Will They Die

The remains of a rope bridge hang over a canyon. If this were a movie you would see a man and a woman hanging from the frayed ends of the rope. The fall from the heights would be significant and possibly life threatening.

However the real fear doesn’t rise from the potential of bodies broken upon the rocks below because they are actually hanging above a river. The thing is that the river is populated by crocodiles or some other man eating creatures. Cut to gnashing jaws and the sounds of teeth rending flesh.

There would be some kind of exchange of dialogue between the two heroes that would help set the tone. That particular setting allows for all sorts of possibilities. Your hero might be a sarcastic wise cracking man who knows that he will save the day. It might even add to the build up of sexual tension between the two of them.

Or it could be played as more of a straight drama in which the couple are husband and wife. They could be that married couple whose relationship is frayed like that Rope Bridge that they are hanging from. This event could be symbolic of the marriage that is about to collapse from pressure it can no longer handle.

They don’t have to show their faces. White knuckles, sweat dripping from their foreheads and dialogue about missed opportunities and what could have been. And of course you have to add in the heart wrenching words about the children who are about to be orphaned.

Add a flashback to happier times with the kids and a splash of something that shows less happier moments. It is the sort of scene whose success relies more upon the actors and the dialogue than the shot. The goal is to paint a picture inside the mind of the audience.

They can almost hear the screams of the woman as her grip fails and she plummets towards certain death. It is not unlike the feelings of horror that people had watching the jumpers on 9-11. The biggest difference is that even though this is a movie they know these people.

Mothers relate to her because she is living their out their nightmare of dying young. They shiver at the thought of what will happen to their children because they know that no one else will love them as they can.

And the fathers will struggle to stay composed, to be stoic the way society has taught them to. The little boy inside them has pictured being a hero a million times. They’ll sit there and think of a hundred different ways that they could save themselves. It might be a mental picture of being able to use the Force or of Scotty beaming them up.

But the most likely one will be the image of telling her to climb upon their back. They’ll tell her to wrap her arms around their neck and then they will begin the long slow climb up the side of the cliff.

The end of this scene is almost at hand and the question is whether they will play this straight or will there be a twist. If they fall do you let them die and if so what happens then. Do you show them die or do you let the audience imagine it. Do you flash forward 25 years and show their children as young adults. You could do that and tie their adult lives into what happened as a result of the loss of their children.

Or do you go the other direction and let the man and woman live. If you made them into that married couple you have a number of options. Even though they lived their marriage doesn’t have to survive. It doesn’t have to be the Hollywood ending.

Still there are other choices. This could be a dream sequence and even then there are a million directions that you can take it. Imagination is a powerful thing, all you need to do is use it.

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