[Quick Summary: Convict Snake Plissken has 24 hrs. to find and rescue the U.S. President in NYC, which now is essentially a prison island ruled by the Duke.]
What I like about John Carpenter scripts: They are very clear.
For example, Escape is about a man vs. his environment.
It could've been confusing because there are multiple antagonists:
First, Plissken commits a crime, then
--> He is jailed
--> He's offered his freedom if he rescues the President from NYC, a place so treacherous that the police avoid it.
--> He arrives in NYC (p. 41) and ducks and dodges criminals to locate the President*
--> He finally meets the biggest antagonist, the Duke (p. 84)*
I think the script was so clear because it has the unity of a single goal, i.e., no matter how many obstacles, Plissken focuses on finding the President and getting him out.
ex. "PLISSKEN: Mister President...
The man turns around. He is DRUNK. He holds a bottle of awful-looking yellow liquid. He wears the President's coat and the vital signs bracelet. He grins drunkenly.
DRUNK: I'm the President. Sure, I'm the President. I knew when I got this thing I'd be President!
Plissken grabs him.
PLISSKEN: Where'd you get it?
DRUNK: Woke up. There it was. Like a miracle!
Holding his arm, Plissken WHACKS the vital signs bracelet against the wall!"
WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Go ahead and create multiple antagonists!
(As long as you have a unity of goal to keep the story focused, that is.)
Escape from New York (1981)(shooting script, dated 6/10/80)
by John Carpenter and Nick Castle
**I was surprised that Plissken gets to NYC so late, and meets the big Duke even later, but it works here!