This is a very dialogue heavy film - so you lose the bigger picture and THE PLOT !
So, I'm pleased to use the STEP-SHEET summary from - TheScreenWritersStore.co.uk and Screentalk magazine.
This work features the 16 BEATS - but not as an HERO'S JOURNEY. It is a set of 4 THROUGHLINES.
HUMAN V HUMAN - Life In Los Angeles
HUMAN V SELF - The hero Jake Gittes
HUMAN V ENVIRONMENT - The Water Investigation
HUMAN V TIME - Emotional Events
These are the professional beats - that Robert Mckee will not tell you about -
IMPULSIONS - It is not a good idea to eat Venetian Blinds ! Curly is very worried and upset about his wife. Gittes's fee is not precious to him. Gittes is confident he can win a case for Mrs. Mulwray.
ACTION - There is a public hearing about a dam. A protest of sheep being driven into the room is an unexpected result.
QUEST - Gittes's immediate need is to watch Mr. Mulwray all day. His great need is to discover an affair. Photographs fail to prove anything.
CHANGE NASTY NOW - It is the investigator's fate to sit in a boat in the harbour. Gittes intercepts by taking photographs.
SUSPICIONS - The photographs are noticed by everyone in the newspaper. Gittes has been dealing with the wrong Mrs. Mulwray. The correct Mrs. Mulwray sues Gittes in his office.
PLANNING - Gittes plots to discover who set him up - with limited success.
WHAT IS HAPPENING - Gittes's logical quest now turns into a highly emotional murder investigation.
NEW CHANGE THREAT - The end of a tramp's secure life turns nasty as Gittes is viciously threatened by a " midget ".
INVESTIGATIONS - Gittes discovers Mrs. Mulwray was having an affair but doesn't want it public knowledge.
UNDERSTAND - Gittes thinks that the water is being dumped into the ocean. However this is denied - but Gittes thinks this is a lie.
IMMEDIATE CHOICE - Mrs. Mulwray chooses to make Gittes's employment official. Noah Cross is open - " Just find the girl ! "
HERO BELIEVES - Gittes believes that he is a - Enemy Of The Water Department. While the famers believe he is a saboteur.
COMMITTED - Gittes and Mrs. Mulwray reason they are married and looking for a home for - Dad ! They obsessively search for landowners.
DESIRES - Gittes has the true-hope to get Mrs. Mulwray into bed. But has the false-hope in finding out who the telephone call was from.
GAIN / LOSS - Escobar helps Gittes to understand that the victim had salt-water in his lungs. Gittes morally takes Escobar to the ocean.
PAST-FUTURE - Gittes returns to Mrs. Mulwray's home. She has a salt-water pool.
Curly will take Mrs. Mulwray out of the country. Noah Cross " did it " for the future.
If you need anymore help - please read my free ebook - THE SIGN OF 4 - that will explain all. And may help you get published.
I am referring to STAR WARS ORGINAL FINAL WHITE SCRIPT.
This story is not an HERO'S JOURNEY. It is a great demonstration of 16 blocks in 4 throughlines.
Obi Wan is only a companion - who turns up in act 3 during the MEETING THE MENTOR block as if it was a HERO'S JOURNEY. Luke's personal thread is an HUMAN V SELF conflict.
The real GUARDIAN is - THE GOOD SIDE OF THE FORCE.
Darth Vader is just a SKEPTIC - not a villain.
If they are villains - they turn out to be Hans Solo and Chewbacca - they were mercenaries after all.
This is a great story is it was perfectly written to DEEP LITERARY THEME THEORY.
I have written a great free eBook - THE SIGN OF 4 that explains all.
I need to add - the 3 act plot structure is NOT what you think it is.
It isn't an act structure at all - but a way to find out how your characters are going to behave. Those HACKEYNED OLD PLOTS are a great example for 3 act structures. When you know just why and how your characters are going to behave - then you reorganise into a REAL 4 act plot using DEEP LITERARY THEMES.
My free work - THE SIGN OF 4 - explains all.
Well if you do not have any structure in a story - then kiss goodbye to any thoughts of being a professional writer. That attitude is for amateurs only, and the film industry will not give you the time of day.
Formulas DO work. The right ones will get you fame ! If work wasn't at all formulaic then it just wouldn't make correct sense to anybody else.
There are 16 beats in any story - HERO'S JOURNEY or not.
For an story is a complete description of human life using 16 blocks of specially described behaviour.
I have written a book about DEEP LITERARY THEME THEORY to explain all this. The free work is called - THE SIGN OF 4.
HEROS JOURNEY is a great structure. But 99% of writers have no real idea what this really means and how it fits to many stories - not just action-adventure.
There are 16 blocks of human behaviour that must be demonstrated in any professional story. A special series of these blocks - all in one straight long line - is exactly what a HERO'S JOURNEY is. 16 blocks = 16 beats.
You are right - you don't need a hero transformation - I do not believe in any character change - that would mean a character steps out of their HERO archetype.
You don't even have to do a HERO'S JOURNEY - but then you'd have to try the 4 THROUGHLINE system instead.
I have written a brilliant free ebook - THE SIGN OF 4 - to explain all this.
Well, all " how to write a book or film " guides are absolute trash. They are all written from the audience-readers point of view.
But you do need to learn DEEP LITERARY THEME THEORY - this can help to generate your 16 beats of a real HEROS JOURNEY.
Literary agents and film professionals read for these special helping concepts.