The Pickleball Killer
CAT INDEX OVERVIEW
"The Pickeball Killer" Written by Jim Carroll | Reviewed by Anushka Dutta
Genre: Supernatural Action Thriller, Drama
Premise: Popular amongst the Pickleball sports community, Brigg Bishop, the elderly ex-con protagonist of dark, enigmatic origins possesses superhuman speed. A life-changing decision to rescue a group of minors from the clutches of the ruthless Cartel compels him to confront his disturbing past, leading to unlikely friendships and a found family. Can he ultimately save the children from being trafficked?
Scriptwriter Jim Carroll curates an action-packed supernatural thriller with a touch of found family drama in his screenplay, ‘The Pickleball Killer’. Carroll skillfully sets each scene, introduces his prime characters, and uses the technique of flashbacks several times throughout the script to provide us with intriguing backstories. Jam-packed with multiple riveting characters, time frames, and parallel storylines, ‘The Pickleball Killer’ is one of the most exciting scripts you will ever read.
The opening scene sets the grim and disturbing reality of the entire screenplay. Set in an unnamed place, the writer unmasks the vileness of mankind. Set around dumpsters, immoral laboratories with mad scientists conducting sinister experiments, dingy alleyways, gambling dens, and prison cells, the uncanny, ominous atmosphere is lucidly presented to the readers.
Brigg Bishop is no ordinary protagonist. With a dead mother in the dumpster, the miracle child gets rescued by two homeless women. Seventy years later, despite his superhuman ability, he lives with nothing but regrets and a guilty conscience. Having lost his childhood best friend due to an accidental killing, Brigg submits to the clutches of his inherent shame and disgrace, leaving his adoptive mother (Miyako) at death’s door. It is this very shame that he carries with him all his life until one day, in an attempt to satiate his trauma-induced over-the-top sexual desire, he comes across a 13-year-old Amy, sex trafficked from China. The following events give him a newfound purpose in life, leading to his tragic death.
Amy, the co-protagonist, is a luckless special girl in her early teens who, with her sister Cindy, has the misfortune to witness the murder of her own mother. Sold off by their birth father, the only path ahead seems to be to give in to the sexual exploitations of the Cartel and their devious clients. The scriptwriter neatly connects these two storylines, leading to the fateful encounter.
Rescued by a complete stranger, a customer in fact, who goes to extreme lengths to protect her, Amy begins to develop a special affinity with the elderly man and finds a father in him. As the plot progresses, the writer knits together a family not bound by something as obligatory as blood but by sheer will and individual choices. What appeals the most is the unlikely father-daughter dynamic between Brigg and Amy.
Having taken Amy under his care, Brigg is faced with no choice but to confront the trauma of the sexual abuse in his childhood which, over his lifetime, has prevented him from developing any form of genuine emotional and physical interpersonal relationships. Be it in the context of platonic, romantic, or sexual encounters, intimacy inevitably triggers those repressed memories. The narrator provides plenty of instances to corroborate the plagued nature of Brigg’s character.
One tragic backstory after another, we learn of the impending doom in the closely-knit lives surfacing in ‘The Pickleball Killer’. Filled with anticipation, gun action, sex crimes, and psychological torment, the writer incorporates multi-dimensional characters, deep-rooted trauma, interpersonal dynamics, and intertwined stories - all connected by the sport of Pickleball.
Jim Carroll introduces the son of Brigg and Julie (the language teacher) at the ending sequence of ‘The Pickleball Killer’ with the explicit implication that the genetic mutation is carried on. This apparently happy but open-ended and ambiguous ending leaves plenty of opportunities for a sequel.
Script to Film: The concept of ‘The Pickleball Killer’ is not the first of its kind, but the writer has crafted his characters in a memorable and impactful fashion. To successfully execute this action-packed screenplay into a film, the use of computer-generated imagery is imperative. The multi-national, multi-language-speaking characters would call for a diversified and intergenerational cast.
Anushka Dutta is a graduate of English Literature - British and Commonwealth from Calcutta University and a Content Writer by profession. A writer, singer, and artist, they have worked as an ambassador for the Japan Film Festival 2020 in Kolkata, India, organized by the Japan Foundation. They are a professional singer and have done live and playback singing on radio and in films, respectively.