Thriller - Development 2008

    • Year of production
    • 2008
    • Genres
    • Thriller
    • Countries
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 1 - 3 M$
    • Writer(s)
    • Richard CRAWFORD
    • Synopsis
    • Trust no-one....
      Summary pitch:
      Northern Ireland, 1991. The height of Northern Ireland’s dirty war. A dedicated detective finds the very foundations of his convictions shaken to the core when his pursuit of an idealistic paramilitary leads him into the dark centre of the undercover war between Special Branch and the IRA. In a whirling maelstrom of lies and death, he struggles to work out just who the enemy really is, to find some way out, some ray of hope… some way to stay alive.
      Story Outline:
      In 1991 a police car is ambushed in the Ulster countryside, and two policemen are killed. The man responsible is FRANCEY, a young Republican volunteer. He’s professional, effective, personable and ruthless. He’s guided and managed by his IRA boss, DARKLEY.
      Investigating the murder is CID man MILLER. He’s a dedicated policeman, hard, uncompromising, with an iron will and a strong sense of right and wrong.
      Miller’s remorseless pursuit of the investigation brings him ever closer to Francey – until he’s quietly advised by Special Branch man BLACK to drop that line of investigation. When he’s officially ordered to drop that line of enquiry, Miller realises that FRANCEY must be a Special Branch agent.
      Disgusted that the Special Branch would acquiesce in the murder of two policemen just to keep an agent in place, Miller disobeys orders and continues to investigate, determined to bring Francey before a court, no matter what the cost.
      The cost, however, could be his own life. Targeted by the IRA, and pursued by his own side he eventually burrows down to the truth: DARKLEY IS THE SPECIAL BRANCH AGENT. And Special Branch are preparing to sacrifice Francey to keep the psychopathic Darkley in place.
      Miller has always refused to compromise his own moral standards - but when an opportunity arises to warn Francey that his life is in danger, the policeman is forced to adjust his moral compass.
      Why are you warning me?
      Let’s get one thing straight: I detest you and I detest everything you stand for. But I detest them more.
      In a fast-moving and violent last act, as each of them is hunted by their own side, the only question becomes – can either of them survive?
      Concept & Style :
      ‘The Dirty War’ is the story of the undercover war in Northern Ireland. The film follows and observes two men of equal dedication but opposing beliefs during a succession of moves and counter-moves in the covert conflict. The key to this will be the dispassionate and unbiased depiction of events: this is a film WHICH WILL NOT TAKE SIDES. The story revolves around two men with nothing in common but an absolute dedication to the morality of their respective cause, and a grudging mutual respect. Holding fast to their standards in the midst of double-cross and betrayal, they finally come face to face in a climactic scene where each must decide what morality really means.
      Although not a didactic work, the film will embody the constant theme of the pointlessness of conflict, as one act of brutality leads to another, greater act of brutality, as violent response is greeted with a more violent response. We believe these themes will engage an international audience observing present day conflicts.
      In order to prevent total empathy with one side of the conflict or another, the film will create an atmosphere of slight detachment, allowing us to view the various dilemmas of the players in an even-handed way. The intention is to put the audience in the shoes of the characters, but without leading them to make a judgement about the historical rights or wrongs of one side or another.This story will be about ordinary people in extraordinary situations, and the various ways they cope with what they feel compelled to do.
      Project History & Creative Elements :
      The idea for the film developed from producer Paul Largan working with Martin Dillon, writer of the celebrated factual novel “The Dirty War” (published 1987). It is important to stress however that this project takes fictional characters and places them in a fictional setting, just as ‘The Battle of Algiers’ successfully did, with it’s social realism. No character in this project would ever be identifiable as a specific individual.
      A first draft screenplay was produced after the writer Richard Crawford attended Moonstone with the project in April 2006. An application to MEDIA PLUS is intended for a deadline of February 2007. Bandigital has already been successful in applying to this development fund for a thriller set in post-war Bosnia, ‘McCarthy’s War’ by the same writer. The NIFTC will support this project once a European coproducing partner is contracted.
      We are currently working with Argentinean director Rodrigo Moreno as Consultant. Since the 1930s, the political culture of Argentina has been afflicted by periodic spasms of covert violence, secrecy and denial. The parallels with Northern Ireland’s conflict in the twentieth can be demonstrated and Rodrigo Moreno's technically impeccable and minimalist-style feature film "El Custodio" (Berlinale 2006 Alfred Bauer Award) impressed us and has inspired us to involve him in the development of ‘The Dirty War’.
      We estimate a budget of €1,800,000. From company bases in Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom, we are seeking Co-production partners from Spain in particular to exploit the current trend towards political thrillers, for example ‘El Lobo’ and ‘GAL’. There may be the opportunity of engaging a Spanish director to helm the production.
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