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THE DRIVER
By Kuhle Sikota

GENRE: Action, Thriller
LOGLINE:

An innocent man who overhears incriminating information about a 40 Billion Rand heist becomes a marked man. On his eccentric journey to stop the man who has put a hit on him, he finds himself in the core of the Taxi wars.

SYNOPSIS:

The city of Cape Town looks glorious but behind the tall buildings are the Taxi wars which are terrorizing society.

MARK WILSON is a System analyst and computer Programmer at SASS (South African Secret Service) in a classified surveillance division which uses advanced systems to analyses video footage from public cameras all over South Africa to catch Heisters or high level thieves.

Act 1:

One night in the parking lot he discovers that VINCE, the Director of SASS is working with the criminals they have been trying to catch. Vince finds out and puts a hit on Mark, his wife and five year old son. While trying to escape, Mark is shot in the arm but manages to drives away. Knowing that Vince has a bug in his car like every other employee, he calls and warns GRACE, his wife about Vince. He tells her to go to her father’s outside the city (In a cryptic message). He manages to convince her that everything will be ok and has a father to son chat with ANDY.

Mark manages to escape the assailants but he has lost a lot of blood. He loses concentration and crashes the car. The car has capsized. Mark struggles to exit the car but kicks through the already smashed windscreen and crawls out with his laptop bag. The car explodes behind him. Shaken, Mark wanders in the now lit up corners of Cape Town and winds up at the taxi rank.

Act 2:

He enters the taxi rank but something strange is happening. People are screaming. Seconds later shots are fired. He tries to duck but ends up slipping and falling. The taxi drivers are fighting. In the chaos, SIZWE DUMA, a taxi driver and MAQ, a guard spot him lying there helpless and offer a way out as everyone in the rank is being shot at. He enters the taxi and they drive away.

In the ambush there is an exchange of bullets and Sizwe is wounded. Mark is asked to take the wheel and evade the rival taxi drivers. Maq is hanging out the window shooting back.

Hours later, they are safe. Mark is directed to Sizwe’s house. In the early hours of the morning, the later dubbed “White Taxi Driver”, is seen driving in the town ship in Sizwe’s taxi headed to his house. Sizwe who is in a critical condition is cared for, but Mark refuses to go to the hospital or the police, and later leaves the house and tries to contact one of his friends only to find out that he has been compromised by Vince.

Mark heads to the police station. In the interrogation room he tells ERIC SMITH, a police officer who is under SHEV POSTER a very powerful police general, that he works for the secret service but no one believes him because apparently a Mark Wilson doesn’t exist. His digital footprint has been erased (by Vince). One of Vince’s men enters the police station in a police uniform and tries to kill Mark. There’s a shootout and Mark escapes in the commotion.

He remembers what he saw earlier on the news, that the Cape Town police General Shev Poster is known to be good friends with the Taxi Association CEO ZAKES MAHLATHI who has just been released on bail following his arrest for possession of over 50 unlicensed fire arms.

Mark walks to the taxi rank and asks to be a taxi driver. He is laughed at and reminded of the taxi wars. After a heated discussion with Mark saying he knows the hurt Sizwe, he is almost beaten but Maq appears and saves him. He is allowed to be a taxi driver albeit with speculations from other taxi drivers. He asks to speak with Zakes but Maq tells him that Zakes has taken a three day vacation.

YOLANDA, a young woman and regular user of taxis is caught up in the attacks and vows to stop using taxis.

Mark, now dubbed “The White Taxi Driver” drives around the city of Cape Town and the occasional trips to the townships where trouble between Taxi drivers and Bus drivers is brewing. Mark is given a revolver by Maq to protect himself.

For two days there are shootouts between the taxi drivers, the police and the rival taxis. There are attacks on the buses, and Yolanda, who travels with her sister on buses, sees Mark during the shootouts. Helicopters fly in and the word is out that a white man has joined the taxi wars.

On the third day men in black suits with big guns appear in a car behind Mark. The taxi stops at an intersection. The two men come out and start shooting at Mark. Everybody screams and Maq starts shooting back. Mark drives through the red light followed by a hail of bullets. He misses a red car and crashes at a pole. The car stops. One assailant gets out, fully armoured and starts shooting at Mark. Mark pulls out the revolver and start shooting too.

Eric and the police arrive at the scene and lend a shooting hand. Yolanda who was ducking inside the red car rises as the shooting halts. She looks behind her… her sister has been shot.

The assailant is shot by Eric and falls on the ground. The other assailant drives away. Mark is seen by Yolanda holding the gun.

Mark leaves the crime scene before Eric gets to him. Saddened, he calls his wife just to hear her voice. A worried Grace calls for him but he does not answer and hangs up the phone. Yolanda is seen buying a gun.

Act 3:

Mark, with his shirt covered in blood finds Zakes and Shev at the taxi rank offices.

He tells Shev that he has evidence and offers the biggest arrest in South Africa, not failing to mention LEU CHANG the tycoon who coordinated the R40 Billion heist in South Africa and his involvement with Vince. Shev buys it and sets up his police S.W.A.T team. They pursue Vince and his men and there’s a shootout at the SASS headquarters in Cape Town.

Cars with tinted windows arrive in a farm in WORCESTER. Grace’s father has a shootout with Vince’s men but does not stand a chance. Grace and Andy are taken hostage. MAGGIE, Eric’s wife is also taken hostage.

Figuring out that he can’t win, Vince calls his back up. With the help of Leu’s men he escapes. Eric and Mark who are at the police station are taken away by policemen who are working for Vince. They are brought to an abandoned warehouse and tortured.

Yolanda who had hired a taxi to follow Mark from the police station arrives outside the warehouse. She shoots the taxi driver dead and exits the taxi.

Vince pulls out a gun and points at Mark and Eric. Yolanda enters and shoots one of Vince’s men. They plead with her to put the gun down. She points at Mark and blames him and the taxi drivers for her sister’s death. Mark sadly tells his story and that it’s Vince’s fault. Eric has the gun pointed at him, she tell him that the police are not doing their job. Eric, with his bruises pleads with her that everybody is a victim of crime, even the police. The gun is pointed at Vince who is condescending blaming Mark and says that on the day of her death Mark was holding a gun. Yolanda shoots Vince.

Mark, wearing a hoodie, goes to the rival taxi rank offices and heads for the rival Boss, BANTWINI LUKWE. He enters the building and then the room, glances at the family pictures on the wall and locks the door. He pulls out his gun and shows a side of him of which we have not seen before. Albeit awakened from the preceding events. Outside the door are many men wielding guns and knives.

In a nail-biting and fear inciting fight scene, Mark realises that Bantwini does not fear death but loves his family. He tells him that he works for the secret service, that he knows and sees everything, and that he knows where Bantwini’s daughter and wife are.

Yolanda confesses to Eric, he hugs her and then arrests her. The SWAT team find the location of Grace. Mark and Eric meet their families. Mark looks at his son and wife and sheds a tear.

Eric’s voice can be heard as he addresses the media, ‘we have suffered great losses. So many lives lost, for what?... Our country is as broken as Yolanda. What I think is… It’s best to hold onto what’s still intact ’.

The end

THE DRIVER

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