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Swordfish - Wikiscreenplay


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Notes: Hollywood loved this movie when it first came out, no doubt because of it's tongue in cheek handling of the Hollywood formula. The writer doesn't try to hide the fact that the story is following a specific structure and even uses that structure to bury characterization and clues in plain sight.
Title: Swordfish
Genre: TBD
Year: 2001
Runtime: 99 minutes
Author: Karimah Boston
Movie Database: TBD
Screenplay: Skip Woods
Log Line: A secretive renegade counter terrorist co opts the world's greatest hacker to steal billions in U.S. government dirty money
(TBD) Opening Image: Gabriel (John Travolta) discusses movie villans over coffee
(TBD) Theme Stated: Gabriel's coffee companions are police officers and they tell him 'bad guys can't win in a morality tale'.
(TBD) Setup: Gabriel explains the rules of engagement to the police officers outside. They promptly ignore him and a hostage dies as a result. Flashback to 4 days earlier when Axel Torval, a computer hacker, attempts to escape customs authorities in LAX.
(TBD) Catalyst: Ginger (Halle Berry) saunters into Stan's (Hugh Jackman) life with a job offer that can make him financially secure for life.
(TBD) Debate: On the mere mention of Stan's 10 year old daughter Holly, Stan throws Ginger out, but when he calls to speak to the girl, his ex refuses and threatens to throw him in a place worse than jail if he ever tries to contact Holly. Meanwhile Axel tells Agent Roberts the man he is looking for exists in a world outside of ours. We get a preview of the glamorous world Stan is about to enter.
(TBD) Break Into Two: Stan flys out to L.A. to meet Ginger's boss Gabriel
(TBD) B Story: Stan disregards the stay away order and picks his daughter up from school.
(TBD) Fun and Games: The FBI greet Stan shortly after he drops Holly off and Stan immediately gives chase. The FBI warn Stan that his employer is dangerous. The last employee was murdered while in police custody. Stan discovers Ginger wearing a wire. She tells him she's DEA. Gabriel explains Swordfish to Stan. The FBI gets an idea of who they're up against. A senator orders Gabriel to abort the mission after he gets surveillance pictures of Gabriel from the FBI. When Gabriel refuses, the senator orders him killed. Stan creates Gabriel's hydra, then discovers Gabriel's dead doppelganger. Gabriel explains Houdini's gift for misdirection to Stan. (I like how the writer buries this clue to Gabriel's eventual escape in this lighthearted section of the screenplay then doesn't give you a chance to really think about what Gabriel just said before a chase high stakes chase ensues where men try to kill Gabriel.
(TBD) Midpoint: Gabriel kills Senator Jim after Jim sends men to kill Gabriel
(TBD) Bad Guys Close In: Stan gets his money but Gabriel's not done with him yet. Gabriel is compelled to tell Stan he's a murderer with ethics fighting to save America from terrorists. Gabriel reveals his true plan to physically rob the bank. Stan snatches a plug from a socket disrupting their work and giving him cover for his escape. Gabriel's men continue with their preparations, storm the bank and take hostages. Stan sees Holly's room ransacked and realizes she's been kidnapped. He calls Agent Roberts and the movie picks up where it left off during the first ten minutes of the film. Gabriel threatens Holly if Stan doesn't complete his assignment. Stan does it and they release Holly but Stan's plan to have the money disappear backfires. Gabriel tries to stop Stan and Holly from escaping but Holly makes out in time.
(TBD) All Is Lost: Gabriel hangs Ginger to get Stanley to recover his money. Stanley transfers the money but Gabriel shoots Ginger anyway because she is DEA.
(TBD) Dark Night of the Soul: Stan is helpless as he and the other hostages are loaded onto the getaway bus. Gabriel still seems compelled to get Stanley's approval for his actions but Stanley refuses to believe that the ends justify the means.
(TBD) Break into Three: Surprisingly when the bus lands on the roof of a high rise, Gabriel and his men release the hostages and leave. Unwilling to let Gabriel get away with his crimes, Stan grabs a rocket launcher and shoots down the helicopter.
(TBD) Finale: At the morgue, Stan identifies the partially burned corpse as that of Gabriel. The coroner confirms that the dental records match those of an ex-Moussad agent named Gabriel. An FBI agent informs Agent Roberts that DEA has no record of a Ginger working for them and he can't find her in any hospital or morgue. Stan recalls Gabriel's earlier words about misdirection and realizes Gabriel faked his death and escaped
(TBD) Final Image: Ginger collects the money from a Monte Carlo bank then joins Gabriel on a yacht. As they sail off, the yacht of a suspected terrorist blows up in the distance
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