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Half Lives: The First Luisa Rey Mystery (1975)

    Luisa 

Luisa Rey

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Rey_Luisa_3680.jpg
"Just trying to understand why we keep making the same mistakes... over and over."
Played By: Halle Berry

"My father braved booby-trapped marshes and the wrath of generals for his journalistic integrity. What kind of daughter would I be if I bailed when things got a little tough?"

A Spyglass columnist who gets herself in trouble when she gets a little too close to a conspiracy that may well end in nuclear winter.


  • Determinator: She never gives up on getting her hands on a copy of Sixsmith's report, as this could save several lives. She claims she would go far for journalistic integrity.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: She became a journalist like her father, Lester Rey, whom she aspires to be like.
  • Intrepid Reporter: She'll stop at nothing to get that report, even if it means risking her life.
  • Race Lift: Almost certainly, given that Luisa receives no remarks about her race in the book despite the Civil Rights Movement having only just ended, and her father was a very well respected journalist and cop to whites, which would have been impossible in his lifetime.
  • What Would Dad Do?: She asks herself this at least once in the film.
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    Isaac 

Isaac Sachs

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Sachs_Isaac_3136.jpg
"Do you ever think that the universe is against you?"
Played By: Tom Hanks

"Fear, belief, love, phenomena that determined the course of our lives. These forces begin long before we are born and continue after we perish."

A nerdy scientist and co-worker of Sixsmith who falls in love with Luisa at first sight, feeling as though he's seen her before.


  • Adorkable: He's very awkward around Luisa, whom he's in love with.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Blonde, adorkable, and ultimately decides to do the right thing.
  • He Knows Too Much: A bomb on the plane he's on is detonated to keep him quiet about the plant failing.
  • Love at First Sight: With Luisa.
    "Proposition: I have fallen in love with Luisa Rey. Is this possible? I just met her, and yet...I feel like something important has happened to me."
  • Nerd Glasses: Wears them as a scientist.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Admits he struggles with this — getting Luisa a copy of the report would save thousands of lives, but at the cost of his job, or worse. He chooses "good," but loses his life for it.

    Smoke 

Bill Smoke

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Smoke_Bill_2933.jpg
Played By: Hugo Weaving

An assassin hired to tie up a few loose ends.


  • Asshole Victim: See Karmic Death.
  • Badass Longcoat: Wears one.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Wears one too.
  • Composite Character: Merged with the other members of Smoke's hitsquad from the book, including his "stupid wetback" line and his death scene at the hands of the Mexican woman.
  • Deadly Euphemism: When he corners Luisa and Joe, he tells them to "enjoy your retirement".
    • Famous Last Words: ...Right before the "fucking wetback" whose dog he shot earlier brains him to death with a heavy pipe cudgel.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: In the book, the beating death is actually suffered by one of Smoke's accomplices; Smoke himself ends up getting killed by Joe in their final confrontation, though not before fatally wounding Joe.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Per Hugo Weaving.
  • The Dragon: To Lloyd Hooks.
  • The Heavy: He may answer to Hooks, but it's Smoke's actions that drive the plot.
  • Hero Killer: Kills Sixsmith and Isaac, with the ladder's death being outright overkill.
  • Implacable Man: He'll stop at nothing to get his target. Especially apparent when chasing Luisa and Joe through the Mexican lady's establishment.
  • Karmic Death: Gets the crap beaten out of him by the Mexican Lady he insulted earlier. Thank you, Mexican Lady!
  • Kick the Dog: Shoots the Mexican woman's dog for no other reason than for annoying him.
  • Leave No Witnesses: He murders Sachs by blowing up the plane and everyone on it.
  • Mad Bomber: He leaves a bomb on board the plane Isaac was on, which not only kills him but also everyone else in the process.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: How he disguises the murder of Rufus Sixsmith.
  • Professional Killer: He is one.
  • Psycho for Hire: A much more restrained version than most, but he's definitely a cold-hearted psychopath - as is borne out by his chapters in the novel.
  • The Stoic: He's always very calm and composed.
    • Not So Stoic: Briefly when he's trying to find Luisa and Joe, he flips out on the Mexican woman.
    Bill Smoke: Shut up. SHUT THE FUCK UP!
  • The Unfettered: Nothing will stop the guy from getting to his target. Nothing.
  • Weapon of Choice: The man loves to use handguns, though he isn't above using other means as well.

    Joe 

Joe Napier

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Joe_Napier_7042.jpg
Played By: Keith David

A bodyguard of Lloyd Hooks's as well as a war buddy of Luisa's father, hence why he saves her from Bill Smoke.


    Hooks 

Lloyd Hooks

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Hooks_Lloyd_5784.JPG
Played By: Hugh Grant

The chief executive of Seaboard Corporation.


  • Big Bad: He's the one pulling strings to ensure Sixsmith's report never goes public.
  • Composite Character: Incorporates scenes and elements from both his novel counterpart and Alberto Grimaldi - the real head of Seaboard in he novel. For example, the film version of Hooks can be seen making a speech that Grimaldi makes in the novel, while masterminding a scheme that Grimaldi himself didn't sign off on.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: A smug, slimy personality? Check. Runs a large corporation? Check. Is masterminding a scheme that is guaranteed to kill innocent people for the sake of profit? Check. Yep. He's pretty much a textbook example.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: His plan to make a profit at the deaths of dozens of people comes to a stop when he's exposed by Luisa and Rufus's niece.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In the book, after getting arrested for his crimes and getting out on Bail, Lloyd Hooks flees the country. In the process, he ends up accidentally destroying Seaboard's attempts at damage control and damning them forever in the eyes of the public.
  • Smug Snake: Even when he's trying to be charming, this trope shines right through his facade.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Alberto Grimaldi - on which this version of Hooks is partially based - is blown up along with Adam Sachs by the bomb placed aboard their airplane. His film counterpart survives.
  • Straw Misogynist: Claims that he doesn't take "the whole Women's Lib thing" seriously.

    Javier 

Javier Gomez

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/JavierGomezCA_626.jpg
Played By: Brody Nicholas Lee

A young neighbour of Luisa Rey's who frequently hops his way onto her balcony.


  • Deadpan Snarker: To Luisa.
  • Genre Savvy: His extensive knowledge of crime mystery clichés helps Luisa figure out the truth. In the film, he eventually submits Luisa's story to Cavendish as a novel manuscript.
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    The Mexican Woman 

The Mexican Woman

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Mexican_Woman_6618.jpg
"And don't call me a fuckin' wetback!"
Played by: Bae Doona

A lookout at a factory where illegal aliens make stuffed toys under sweatshop conditions. Luisa Rey and Joe Napier flee into the building to escape Bill Smoke.



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