Screenplay Review: Hunter's Point
Hunter’s Point - a drama feature screenplay by David A. Seader - follows Bryce Mayweather, who after assaulting a homeless man is put on probation and pieces together the past with the help of a mandated therapist, Dr. Howard. Bryce is homeless and lives off unemployment and food stamps. He seeks shelter wherever he can - namely an artist commune known as Hunter’s Point in San Francisco.
Bryce has undergone severe trauma from the loss of family members, bad relationships with friends and girlfriends. He has acted out with his own sexual and drug addictions. His scholarship was revoked for bad behavior. Bryce is beyond the threshold of caring, and seems to be in a stasis mode, craving any opportunity he can to have fun and forget the past.
Dr. Howard implies Bryce's new lifestyle is not sustainable. He prescribes him Klonopin for his anxiety. In a fragmented nature (possibly influenced by the Klonopin), Bryce works through all the issues weighing him down in a way that ultimately comes across convoluted. The writing was more experimental than following your typical three act structure, and not necessarily in an illuminating manner.
Still, there is potential to mine a heart out of Bryce’s character. In school he was a budding author who ironically cannot articulate his own current tragedy, and there is something poetic about that. If the script honed in on that thesis, it would really stand out. Bryce ultimately comes across as passive. It’s a challenge to care for a character who isn’t trying to get better, whose catch phrase becomes “whatever.” When he does get the probation charges lifted, his behavior doesn’t change. His growth comes across as superficial, actualized only through dialogue and not action.
All of the characters seem to not care deeply about their relationships. Characters like Liz and Bryce’s friends enable Bryce and vice versa. Though that may add some pessimistic realism, it also makes the characters pretty unlikable, a challenge for sympathy or empathy. Of the friends that do have direction, Chris Cooke, has a goal to start a child acting program. But even that sounds problematic. Chris Cooke also sounds like an addiction metaphor for meth, but like other metaphors in the script, generally lacks clarity. In terms of dialogue, the characters could cut down their verbosity to half in exchange for more visuals.
Overall, there is potential in some of the ideas with the struggle of art and life, but the story needs to whittle to the essentials. Where this script redeems itself is Bryce’s potential as an author. It could be the driving force to the story and provide Bryce with a tangible goal.