All screenplays on the simplyscripts.com and simplyscripts.net domain are copyrighted to their respective authors. All rights reserved. This screenplaymay not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.
Thanks to everyone who posted comments. I greatly appreciate the praises and fully acknowledge the faults. I was a little too quick putting this together and made two gross errors which became quite obvious in the reviews. For the sake of clarity, I'll try to explain, so hold onto your hats because it's going to be bumpy.
First off, everybody's dead right from the start. The railroad worker is the only living being but seems to be a ghost to those who are actually dead. The purpose of the train is to ferry the dead to the underworld (think the rivers Styx and Acheron if you will). But first, the dead are tested to determine their worth (the Egyptian Walk of the Dead). Charles (or Charon, if you please) serves as guide through the tests. Everything William goes through from the Hall of Mirrors on is designed to test different aspects of his soul. The Hall of Mirrors tests his love; he runs off to find his wife, clearly out of his depth, and thereby passes. The snake charmer is temptation which he passes when she fails to seduce him. The black asp isn't part of the test. The wolfman tests his compassion, a test he passes when he pauses in his quest to intervene. The highwire tests his courage and his will. He risks his "life" to save Bethany and passes. The final test is two-fold; the fortune-teller tests his reason and also prepares him for what's coming.
And so, at the end, because he passed all of the tests, William is entitled to enter Heaven. His wife is not. Charles tried to appeal to his reasoning but in the end William's love wins out and he foresakes Heaven to be with his wife. The bullet holes are how they died, shot dead together. Charles's comment about "not even consummated yet" is a hint that they died on their wedding day.
As I said, I made two gross errors. The first was being too subtle, trying to be clever for the sake of it. It only served to confuse and blur the details. The second error was about focus. I'm trying to communicate two distinct ideas in this short: the idea of being tested after death in order to gain entry into Heaven and the idea that even those who have earned passage to Heaven can still choose to go the other way because of love.
I'm obviously pleased with what I wrote in three days (it took three days just to come up with something). Thanks to all the very helpful comments I know what I need to do in the re-write, and I will definitely re-write it.
I'm just quoting your whole post because yes, I clearly missed a lot. I didn't know they were dead, but do know the imagery and shifts really kept this moving.
I really hear you as far as being subtle goes. A lot I think depends upon head space when you're reading something. People who are clamoring to do a lot of reads really fast (I think anyways) have lost a lot of the sense of enjoyment in the whole process. They (as if) try and jam them all together and:
Process them!!! Like on an assembly line.
Because of this, we, as readers I think need to take some of the blame, too.
Truly, your script stood out for me. Yes, now that you've explained the subtle ideas you had in your head when you wrote it and they didn't come through for me, I can see how it's a downer in that sense. You win and lose at the same time.
I think I did the same thing with mine. I don't think I made it clear that Laval was in his Izabiza Castle, but really it was more of a purgatory than anything. His good deeds with Payer's mother showed his good hearted side even though, he had a very possessive nature with his employee, The Tax Man in the character of Glonde. That, I will leave to everyone's imagination. But yes, he couldn't change and according to his "ideals" if you will, felt remorseful.
Yes yes though, I completely understand how you might feel you have failed with the connections. To get through the disconnects and maintain a well written script is very difficult.
If you want me to read your re-write. Feel free to send.