• The Cascade
  • Black List Set Up 2014
  • 83.6
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Market December 15, 2014    Sold December 15, 2014
Executive Kira Goldberg
Producer Ridley Scott, Steven Zaillian, Garrett Basch, Elishia Holmes
Actor Michael Schaefer, Cate Blanchett
Agent Ryan Feldman, Stuart Manashil (WME)
Studio Fox
Production Film Rites, Scott Free
Based on the documentary style film “The Day Britain Stopped” directed by Gabriel Range, an oil tanker collides with an Iranian patrol boat in the Strait of Hormuz, triggering a chain of tragic disastrous events.
An American commercial ship captain is framed as a terrorist by the government after her ship causes an oil spill in the Strait of Hormuz. She then must prevent a declaration of war on Iran while trying to prove her innocence.
A ship accident in the Strait of Hormuz unleashes a worldwide petroleum crisis, leading the US to the brink of war, while the captain of the American supertanker that was hit must convince her own government that she is not an Iranian spy.
A supertanker captain must evade capture and plead her innocence after the U.S. frames her ship's accidental crash as an act of war by Iran, labeling her a terrorist.
Action, Drama, Thriller, Adaptation, Political, War, Accident, Affair, Agent, Boat/Ship, Conspiracy, Dark, Disaster, Economy, Escape, Farce, Female, Female Protagonist, Film, Foreign Locale, Hostage, Husband/Wife, Investigation, Journey, Love, Military, Philosophical, Prison, Rescue, Sea, Secrets, Social Commentary, Soldier, Terrorist, Tragedy, Travel, Violence/Violent
Ultra High
F Unspecified 39 Attractive
Children of Men, World War Z, The Butterfly Effect, Babel, Contagion
Near future/Two weeks
UAE, various military bases, Cleveland, Chicago, Pennsylvania, rural house, steakhouse, underground bunker, gas station, Chunnel, London, Scotland Yard, apartment, US Embassy in London/UAE, supertanker, wooden boat, ocean/Strait of Hormuz, Oman, Palace of Nations in Geneva, holding cells, interrogation rooms, submarine.

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A fire breaks out on the USS Samson, an enormous supertanker in the Strait of Hormuz after an Iranian patrol ship mistakenly crashes into it in the dense fog. The strait is blocked as a result, and the world’s oil cannot leave for export, beginning a descent into global chaos.

VERA AIKEN (39), the captain of the Samson, is taken to be investigated in an air base. She watches news coverage of the crash and the markets in shock, when JOEL (34), a military contractor, states that her rights have been suspended.

Meanwhile, Vera’s husband, ROBERT (44), watches the news from a contraction site he is supervising in Beijing. He speaks on the phone with TERRY (43), head of Private Contract Management for the Defense Department, and asks if Vera was on board the Samson. He says she wasn’t, with the news showing another captain, JIM CONNOLLY (38), supposedly captaining the ship at the time of the crash, and Robert goes underground to supervise the site.

Vera explains the moments leading up to the crash. Jim’s wife just had a baby, so she volunteered to take over for him on the Samson secretly. Joel asks her about a woman named Ashi, as there...
Reader 1 Comments
“The Cascade” follows a ship captain tasked with clearing her name and preventing a war against the backdrop of a financially devastated globe. The characters are rich and unique, coming together from different walks of life. The external conflict is also strong and fits the genre well. Internal conflict, on the other hand, is a bit lacking. Another issue is the death of the main ally and attractor. Though it is fresh for the genre, it leads to a bit of an emotional let down as much time is spent building a relationship between him and the protagonist, and that relationship is ultimately abandoned.   ...
Reader 2 Comments
A ship accident leads to global chaos when the United States pins it on subterfuge, accusing the American captain at the helm of the damaged supertanker of working as an Iranian agent. The captain is kept in custody by a disenchanted ex-Navy SEAL, contracted by the US government to determine whether she's telling the truth or covering up a conspiracy. An exciting thriller with multiple twists and turns that highlights our widespread reliance on petroleum, interwoven with an endearing subplot of an estranged married couple (the captain and her husband) falling back in love with each other. Competing protagonism between the captain and her interrogator initially causes some confusion, diluting her agency and revealing her innocence early on, with a missed opportunity heighten suspense....
Reader 3 Comments
“The Cascade” serves as a prescient cautionary tale of the often unforeseen dangers of economic globalization, but does so under the guise of an action movie archetype, creating an overall affect that is exciting in the more conventional sense of the genre, but also more nuanced in its characterization of geopolitics and the implications of singular events in their “cascading” ramifications for people around the world. While a weak link is present in Vera’s own unclear internal conflict and growth, her relationship to Joel and Robert informs an excitingly fast-paced but simultaneously emotionally weighty arc that creates real empathy despite fanatically huge stakes. This relationship and their face off against the US government also informs a darker take on an action narrative, where logical complexity, dynamic dialogue, and a strong, though-provoking central theme complicate the more stereotypical archetype of an action movie. While this sort of tone is not particularly new, its application to its specific themes are unique in their execution throughout the story, and so while “The Cascade” delivers on its action beats, it also asks some interesting questions of its audience....