• Desolation Angel
  • Drama Scouted Available Unrepped
  • 82.9
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Loglines
Writer Jack Kerouac goes to the isolated Desolation Peak to become a fire lookout and spends months there alone as he confronts the demons of his past and tries to get clean.
In 1956, young Jack Kerouac approaches a professional turning point as a writer as his addiction spirals out of control, so he decides to try to get sober by taking a job as a fire lookout on a remote mountain. In a series of dark visions, ghosts of his childhood and early career confront an isolated Jack as he battles the temptation to use drugs.
In 1956, Beat writer Jack Kerouac attempts to kick his drug habit by spending months alone as a lookout atop Desolation Peak in Washington state. As his withdrawal symptoms appear, so do the many ghosts from his past, taunting him to face memories of struggling to become a successful writer alongside his contemporaries, and from the childhood trauma that's haunted him his whole life.
Format
Genres
Drama, Historical, Biopic, Period, Supernatural, Art, Character Study, Childhood, Dark, Demons, Drugs, Father/Son, Friends/Friendship, Ghost, Illness, LGBTQ, Love, Man vs Nature, Marooned, Psychodrama, Siblings, Survival, Troubled Youth, Writer/Writing
Pages
120
Rated
R
Budget
Medium
Lead
M White 34 Attractive
Similar
The Lighthouse, Wild, The Rum Diaries, One Fast Move or I'm Gone – Kerouac's Big Sur, The Life and Times of Allen Ginsberg, Barfly, Beat, Walk The Line, Kill Your Darlings, Fur, 127 Hours, Into The Wild, Personal Shopper, Total Eclipse, Little Ashes
When
1920s-1950s
Where
100% Various in US/Mexico, including: Northern California, Marin County, Cascade Mountain cabin, Desolation Peak mountaintop, Lowell, Massachusetts, football field, New York city streets, Columbia University campus, Greenwich Village, shoe factory, subway, publishers office, nightclub, highway, winding road, Mexico City, restaurant, bar.

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Synopsis
In 1956, JACK KEROUAC (34) speaks with his friend ALLEN GINSBERG (30) about Jack’s endeavor to work as a forest service lookout at isolated Desolation Peak so that he can finally overcome drug addiction. Left alone on the mountain, Jack reflects on his past.

A YOUNG JACK (4) witnesses the death of his sickly brother GERARD (9), who, upon death, is revered in almost saintly fashion by those around them. As a teen, Jack is recruited to a football team at Boston College, but Jack rejects the recruitment and decides to attend Columbia so that he can fulfill his dream of being a writer, despite his father’s stern disapproval. There, Jack meets a YOUNG GINSBERG (16), a nerdy artistic local. Despite their differences, the two of them strike up a friendship, and Jack often comes to Ginsberg’s defense as he is targeted for bullying by the local jocks. Jack admits that he has a complex relationship with his long-dead brother, whom Jack almost feared. In the present, Jack is shocked to find an unused morphine injectable that tempts him. With it come visions and sounds from his past that haunt in him interludes.

Jack continues to play football. He is injured and...
Reader 1 Comments
OVERALL (RECOMMEND)
In “Desolation Angel,” Beat writer Jack Kerouac journeys to the mountain Desolation Peaks for a few months to serve as a fire lookout, and attempts to overcome his drug addictions. While there, he recalls his past, his friendship with Allen Ginsberg, and his struggles to get published. This revision does not make any significant structural or character changes, but primarily makes tweaks to the dialogue and to the writing to clarify a few points. It maintains the strong character work and dialogue of previous drafts, capturing the dynamic persona of Kerouac and his writerly voice. The pacing and tone are consistent, and this revision does give a bit more clarity to Jack’s internal conflict and how he feels haunted and taunted by the specter of his brother Gerard. Overall, while there could still be a little more time spent in the present, at Desolation Peak, over the flashbacks, this remains a strong and moving biopic. This draft has undergone revisions and, with some fine-tuning, some of its character work and pacing will soon reach its optimal form....
Reader 2 Comments
OVERALL (RECOMMEND)
This supernaturally influenced biopic of Jack Kerouac, centering on his solo efforts to get sober atop a remote mountain, remains consistent in its strengths. Strong dialogue captures the familiar, legendary voices of these historical figures while still managing convincing exchanges that demonstrate their outlooks, friendships, and goals. Tone blends the ghosts of Kerouac’s past with his internal struggles towards sobriety well. A variety of conflicts, aside from his major internal conflict, explore his place in a changing culture and his sometimes hard-to-define relationship with mentor and friend Ginsberg. Though Kerouac’s life is shaped by trials, the transient conflicts underline well-known situations with foregone conclusions, as is often the case with such a famous subject. Still, the material narrows the wide “biopic” approach to an internal endeavor that offers a satisfying but realistic victory by the end, avoiding a “greatest hits” feel. Overall, the material is ready for recommendation and likely wouldn’t need any drastic changes unless it were to insist on an even more niche, unlikely approach that would downplay its still mostly classic take, and make it stand out even more....
Reader 3 Comments
OVERALL (RECOMMEND)
“Desolation Angel,” a period drama about Beat writer Jack Kerouac’s attempt to battle his addiction atop Desolation Peak in 1956, demonstrates the efforts of its many revisions. With additional clarity regarding the character’s most persistently confusing elements, it’s now easier to appreciate his motivation and understand the finale. Details that give the climax more of a tonally appropriate resolution, and added dialogue that allows the character to address some of the more compelling, but unsaid, aspects of his most important relationship also benefit the narrative overall. Elements that have always been strong, like structure, pacing, and dialogue, remain so, and continue to hold up a story that now feels more complete and satisfying. Before this draft can move on, however, craft errors that have persisted throughout its many revisions really should be addressed once and for all....