A Face in the Crowd — Review
An analyst at an intelligence agency is horrified when his subject starts to follow him…
“Paranoia strikes deep. Into your life it will creep.” – Stephen Stills, For What It’s Worth
“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” – Joseph Heller, Catch-22.
There’s plenty to be paranoid about these days, isn’t there? Drones watching us from above, the IRS targeting us, NSA listening to us. But what if you are the NSA? Nothing for you to worry about, right?
Or is there?
In the eerie psycho-sci-fi screenplay A Face in the Crowd, writer Anthony Cawood tells the tale of Derin, a 26-year-old analyst for the NSA who abruptly finds the paranoia tables turned.
As Derin runs a face-recognition program on his PC to analyze photographs of a riot, a man in one of the shots turns and looks out through the computer screen into Derin’s office. A short time later, Derin discovers the man has disappeared from the photo completely.
Time to be paranoid? (Did I mention it’s a still photograph?)
From that moment on, Derin has a series of real-world encounters with the mysterious man. Or at least it seems. A reflection here, a shadowy glimpse there… but are they real? Or just a figment of Derin’s panicked imagination? Or – perhaps – some strange blend of the two? Because, as Aldous Huxley once said, “There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”
Derin is stuck in between… but not for long.
A Face in the Crowd is an enjoyable, chilling read. And – given privacy concerns of the day – quite timely as well.
About the writer: Anthony Cawood is an aspiring screenwriter from the UK with a number of scripts in various stages of production, two of which have just wrapped shooting. His script, A Certain Romance, recently won in the Nashville Film Festival Screenwriting Competition (short script category). You can find out more at http://www.anthonycawood.co.uk
Budget: Moderate. A handful of locations, including a high-tech office, a CCTV monitoring room, a car park, a supermarket, a cafe, and Derin’s home. Five actors with speaking parts, plus lots of extras. Some FX, but nothing unreasonable.
About the reviewer: Scott Merrow co-writes screenplays with his wife Paula. Since 2006, they’ve written over 50 short screenplays, several of which have been produced. They tend toward family-friendly scripts, but they’ve written a little bit of everything: horror, fantasy, sci-fi, comedy… the whole nine yards.
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