A small-time enforcer is pushed deeper into a world of violence and deceit when he finds himself indebted to the dirtiest cop on the street.
What is it about anti-heroes? They make such terrific cinema; in any genre you can name. The Maltese Falcon. Scarface. Pulp Fiction. The ambivalent protagonists of In Bruges. SF has it’s fill, as well: Han Solo, Snake Pliskin… Mad Max (to some degree.) All characters that live in violent, gritty worlds – skirting the crusted edge of morality. We love them, dammit, despite their flaws. Or perhaps because of them…
Thanks to writer Kosta Kondilopoulos, we can now add another name to the list: Ritchie Boland. A world weary hitman – living somewhere between the shadows of Film Noir, and blood-soaked Tarantino streets…
Lowlife opens much as other crime tales do… A run-down apartment, with rain battering the window pane. Ritchie’s waking up to no-name coffee… and a not-so-inexpensive blonde girlfriend. Cut to a desolate alleyway. Richie sits with colleague Sammy in a car. A nervous Sammy interrogates Ritchie as they wait for their mark. A dirty cop’s been putting the screws to him, asking uncomfortable questions. If Ritchie’s told him anything, he’ll put that pretty blonde of his on ice. A few bullets put Sammy’s questioning to an early end. And set Ritchie on a fateful path that’s not quite so cut and dried…
A few years pass. The blonde’s long gone; but Ritchie’s still stuck in his nowhere place. A violent errand boy for the Powers That Be – doing everyone’s dirty deeds. His latest gig for old friend Nikki Jergens: retrieving a bag of blow from some tweakers…. By any means necessary. A few dislocated shoulders later, Ritchie meets Nikki at a diner. She’s got a freelance job, she tells him. Something that pays enough to put them both in retirement. You see, her friend Gwen has an abusive husband. And she really (really, really) wants him gone. Ritchie turns down the offer: he’s got safer things to do. Like help Gangster Bobby Golden shake down a porn distributor for a return on his investment. Despite Nikki’s tears, Ritchie takes his leave. He’s too old to do the risky stuff anymore. He’ll stick with easier money.
…but is everything as it seems?
Ritchie heads to “Pink Monkey Studios” to squeeze money out of Bobby’s deadbeat colleague – and runs into an old acquaintance. Someone who knows quite a bit about Sammy’s demise. And intends to leverage it for favors. Across town, Nikki’s decided to take matters into her own hands – with disastrous results for her and Gwen. A panicked Nikki runs to Ritchie for help. And things spiral out of control. Gwen’s husband’s very much alive; with friends neither of them wants to meet. As double crosses deepen and plots twist, Ritchie’s past roars back for revenge. Leaving him with nowhere left to turn. And no way to protect the long hidden secrets (and people) that matter to him most of all…
Starkly written, Lowlife’s a breeze to read. And an easy shoot to bring to life. Much like QT’s Reservoir Dogs, Lowlife eschews fancy set pieces in favor of realistic – yet surprisingly non-gratuitous – violence. (And even a touch of humor.) Most importantly, this is one script where you’ll root for the anti-hero – despite his various misdeeds. That in itself is worthy the price of admission. Because making one’s characters bleed is easy. Making you care about the blood spilled…. an accomplishment that’s far harder.
About the writer: I’ve been writing for about four years now. I always loved it but managed to get constantly side-tracked by silly things like: finding a real job, getting married, having kids, a mortgage… I finally decided to stop making excuses (not completely) and write “for real”. I made it to the quarter-finals of the Nicholls Fellowship last year, the semi-finals of the Screencraft Fellowship earlier this year, and the finals of the Industry Insider competition featuring Sheldon Turner. I’m still pretty wet behind the ears, but for the first time in a long time, I actually refer to myself as a writer. I can always be reached at kostak “AT” kostak.com
Budget: Relatively low. A few very affordable FX – but Lowlife is primarily a character driven story. Get the right actors and cinematographer, and you’re golden!
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