Lens

THE TRAP

CIA AGENT ANNA is a part of an operation in Sofia, Bulgaria. She and three CIA colleagues exchange jokes through bluetooth headsets, very comfortable with each other, obviously having worked together for some time… friends. The team is positioned in different locations outside a bank. Their mission is to kidnap a Bulgarian lawyer ZAHARI who handles all affairs for a conservative Arab Oil Company suspected of financing operations against U.S. Troops. As ANNA and her teammates coordinate, the trap about to be sprung, they’re taken out one by one… KILLED WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE.

Running for her life, ANNA knows she’s next. She cuts down an alley, her escape route, and is shot three times in the chest. Every part of the plan was blown… they were betrayed. ANNA’S eyes shut as the shooters, three masked men, march off. Blackout.

GRIEF

We see the birth of a LITTLE GIRL. ANNA is the mother. The father is one of the Agents who was killed in Sofia; ANNA’S ex-husband. They ‘were’ one big happy family. Everything changes in a flash… memories of grief force themselves upon her. Their daughter has died. A somber funeral.

ANNA wakes up in a hospital bed, she’s been her a while recovering, lost in dreams about her daughter.

We meet BENTON, her handler, the man who trained her. He tells her that the Bulgarian lawyer, ZAHARI, killed her colleagues and that… There’s a leak in the CIA — ZAHARI has a mole.

We learn more about ANNA’S daughter who died several years ago. ANNA keeps a picture of her always and is upset when she can’t find it. BENTON hands it to her, telling her he took it for safe keeping while she was unconscious. She takes it back, thanking BENTON for keeping her little girl safe; a touching moment.

LAST MISSION

ANNA wants to retire from the CIA. She is overwhelmed by the grief of losing her friends, amongst them her ex-husband, who truth be told, she still had feelings for. She also admits that they had talked in Bulgaria and were thinking of giving it another try… but now… that’s impossible. So, not only were her fellow agents killed, but any hope of a new beginning with the man she loved.

More has been taken from her than anybody will ever know and she’s had enough loss to plague her dreams for the rest of her life. She wants out of this life once and for all.

ANNA changes her mind when CIA agents NEWTON and RICHARD present a new mission to her: payback against the Bulgarian lawyer ZAHARI, the architect of her grief. NEWTON and RICHARD are pleased that ANNA wants to take on the mission. They want to play it close to the vest, aware of a possible leak in the CIA, so they only share the operation details with her and BENTON.

ZAHARI

ANNA recovers completely and prepares for her mission with RICHARD and NEWTON, who educate her completely on ZAHARI. He’s the mastermind behind frequent and severe attacks on U.S. Troops around the world. He’s a central hub of intel for terrorist organizations, akin to the U.S. intelligence Czar who coordinates the various country’s intel agencies. Basically, ZAHARI is the maestro of an orchestra comprised of terrorists groups. Proven to be incredibly intelligent, having outsmarted all attempts to be entrapped by the CIA, ZAHARI’S cover is an Arab Oil company.

RICHARD and NEWTON reveal the plan to ANNA. She will go undercover as a specialized prostitute… ZAHARI’S only weakness. According to intelligence obtained by the Mossad, ZAHARI has a fetish for women from the 1800’s time period; their look, their speech, their thinking, but still he likes them to wear leather from head to toe, hardcore S&M. He only indulges himself once a year, his team screens women who can ‘walk, talk, dress & dance’ as woman from the 1800’s. It’s weird, no question, and it’s risky to try to exploit this angle, but it’s the only potential chink in his armor they’ve been able to find.

As ZAHARI keeps his indulgence a secret from his more conservative clients, ANNA’S task would be to get hired as his prostitute. She would then get him into a room, put him to sleep, and takes pictures that would put him under CIA control by threat of exposing him to his conservative clients. And make him reveal his mole within the CIA while help the U.S. take down highly damaging terrorist organizations.

ZAHARI is protected by several highly trained assassins and has a strong intelligence unit that keeps him informed and protected. In other words, ANNA will be in great danger if her cover is blown, a painful death assured.

THE 1800's

ANNA is trained by JOSÉ, a flamboyant expert in the style and fashion of the 1800’s. He’ll teach her how to ‘walk, talk, dress & dance’ as a woman from that period along with schooling her on the leather hardcore S&M world. ANNA and JOSÉ quickly develop a brother/sister like bond, getting along well.

ANNA is screened by ZAHARI’S team several times before she’s hired for the job. They ask her 1800’s history questions, where she’s from, about her family. ANNA has done her homework and plays the part to perfection.

ANNA meets ZAHARI in costume, a final audition before spending the night with him… a ‘first date.’ It’s a very frightening experience. ANNA finds it hard to read ZAHARI, unsure what effect her ruse is having on this powerful man. They’re both in ‘character’ ANNA in her 1800’s persona and ZAHARI playing along.

Before her mission, ANNA spent a lot of time with RICHARD and they became intimate. She opened up and told him about her daughter who died. It’s clear that ANNA has fallen for RICHARD.

ANNA prepares for the set-up. It’s the final meeting between her and the entire CIA team sending her in, RICHARD, NEWTON and BENTON.

She’s to meet ZAHARI in a penthouse of a huge hotel that has been bought out by their people. BENTON asks her to be careful, they’ll be watching, but if things go wrong, the chances of getting to her in time are slim to none. In other words, you’re kind of on your own.

THE MISSION

ANNA arrives at the hotel. She notices EIGHT bodyguards outside the penthouse: guns visible under their blazers, all wearing earpieces… professionals. Inside, she dresses in her 1800’s garb and waits for ZAHARI.

ZAHARI arrives and is extremely gentle and kind to his 1800’s girlfriend. They kiss. ANNA puts something in ZAHARI’S water without him noticing.

They’re play acting: she’s a woman who he’s allowed to stay at his house, a woman from the street, they’re in love, but have never met before. Then ANNA takes off her dress an is now wearing the leather costume, to take over the ‘house’, now she’s playing the bitch. They drink and he slowly collapses, unconscious. ANNA makes sure the bodyguards outside haven’t heard anything. As ANNA gets ready to take the photos, lining up a shot of ZAHARI’S facehis eyes snap open.

He didn’t drink the tainted water after all. ZAHARI was prepared for her! ANNA has been sold out… again!

The EIGHT bodyguards storm the room. ANNA fights them and is somehow able to escape. She’s chased and is forced to run up onto the roof of the hotel. The only way to escape is down, way down, certain death if she attempts to jump. The guards approach and they capture ANNA.

ANNA is held in a hotel room and watched over by ZAHARI’s bodyguards. ZAHARI enters and wonders how far she would have gone? ANNA keeps her mouth shut. ZAHARI knows ANNA is CIA and that she was there to entrap him by taking photos. He compliments the CIA for coming up with this idea, attacking him through his 1800’s fetish. It’s abundantly clear that he was tipped off, knowing far too much.

A nonchalant ZAHARI reveals he did not kill ANNA’S friends in Sofia as he goes through her personal items. ANNA remains silent, but by the look on her face, she wonders what ZAHARI’s talking about. ZAHARI finds the picture ANNA keeps of her daughter.

He tells her that NEWTON killed her friends in Sofia.

He had to because her ex-husband discovered NEWTON owns a secret security company called SNAKEBITE that receives exclusive, and more importantly lucrative, contracts with the U.S. army.

NEWTON wanted to get ZAHARI under his control by taking photos of him. ZAHARI has been causing NEWTON’S operation problems and he’s using his CIA affiliation to solve his personal business problems. In other words, ZAHARI tells ANNA she’s nothing but a puppet.

ZAHARI suggests she get the man who killed her friends by selling him out to him. He gets the information on SNAKEBITE and she gets to take down Newton whose motivations are self-preservation and not the U.S, but most importantly, not expendable CIA agents; in other words… her. It’s a win-win in ZAHRI’S opinion.

ANNA doesn’t know what to believe at this point or what motives are at play. ANNA agrees to help ZAHARI, for now, first and foremost in her mind is survival and getting out of there. ZAHARI explains to ANNA that he gains nothing from killing her. ZAHARI lets ANNA go, feeling it’s important for her to get back quickly so NEWTON doesn’t suspect her of being turned.

ANNA leaves the hotel. She’s utterly confused… who can she really trust?

TRUST?

ANNA meets with RICHARD. She tells him the truth… she failed her mission and was caught. ZAHARI let her go so she can get to NEWTON, who he claims was behind the killing of her friends in Sofia.

RICHARD calms her down. This is exactly what ZAHARI does: ‘plays chess with your head,’ not putting credence into anything he said. RICHARD and ANNA sleep together. She’s exhausted and finds great comfort being in the arms of her lover. Just before she drifts off to sleep, ANNA analyzes the conversation with ZAHARI in her head. What’s true and what isn’t?

In the middle of the night, a team of men wearing masks attack RICHARD and ANNA while they sleep. They drag ANNA away and keep RICHARD in the apartment as he struggles to free himself.

We see ANNA dragged to a van and thrown in back. Hands, mouth, eyes taped up, she believes this is it… she’s going to die. For a moment we go inside ANNA’S head, blind like she is, only able to hear the van driving. The men are clearly professionals, no talking, just business.

The van stops and the doors open. The masked men throw her off a bridge, her body hitting the water hard. Sinking deeper and deeper, ANNA has little chance of surviving bound as she is. She struggles at first, but then becomes peaceful, accepting her fate.

Images of ANNA’S daughter flash before her eyes. Her daughter reaches her hand out to her, but her daughter is older than we’ve seen previously. Suddenly, ANNA is able to cut the tape binding her hands with a sharp rock she finds at the bottom of the lake. Still, chances are slim she can survive. Agonizing silent seconds tick by and then… ANNA’S face pops out of the water. She’s alive, barley, the water freezing.

JOSÉ, the man who helped ANNA train for her 1800’s lessons, opens his door to find a cold and wet ANNA. She collapses into his arms.

ANNA recovers with JOSÉ’S help. They change her look a bit with a wig, makeup and such, so she can go undercover and find out who tried to kill her, who set her up, and who killed her friends. As she gathers her strength, she realizes she needs a hell of a lot of answers.

RICHARD

ANNA goes back to RICHARD’S place, the scene of the crime, and is surprised to find… RICHARD alive and well.

She knows now he set her up to be killed, but instead of anger as her first impulse, she’s heartbroken. That passes quickly, anger next in line, and she storms his apartment and kicks his ass up one wall and down another. We see that she’s been well trained and is able to take RICHARD down, ironically, using moves he taught her. “Why did you give me up!?” RICHARD reveals that after the incident in Sofia, RICHARD and NEWTON thought that she might be ZAHARI’S mole, so they sent her on this mission. If she wasn’t a mole, the CIA might get the incriminating pictures of ZAHARI, if ZAHARI didn’t kill her, they’d know she wasn’t the mole. It was a ‘win-win’ situation for them. ANNA was nothing but a tool. She is pissed!

It’s hard for RICHARD to confess all this, he clearly has feelings for her, but he admits that seducing her initially was in order to gain her trust. After she escaped from ZAHARI unscathed, they were sure she worked for ZAHARI, and that’s why he and NEWTON tried to have her killed by throwing her off the bridge. They were actually going to blame her death on ZAHARI, which would have given them more sway with the CIA and more resources.

ANNA still doesn’t have solid answers to her questions. Meanwhile, RICHARD hit a panic switch when she attacked him and the CIA has arrived. ANNA looks outside the window; a SWAT team has surrounded the building. There’s no way out except the front door of the apartment building.

ANNA takes RICHARD hostage and walks out with a gun to his head. It’s a tense situation as ANNA walks past the SWAT team who are looking for an opening to strike. RICHARD tries to talk her down. Tired of hearing his shit, she shoots the tip of his ear off and tells him to shut his hole. The SWAT team holds back, seeing that ANNA means business.

BENTON, her handler/father figure, is with the SWAT team. He does his best to talk her down along with NEWTON who’s also there now. For a moment, it seems ANNA might drop her gun, influenced by BENTON’S trusting voice. ANNA tells them she isn’t working for ZAHARI. NEWTON suggests she bring ZAHARI in to prove her innocence. NEWTON tells the SWAT team to lower their guns and to let ANNA go, willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. ANNA takes RICHARD hostage and drives away.

Driving the car, RICHARD tries to smooth talk her, telling her he really does have feelings for her. ANNA, however, does not have feelings for him as she punches him in his mangled ear. RICHARD screams as he hits the breaks. ANNA exits, disappearing into the crowded sidewalk.

A PROMISE

ZAHARI is having a nightcap at his mansion as he hangs an old sword he’s just finished cleaning on the wall, a collector’s item that he covets. He turns around to find ANNA in his office. She’s going to kidnap him and bring him to the CIA to prove her innocence, that she’s not the mole. ZAHARI knows that he’s no match for her skills, instead using cunning, revealing….

Her daughter is alive.

Anna doesn’t believe him, telling ZAHARI he’s desperate if that’s all he’s got. He gives her back the picture of her daughter he took earlier along with a picture of an older girl… her daughter! (A heart shaped birthmark on her neck unmistakable.) Anna is beside herself with uncertainty.

ZAHARI tells ANNA that he’ll tell her where to find her if she brings him information on NEWTON and SNAKEBITE. There is a big meeting coming up within the Arab Oil Company, which essentially is a terrorist organization. ZAHARI will need info on SNAKEBITE before the meeting as to secure his power, proving that his information is unparalleled and worth the millions he charges the various terrorist organizations for his services. ANNA has 24 hours to get the information. If she doesn’t, she’ll not only never see her daughter again, he’ll have her killed. The smug look on his face makes ANNA sick, knowing she has no choice.

ZAHARI can’t go after NEWTON himself, if he would, if he could, but it would give NEWTON a direct reason to go to war with ZAHARI which is… bad business.

ANNA breaks into a CIA building on a military base in Kuwait with JOSÉ’S help. Her mission is to get information on SNAKEBITE, but also to see what else she can find. Such as, who took her daughter in the first place? She still has so many unanswered questions. But, she doesn’t have much time to think, she only has 20 hours to get back to ZAHARI and has to work fast.

ANNA uses JOSÉ’S limited access to get onto the base itself. To breach the CIA building, it’s a ‘Mission Impossible’ style [set-piece].’ ANNA finds the information on SNAKEBITE. Her eyes tell us that she has found MUCH MORE than she bargained for. What she found will have to wait, having to make a quick escape, NEWTON alerted to her intrusion into the mainframe and sending guards to stop her.

BENTON is grocery shopping, puts his bags in his car, and drives off. He says to nobody, ‘You can sit up now.’ ANNA appears in the backseat; let’s not forget, he did train her, so he’s good. ANNA lays the barrel of a gun on the top of the seat and tells him to drive to his house. During the drive, she demands to know where her daughter is. Benton spies ANNA in the rearview mirror with worried eyes when he realizes…

She knows.

BENTON explains that they had to take her daughter away. They’d spent millions training her, she was too valuable an asset to have her loyalties divided, she was CIA property. ANNA is upset, Benton knowing she had two miscarriages before giving birth and how much it meant to her to be a mother. BENTON reveals that those two miscarriages weren’t an accident. They thought she’d give up after that. ANNA is furious at the cruelty of her ‘masters.’ They had to fake her daughter’s death so she would remain focused. ANNA asks BENTON about his connection with ZAHARI, about SNAKEBITE. He dummies up, unwilling to talk about that.

Arriving at BENTON’S house, they go inside. Benton’s wife is there and ANNA doesn’t hesitate, attacking her. Grabbing her by her necklace, ANNA twists and starts to strangle her, keeping her gun on BENTON. ANNA figures BENTON’S wife has about sixty seconds until she’s dead, so that’s how much time he has to tell her everything. BENTON talks fast, his wife not having much time, gasping, turning blue. BENTON is the one that fed ZAHARI information about her and the mission in Sofia. He also tipped him to the trap that NEWTON and RICHARD set up regarding the photos.

BENTON is the mole!

ANNA finally releases BENTON’S wife who collapses to her knees. RICHARD and NEWTON’S only blunder was to think ANNA was ZAHARI’S mole. They couldn’t see what was right in front of their eyes… a problem he thinks plagues a lot of young agents… they’re always looking for the most complicated answers when the simple ones are just fine.

SNAKEBITE is not a ‘company’ owned by NEWTON. It’s an U.S. army file that contains important military locations in U.S. war zones. BENTON was unable to get the file. He saw an opportunity in ANNA… that she could get the file for him.

BENTON would get a hefty payment and ZAHARI would get important targets for his terrorist clients, with ANNA essentially doing the dirty work and getting the blame. Win-win for him and ZAHARI. Win-win… ANNA heard this term earlier from RICHARD about screwing her over, and she hears it again here and doesn’t like it… belting BELTON, who joins his wife on the floor. Disgusted by BENTON and his actions, ANNA doesn’t even deem it worthy to waste a bullet on him.

TRAPPED

ANNA is walking through a tunnel and climbs up into her nesting place at JOSÉ’S. Something is off. Before she can react, ANNA feels a gun at the back of her head. She quickly reacts and takes the man holding the gun to the floor only to find another gun pointing at her. Trapped. Lights go on.

ZAHARI’S bodyguards are inside, one of them holding a gun to JOSÉ’S head… her only trusted friend. ANNA doesn’t want to risk JOSÉ’S life and stands down. One of the bodyguards speaks Bulgarian into his cell. Moments later, ZAHARI himself arrives. He knows that she was at BENTON’S house tonight and that she has the SNAKEBITE information.

ANNA tells ZAHARI that she knows she was acquiring targets for his terrorist clients. ZAHARI is proud that he made use of her, that he played her. Again his smugness really rubs ANNA the wrong way. First he saw her as a prostitute, now she’s just another example of his tactical intellect. ZAHARI is different than before, he calls ANNA and her CIA friends’ pigs that need to be erased from the planet. Any charisma ZAHARI might have had with ANNA when he was role-playing with her is gone and she sees the real monster inside the man.

ZAHARI threatens to kill JOSÉ if she doesn’t hand over the information. No choice, ANNA hands it over. ZAHARI kills JOSÉ in front of ANNA anyway and then he shoots her in the leg. ANNA falls screaming to the floor.

ZAHARI tells her he’s going to have her tortured before he kills her. Every little drop of information she has inside her pretty head will be extracted.

SHOWDOWN

At ZAHARI’S mansion ANNA is tied upside down, naked, humiliated. Her thigh is still bleeding from the open wound where ZAHARI shot her. Drops of water run along her forehead; Chinese water torture. A guy in the room is preparing electricity. If she has anything more to reveal to ZAHARI’S people, this is the time when she’ll definitely spill her guts. The guy attaches a couple of cables to ANNA’S toes, the alligator clips digging into her flesh. The switches are flipped, ANNA screams, no happy dreams here.

Outside we can see cars arriving. It’s the meeting of the Arab Oil Company, a terrorist client meeting. Ten bigwigs walk into ZAHARI’S mansion, ZAHARI greeting them all personally.

Meanwhile, in the basement, ANNA is exhausted, nearly unconscious from the electric shocks, blood dripping from her leg. From the corner of her eye ANNA sees the torture guy open a leather pouch with a variety of knives. As he approaches ANNA, she asks the guy to fuck her instead of continuing the torture. The guy is distracted for a split-second and doesn’t notice that ANNA has loosened one of her arms. Grabbing one of the knives from his pouch, she stabs him in the groin. Before the guy can scream, ANNA stabs him in the jaw, twists the blade and makes it stick. ANNA cries after the ordeal, finds a cloth, and ties off her wounded leg. As she comes to her senses, she eyes something on the wall: an 1800’s dress. Naked, ANNA has little choice and dresses in it. She grabs a phone on the table and makes a call to RICHARD.

In the mansion conference room ZAHARI is spilling the beans about the SNAKEBITE info that ANNA got for him. Everybody is impressed and pledges large sums to him for more of the same. In the hallway, ANNA marches onward despite her wounded leg, and takes on three of ZAHARI’S bodyguards. She kills them all, which is a substantial achievement considering her condition and the outfit she’s in. She is in a daze, in her own little world, a world of hate.

In the conference room, everybody is congratulating ZAHARI regarding his coup over SNAKEBITE. It’s then that ANNA comes through the door, having fought her way through the bodyguards. She holds up the sword ZAHARI showed her on her last visit to the mansion. ZAHARI is paralyzed when he sees ANNA dressed in the 1800’s costume. He falls into the role they played when they first met, the costume having this strange pull on him and making their dialogue strangely romantic. The other conference guests slowly make their way off to the side, scared of the fierce woman with the sword. ANNA remains focused, while ZAHARI tries to talk to her as they did in the hotel room on their ‘first-date.’ ANNA stabs him through the chest. A moment of silence as ANNA watches ZAHARI fall to the floor, his soul fading from his eyes, pleasing ANNA immensely.

Through bloody lips, ZAHARI tells her she’ll never see her daughter. ANNA’S response is pushing the blade deeper into his chest and saying, “Maybe so, but you’ll never hurt her.”

DAUGHTER

The conference guests flee, right into the hands of RICHARD, NEWTON and a team of CIA agents who capture them. RICHARD, with his gun at the ready, enters the conference room and finds ZAHARI’S body. ANNA lies half unconscious on the floor, exhausted from her wounds, and finally passes out. RICHARD picks her up, carries her out of the mansion unseen, and into a car, and drives off. RICHARD drops ANNA off at a hospital, a team of doctors rushing to her. RICHARD drives away, knowing that he can’t be around her since she’s still wanted by the CIA who believes she’s the mole. ANNA lies on a gurney on her way to an operating room, eyes closed. She dreams of her daughter, the older version. ANNA dreams about playing with her, a hint of a half-smile on her pale face.

ANNA meets RICHARD and tells him BENTON’S the mole. RICHARD tells her that they’ll get him, there’s no place for him to hide. ANNA laughs, her focus elsewhere, and we realize this is no ordinary meeting place. In the distance ANNA watches her daughter playing in a schoolyard… alive and safe. ANNA knows she can’t say hello to her, knows it would be too dangerous. RICHARD tells ANNA that her daughter has wonderful foster parents and that she’s being brought up well. ANNA cries as RICHARD tells her about her daughter’s life, knowing that she won’t be able to raise her like any mother rightfully should. She’ll be protected, RICHARD swears to it… it’s the least he can do. ANNA is a high priority target, wanted by the CIA, suspected of working for ZAHARI and for breaking into a CIA building. RICHARD tells ANNA that he’ll give her a head-start, for old times sake. ANNA and RICHARD clearly have feelings for each other but know they can never see each other again.

ANNA walks off, giving a final glance over to her laughing daughter playing with friends. ANNA is gone in the wind, on the run.

THE END

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