they provide the screenplay with a ?vibe? that is sorely needed. Sadly, these positive components are in no way sufficient to raise this script to a viable level. The largest problem by far is the fact that the plot is nearly incomprehensible. We meet Samson, Nicola, Keith, and Guy and have little clue about what makes them tick. Samson and Nicola form some strange alliance, yet at no time are we capable of discerning what Nicola is attempting to do with her manipulations of Keith and Guy. It literally makes no sense. Additionally, there isn?t a single character on the page that is likeable or sympathetic. Nicola is a scheming black widow; Samson is using Nicola?s personal diaries as fodder for his novel; Keith is an oversexed scumbag; and Guy is an adulterer. Guy is the closest thing we have to an empathetic character, but his role in this drama is limited and thin. Samson and Nicola seem to be in cahoots with her scheme, but they don?t seem to have any clearly defined destination or plan. Why is that? Why does she feel the need to manipulate Keith and Guy? We know why Samson is involved (he wants to write the story) but Nicola?s agenda is invisible. Why can?t the writers expand on her mission, thus giving the story a bit of focus and purpose? It just doesn?t track. Further, the plot is handcuffed by a lack of tension and jeopardy. As mentioned above, there isn?t any driving force behind either Samson or Nicola?s agenda. There needs to be a ticking clock present; something other than the vaguely described, impending murder of Nicola. In fact, her supposed psychic abilities aren?t explained or fleshed out at all. If she knows she?s going to die, why not change things, hoping to avoid it? It makes no sense. On a final note, when it is revealed that Samson is her murderer (and the murderer of Keith and Guy) it comes out of left field. Why would he kill her or them? He says it?s out of love, but nothing has happened to indicate that fact. It?s so wildly unfocused and underdeveloped, it is baffling. It is quite annoying. Overall, LONDON FIELDS is a screenplay that goes nowhere fast. A decent backdrop and some nicely violent and steamy scenes are squandered by a terrible plot and even more problematic characters. At no time does anything transpire that registers an impact with the reader; miring the script in lackluster territory. The negatives far outweigh any positives, making this a pass for both the writers and the project at this time. COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL: None whatsoever.