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When the vietnam veteran who saved his life is unjustly incarcerated for murder, a young man becomes a lawyer to fight for his freedom.

In 1970’s Chicago, a troubled young man struggles through law school and fights to free the unjustly incarcerated Vietnam veteran who saved his life.

A white law-student and a black vietnam vet form a barrier-breaking friendship in 1970s’ America - until the vet is jailed for a murder he didn’t commit and his young buddy dedicates his life and career to proving his innocence.
 
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Perhaps this explains it better --

During the Vietnam war, after a squads' retreat from the jungle, one soldier returns into the jungle and rescues his closest friend from captivity. Several years later the saviour is accused of murder. His comrade-turned-lawyer then contemplates whether to represent the man who saved his life.

:thumbsup: OK, now that seems to have more "meat" to it. It probably doesn't need to go in the logline, but I'd want to see a really good explanation for why this one soldier went back into the jungle and not the whole squad - that break with normal military comradeship will/should underpin the dilemma faced later by the lawyer.

It still seems to me, though, that the real story is not the Vietnam chapter of the two characters' lives, but whatever circumstances are pushing them apart "several years later". Something significant has obviously happened for the lawyer to feel either that he doesn't really owe a debt to the other guy, or that the cost of paying that debt is too high. I know you've previously said that they were leading parallel lives that converged at one point and created a bond, but there must have been a serious divergence subsequently if the "troubled lawyer" isn't happy about taking on the case.

You've said that the accused is being tried for murder; would it be easier to for the lawyer to have moral or political or emotional objections to defending his friend if it was a more "subtle" crime like rape? Alternatively, could it be that the lawyer has (willingly or accidentally) moved into social circles dominated by barely-disguised white-supremacist colleagues, and he risks losing his job/wife/whatever by defending a black man? I think that is the key point you need to make in the logline: something with more punch than saying he "contemplates" defending his friend.
 
An after thought: you mentioned before about writing two screenplays. I can see this working as a two-part story -
Part 1: the Vietnam chapter, specifically the black guy's decision to go back alone (and why the other soldiers didn't) ending with the forging of the bond.
Part 2: several years later, the two guys have drifted apart, the bond has weakened, and suddenly the accusation of the one puts the other in a difficult position, specifically because of where they've ended up.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
I do like the flash forward. I'm pretty sure I pictured it that way already. One being an established layer, and getting the call to help. Or maybe he reads about the case. Oh oh hold on...

What if the stakes were higher and he is up for execution. Just an idea.

I get a clear picture now. Good work.
 
:thumbsup: OK, now that seems to have more "meat" to it. It probably doesn't need to go in the logline, but I'd want to see a really good explanation for why this one soldier went back into the jungle and not the whole squad - that break with normal military comradeship will/should underpin the dilemma faced later by the lawyer.

It still seems to me, though, that the real story is not the Vietnam chapter of the two characters' lives, but whatever circumstances are pushing them apart "several years later". Something significant has obviously happened for the lawyer to feel either that he doesn't really owe a debt to the other guy, or that the cost of paying that debt is too high. I know you've previously said that they were leading parallel lives that converged at one point and created a bond, but there must have been a serious divergence subsequently if the "troubled lawyer" isn't happy about taking on the case.

You've said that the accused is being tried for murder; would it be easier to for the lawyer to have moral or political or emotional objections to defending his friend if it was a more "subtle" crime like rape? Alternatively, could it be that the lawyer has (willingly or accidentally) moved into social circles dominated by barely-disguised white-supremacist colleagues, and he risks losing his job/wife/whatever by defending a black man? I think that is the key point you need to make in the logline: something with more punch than saying he "contemplates" defending his friend.
Just need to shorten this... A lot -

During the Vietnam war, after a squads' retreat from the jungle, one soldier returns into the jungle to rescue his closest friend from captivity. Several years later the saviour is accused of murder. His comrade-turned-lawyer has since drifted away and now shares the same racist views as his colleagues, he contemplates whether to represent the (black) man who saved his life. (with the risk of his career)
 
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