Vinny (2015)

Feature Screenplay


"Things Never Change"

Log-Line

A Vietnam Veteran joins a local gang in order to track down his cousin’s killer.



External/Internal Conflict

Will Vincent bring his cousin’s killer to justice? Can Vincent stay away from the temptation of becoming Vinny?



Summary

After being dishonorably discharged from the Army, VINCENT MÉSZÁROS must go back home to the streets of Chicago where corruption occurs everyday. After witnessing his cousin’s murder and having his mother’s house shot up, he must try to find CAIN D’VORAH so that justice can prevail. Vincent turns towards the town’s corruption leader; Louis C so that he may get revenge.



Synopsis

Vincent is on a rescue mission in Vietnam. We see him fail in his attempt to save his commander and little girl survivor. Vincent is sent back home. He cousin, Felix almost gets him killed within his first day back from the war. Felix dies in the process.

During his funeral precession at Vincent’s mother’s house, a drive by shooting occurs almost killing everyone in the house. Vincent decides to look for Cain as a target. Louis C, the town’s corruption leader, witnessing him beat up three guys at once, picks him up during his job hunt. He offers Vincent a job working for him. He gives him a card to meet with Seth and the Four Horsemen.

Vincent’s falling out with his brother causes him to meet with the guys. He does a series of test and decides when he’s ready to kill Cain when Cain kills Felix’s mom and dad and leave their grandchild behind. He trains the guys to do a sneak attack in the warehouse where Cain and his crew hang out. He has a fistfight with Cain to put everything to an end. Vincent takes a beating but in the end he stabs Cain in the neck.

Vincent becomes Vinny (the Darker Side) and new leader for the area where his mother lives.

* * * Review * * *

The story is very original and timeless. It’s still a present problem in American society that there’s not a good rehabilitation system in progress to assist war veterans back to regular civilianization. This works for the story because it makes the story realistic and relatable to the present times. The character arc works for the story because the way the story unfolds; the ending is more relatable and human. For instance, the fact that Vinny goes from trying to be Vincent and not get sucked back into his old life to realizing that he can’t help it if he really wants to live the way he feels he deserves then he has to let go of his morality. This also goes outside of the mainstream happy ending, instead it appears authentic because the get has to become what he’s been fighting against. This leads to a more organic narrative and impactful story. The story has a good pacing everything progresses naturally. The dialogue is written really well, every character has a unique voice and tone, even in situations where there’s a lot of people in the scene. Like when the horsemen are speaking, Seth has a more demandingly, casual tone compared to Quinn and even Vinny in the beginning. The dialogue is also brief enough to be realistic, but not too much to overly informative. The dialogue supports the actions and ultimately supports the narrative. The integration of the narrative works really well for the story. As well as the subtle cleverness that underlines the whole narrative. For example, the way Louis C has a lot of satanic characteristics and iconography and he does all his business with the horsemen like the four horseman of the apocalypse. The title works to describe the entire story. The major conflict in this story is between Vincent and himself, so the fact that the story is called Vinny, is like foreshadowing that he’ll go back to his old life when everyone knows him as Vinny. The story is also clever in its specificity, the way in the beginning Vincent was referred to as Vincent then as the story goes on and things continue to go bad for him he adds another part of his past self back. This was also seen when in the beginning he refuses alcohol and as time goes on he’s taking multiple shots. The intercutting also works to get the full visual experience of the world.

- BlueCat Screenplay Script Analysis

Behind the Story

I wanted to tell the origins of a villain. I always loved the Joker and would love to see his story. I wanted to make a story where we see a guy go from good to bad. This doesn't just happen overnight. I believe this usually happens when family or close friends are unexpectedly murdered or hurt by someone. We really don't know what can change a person to start doing bad things. What I think it is, is a traumatic event. I knew I wanted to name the story, "Vinny", which is the first thing I thought of when saying the word villain.

This story sat in my arsenal for a while. I finished my first feature screenplay in 2012 and have been writing and producing shorts for a couple of years. At the beginning of 2015, I had just finished my fifth short film and my son (firstborn) came in January. I knew I couldn't jump on another production. I thought this is the perfect time to work on another feature. But how did I know "Vinny" was going to be next? Most of my time spent between projects was trying to figure out what to write. I liked the idea of "Vinny" the most but where do I start with the story. From 2013 to 2015 I have been writing individual stories (The Betrayal, Tomorrow Never Comes, The Hit) that I connected called, The Bad Karma Series. In The Betrayal and The Hit I have a character named Vincent, a veteran, who's somewhat of an estranged guy who was a former hitman to the town's drug lord. I thought okay, I can work with that. I'll tell Vincent's story and have it be a part of The Bad Karama Series.  

The Hit, is where we last see him, but "Vinny" is an origins story so I took it back when everything first started. I start the story off with Vincent in the Vietnam War back in 1972. He's on a mission and something goes wrong that is the fault of Vincent. He's discharged and back home to a crime city, which is why he joined the army to escape and not fall into the trap of his friends and family. On his first day back home, he witnesses his cousin's murder and decides to investigate who the people were who killed him.  

I must have written about six drafts of this story. In each draft, I add something different. I had three events happen to him once he joins the gang who killed his cousin to find out more intel. I touched upon his PTSD from the war. And I had him reconnect with his old girlfriend. I paid homage to films such as, The Godfather and Carlito's Way, which were true inspirations to me.  

After ten months I completed the screenplay. I loved working on it. I would go for walks before I would write a scene just to clear my mind and pre-write it in my head. I wrote every morning. I felt I was ready to enter it in festivals. I let my wife read it, who's my toughest critic. She said it wasn't good and wouldn't win any awards and I shouldn't waste my time. This was gut-wrenching because I spent so much time working on it. I had my feelings hurt. Maybe she was right, but I had to try my luck.  

Three years went by, and in December of 2018, I had entered it in a local festival, Film Carpet, and when the screenplay categories came up "Vinny" was called for the runner-up spot. I was handed a trophy. This validated the hard work I put into it. I knew I had something.

*NOTE: I do not own the rights to the above image. It is clearly a depiction representing the story.

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