Monday, March 9, 2015
# 1 ANGKOR
1 EXT. PHNOM PENH RUBBISH DUMP. DAY
Tip-trucks unload rubbish at a huge dump.
SCAVENGERS - men, women and children - use lengths of wire with hooked ends to extract what can be recycled and sold.
The air is thick with smoke; the work conditions hellish.
A YOUNG GIRL, 8 or 9, climbs a mound of rubbish with her hooked wire in one hand and a plastic sack in the other - into which she places plastic bags and other plastic items she finds. The process requires her to empty the bags first - of mouldy rice, rotten fruit, sanitary napkins etc.
One plastic bag resists her attempt to lift it with her hooked wire. She lifts the bag with her hands, upends it. Out falls the severed head of a Caucasian man - his eyes open in terror, his ears have been sliced off and his mouth taped shut with gaffer tape.
NICK MORECOMBE, mid 30s, with a two day growth of beard and longish tousled hair, journalists note-book in hand, kneels by BALIN MEAS - a uniformed Cambodian policeman, mid 50s - looking at the severed head resting in amongst the rubbish.
Any idea...(who he is?)
BALIN MEAS shakes his head, positions his mobile phone to take a photo of the head. NICK’S attention is caught by:
A motor bike pulling up at the base of the hill of rubbish. PATRICE gets off the back, hands money to the DRIVER.
A LITTLE LATER
PATRICE, early 30s, shoulder length hair in a pony tail, camera slung around her neck, walks up the side of the hill of rubbish, joins NICK and BALIN MEAS.
They've found another girl...Meas and I were on our way...
PATRICE sees the severed head, grimaces; greets BALIN MEAS.
BALIN MEAS speaks with just a hint of American accent.
BALIN MEAS (smiles)
BALIN MEAS puts his mobile phone in his pocket, starts to remove the gaffer tape from the mouth of the severed head.
PATRICE takes photos.
BALIN MEAS finishes peeling the tape from the lips. There is something in the head’s mouth. He tries to prize the mouth open but rigor mortis has set in. He succeeds.
NICK and PATRICE react with shock. PATRICE vomits.
2 INT. POLICE CAR. DAY
NICK sits in front seat of a police car, a plastic bag resting on his lap with the head in it. BALIN MEAS drives.
NICK turns to PATRICE in the back seat. She shakes her head, sighs. She can’t believe it. NICK can’t believe it either.
3 EXT. SLUM. DAY
Balin Meas’ police car pulls up in a back street of an impoverished 3rd world slum.
NICK and PATRICE get out of the car and make their way, with BALIN MEAS, to where a small crowd of SLUM DWELLERS has gathered around the close-to-naked body of a pre-pubescent girl lying in a drainage ditch.
SLUM DWELLERS take photos of the dead girl with mobile phones. A POLICEMAN, closeby, greets BALIN MEAS in Khmer.
BALIN MEAS replies in Khmer. PATRICE takes out her camera.
BALIN MEAS (subtitled)
A sarong. A sheet. Anything...
He gently pushes the crowd back, gestures to those taking photos to stop as NICK takes notes and PATRICE photos.
The POLICEMAN hands a sarong to BALIN MEAS. He covers the body of the young girl.
4 INT. MORGUE. DAY
The severed head, mouth open, rests on a metal tray, beside a shriveled penis. In the background a DOCTOR,(soft focus) peers between her legs of the dead girl.
PATRICE, camera in hand, stalks the room in search of angles.
The DOCTOR completes his examination, looks at BALIN MEAS; nods.
A loud anguished scream. A KHMER MAN, early 30s, attempts to force his way into the room; restrained by MORGUE STAFF.
BALIN MEAS indicates to the MORGUE STAFF to let him in.
The KHMER MAN stares at the figure covered in the white sheet. Frozen.
PATRICE continues to take photos.
The KHMER MAN moves slowly forward, stands alongside the shroud. He both wants and doesn't want the DOCTOR to lift the sheet. The DOCTOR looks to BALIN MEAS. He indicates to the DOCTOR to lift the sheet. The DOCTOR does so.
The KHMER MAN stares at the face of his daughter - his shock giving way to profound grief. He begins to shake, to tremble. Tears run down his cheek.
He reaches out to touch his daughter’s face; shakes his head, refusing to believe what he can see with his eyes.
KHMER MAN (subtitled)
No, no, that is not my daughter. No, no, no...
BALIN MEAS walks up, wraps his arms around the KHMER MAN, holds him; indicates to the DOCTOR to cover the girl's face.
PATRICE continues to take photos. NICK watches her.
5 INT. NICK’S APARTMENT. DAY
NICK sits writing on his laptop computer, resting on a cluttered desk.
Alongside him is a newspaper with a banner headline:
MYSTERY SURROUNDS NGO DEATH Suicide or Murder?
The partly decomposed body of Human Rights lawyer Daniel Overland has led to speculation...
In front of NICK there is a large notice board cluttered with press clippings, photos of people (connected by different coloured threads), notes and other evidence of his multiple journalistic investigations. In the middle: a dart board with darts stuck in it.
Nick’s apartment is creatively chaotic. Books, magazines and folders cover every available surface - along with the polystyrene remnants of late-night take away meals.
NICK’S fingers dance across the keyboard. PATRICE appears behind him, clutching photos. She leans forward, rests her chin on NICK’S shoulder, looks at what he is writing:
The headline of Nick’s article is:
PRIME MINISTER’S SON INVOLVED IN ILLEGAL LOGGING
PATRICE shakes her head, pulls up a chair, sits beside NICK, hands him photos.
- The severed head with the penis alongside it. In the background, soft focus, the doctor peers between the young girls legs.
- The girl’s father struggling with morgue staff, Balin Meas in soft focus in the foreground.
- The father, grief-stricken, reaching out to touch the face of his daughter.
NICK is visibly moved by the photos.
PATRICE nods, tears in her eyes. NICK hugs her. There is a knock on the door. NICK stands, moves towards it.
NICK opens the door. There is no-one there. On the ground rests a brown manila envelope. NICK runs towards the street.
6. EXT. STREET. DAY
NICK races into the street, sees a MAN IN A FULL FACE BLACK HELMET getting onto his motor bike.
NICK runs towards the figure, who turns, looks at NICK for a moment before driving off at high speed.
PATRICE appears behind NICK, brown manila envelope in hand.
NICK opens the envelope, takes out 5 crisp new US$100 notes.
PATRICE shakes her head. NICK thinks for a long moment.
7 EXT. BANK. PHNOM PENH. DAY
NICK walks out of a bank with a fist full of $20 bills, walks up to PATRICE, waiting, hands her half the bills. She shakes her head and laughs.
8 EXT. CITY STREETS. PHNOM PENH. DAY
A montage: NICK hands $20 bills to beggars, blind people, cripples, poor street families - the poor, powerless and neglected that roam Phnom Penh streets.
9 INT/EXT. PHNOM PENH MARKETS. DAY
Montage continues: NICK and PATRICE buy vegetables and fruit in a local market, walk out with box loads.
10 EXT. DUMP COMMUNITY. DAY
Montage continues: Nick’s battered old yellow, mud-bespattered 4WD drives into a small community adjacent to the dump: houses made from scrap metal, plastic, cardboard, wood. It doesn’t get much more 3rd world than this!
NICK and PATRICE get out of the yellow 4WD, distribute food to the MEN, WOMEN and CHILDREN of this community. They clearly know NICK. An OLD WRINKLED WOMAN hugs him.
11 INT. NICK’S APARTMENT. EVENING
NICK, in sarong and t-shirt, sits at his laptop, typing fast; occasionally stopping for a moment to refer to his note-book.
12 INT. BATHROOM. NIGHT
PATRICE steps out of the shower, wraps a sarong around her wet body, contemplates her reflected face in a mirror. She drains the rest of a glass of wine, smiles to herself.
13 INT. NICK’S APARTMENT. LIVING ROOM. EVENING
NICK types fast. PATRICE walks into the room - her sarong clinging to her wet body.
Have you ever noticed how much better you look in the mirror after a couple of glasses of wine?
NICK holds up his hand. He does not want to be disturbed. PATRICE walks up behind him, places her chin on his shoulder, looks at the computer screen.
He turns, kisses PATRICE on the cheek.
You always look gorgeous to me, no matter how many glasses of wine I’ve had.
PATRICE smiles. NICK turns back to his writing. PATRICE reads aloud from the screen.
“The Prime Minister’s son is a criminal. He should be in jail. It’s as simple as that.” Why don’t you say what you really mean? (A BEAT) You want me to check it.
NICK presses SEND, swivels his chair around, wraps his arms around PATRICE’S waist.
I need to research your theory.
Looking better after a couple of glasses of wine.
I’ll help you.
NICK smiles, stands, moves to the kitchen area. PATRICE slides into his chair, starts to read his article.
NICK pours two glasses of wine, walks with them back to where PATRICE reads from the computer screen.
You sure you want to publish this!?
Fuck the Prime Minister.
PATRICE laughs, spins around to face NICK.
Me first though, OK.
OK, you first.
Before or after dinner?
Before and after?
PATRICE laughs, undoes NICK’S sarong. It drops to the ground.
She takes NICK’S cock into her mouth.
14. NICK’S BEDROOM. NIGHT
NICK and PATRICE lie naked in each others arms - hot and sweaty; in post-coital exhaustion. They are contented, drowsy. The sound of a mobile phone intrudes.
NICK nods. The mobile rings out but commences again almost immediately. PATRICE reaches out, picks up Nick’s red mobile phone, presses ‘accept’.
Nick said to tell you he’s not here.
NICK laughs, grabs the phone from PATRICE.
He’s here! My secretary is...
The smile disappears from NICK’S face. He speaks in Khmer.
He glances at PATRICE, indicates that he needs to have this conversation in private, walks out of the room naked.
PATRICE, not happy with this turn of events, walks to the door, looks out into the Living Room:
NICK, seen from behind, nods as he listens on his phone.
15 INT. NICK’S APARTMENT. LIVING ROOM. EVENING
PATRICE walks towards NICK, picks her sarong up from the floor, wraps it around herself.
What is it?
NICK shakes his head.
Liar. (A BEAT) You can tell me. I...
NICK holds his hand up.
She mimics his dismissive gesture.
OK, but...can you tell me if...whatever it is...is dangerous?
A little bit dangerous.
A little bit!?
PATRICE wraps her arms around him.
If I asked you not to go, would you?
Would you ask me that? (A BEAT) Are you asking me that?
No, but if I did...?
NICK breaks away.
I have to make a phone call.
NICK stands for a moment, hoping PATRICE might leave the room. She doesn’t. He walks to the sliding glass door that opens onto a small patch of garden.
PATRICE, worried, watches as he slides the door closed, lifts his mobile phone.
16 EXT. GARDEN. NICK’S APARTMENT. NIGHT
NICK looks at his mobile phone - caught between wanting and not wanting to make a phone call. His mobile is encased in a a red metallic frame that holds in place a waterproof case.
17 INT. CASINO. PRIVATE ROOM. NIGHT
STAIR (ALISTAIR) MORECOMBE, 40ish, sits in front of a roulette wheel. Others at the table have placed their bets. They are waiting for STAIR to place his.
Stair’s mobile phone, resting on the table beside him, rings. He ignores it, pushes a pile of chips onto the number 13.
The roulette wheel spins. And spins. And spins. And stops.
STAIR accepts his loss with feigned stoicism; a seemingly nonchalant smile and a shrug of his shoulders. His mobile rings again. He looks at the LCD screen:
STAIR places the mobile by his ear.
STAIR is shocked. He hesitates.
STAIR stands, walks towards the door.
18 EXT. GARDEN. NICK’S APARTMENT. NIGHT
NICK, mobile at his ear, waits for long moment.
Are you still there?
19 INT. FOYER OF CASINO. NIGHT
A long silence.
How are you?
And Tilda? And The girls?
Why are you calling me?
20 EXT. GARDEN. NICK’S APARTMENT. NIGHT
NICK’S breathing is heavy. He pauses before replying.
You remember the name of our dog? The one that ran away?
NICK waits for a response. It is a long wait.
21 INT. FOYER OF CASINO. NIGHT
STAIR, mobile to his ear, stands frozen; his face set hard.
I’m hanging up.
22 INT. NICK’S APARTMENT. LIVING ROOM. EVENING
PATRICE looks out, through the sliding glass door, to where NICK stands in the garden, mobile held to his ear. He lowers the phone, shoulders slumped - defeated, emotionally drained.
PATRICE moves towards the glass door and is about to open it when NICK turns, registers her intentions; shakes his head.
PATRICE asks ‘why’ with her eyes. NICK stares back at her.
They look at each other through the glass for a long moment.
23 INT. NICK’S 4WD. NIGHT
NICK drives. Rice paddies glisten silver under a full moon. He flips through his CD collection, chooses one with “FAVOURITES” written on it in text pen, slips it into his laptop - open on the seat beside him. The laptop is connected to two small speakers.
24 INT. NICK’S BEDROOM. NIGHT
PATRICE lies on the bed, stares at the ceiling; worried.
25 INT. NICK’S 4WD. RICE PADDIES. SUNRISE
NICK drives as the sun rises over rice paddies. He has his red mobile phone held to his ear. Stevie Wonder’s ‘I just called to say I love you’ plays on the CD deck.
26 INT. NICK’S BEDROOM. MORNING
PATRICE, lying in bed, half asleep still, smiles.
No, sound asleep...having a very odd dream in which this strange man calls me...
NICK turns up the music volume, holds his mobile close. Stevie Wonder sings:
“I just called to say I love you.”
27 INT. NICK’S 4WD. RICE PADDIES. SUNRISE
NICK holds his red mobile to the speaker; smiles.
“And I mean it from the bottom of my heart.”
He turns the volume down, lifts the mobile back to his ear.
Please be careful.
28 INT. NICK’S BEDROOM. MORNING
PATRICE nods, mouths ‘love you’ to herself.
29 EXT. NICK’S APARTMENT. GARDEN. DAY
PATRICE, her hair cropped short, a glass of wine in her hands, looks directly into the camera.
I should have said it out loud.
KATIE (VOICE OFF)
Why didn’t you?
I don’t know. I wanted to tell him how much...but...I didn’t. You think, ‘Mañana! Tomorrow will do and...tomorrow comes and...
KATIE, mid 20’s, sits alongside a video camera on a tripod, a note-book and pen in her hands. On the flip-out screen: a close shot of Patrice.
Tomorrow comes and?
Your whole world is turned upside down. A cliche, but..(A BEAT) but...
The brown envelope!? Who...?
PATRICE shrugs, shakes her head.
Someone who didn’t want Nick to expose them. He didn’t tell me who. (A BEAT) He used to joke he could make much more money not writing investigative pieces than writing them. One time...
PATRICE pauses. KATIE waits for her to continue. She Doesn’t. PATRICE, lost in her memories, sips her wine, sings softly to herself.
“I just called...”
30 INT. 4WD. COUNTRY ROAD. DAY
PATRICE, in the passenger seat of her 4WD, a professional stills camera in her lap, sees NICK up ahead, standing by his mud be-spattered yellow 4WD. Stevie Wonder’s “I Just called to Say I Love You” plays on the CD deck.
NICK, a large dirty plastic container in one hand, beckons PATRICE to stop. She gestures the DRIVER to do so.
31 EXT. COUNTRY ROAD. DAY
NICK, unshaven, longish hair unbrushed, badly dressed, walks around to the passenger side as PATRICE winds down the window. NICK grins stupidly, bangs his head.
Out of gas. Can you...
Sure, hop in.
32 INT. 4WD. DAY
As Stevie Wonder sings, NICK, in the back seat, leans forward, close to PATRICE as they head down the road.
Not to put too fine a point on it, I’m a fucking moron. The gauge on ‘the Yellow Peril’ - my aged mode of vehicular transport - is broken and...well, I can never be sure how much petrol’s in the tank so, having been stranded more times than I care to remember I...
NICK indicates the plastic container.
But, I forgot to fill it...you know...and...here I am...
A fucking moron...
Or imbecile. Whichever is worse.
Cretin is worse than both moron and imbecile.
OK, cretin. I’m Nick, by the way.
Nick the cretin.
Nick the cretin.
Delighted to be rescued by you, Patrice. (A BEAT) I love this song. (HE SINGS ALONG WITH STEVIE WONDER) “I just called to say I love you.”
PATRICE smiles. NICK hams it up as he delivers the next line directly to PATRICE.
“And I mean it from the bottom of my heart.”
A cretin, a moron and an imbecile.
Patrice, I have a feeling that you may well be the most gorgeous woman I have ever met.
I am the most gorgeous woman you have ever met!
PATRICE turns to NICK, smiles. He smiles back. A big smile.
33 EXT. NICK’S APARTMENT. GARDEN. DAY
PATRICE, tears in her eyes, holds her glass of wine up for the camera (’cheers’) smiles, takes a sip.
Strange how a smile, just one smile, can...turn your whole world upside down...another fucking cliche.
34 EXT. RURAL CAMBODIA. DAY
PATRICE (voice over)
Sorry. You’ll cut that, right?
You had no idea where he was going?
No idea. He played his cards....
Nick’s yellow 4WD drive moves slowly along a brown dirt road intersecting a vast quilt of green rice paddies.
35 EXT. MAKESHIFT BAMBOO HOUSE. RURAL CAMBODIA. DAY
BUN, a wrinkled, leather-skinned old woman, pours food slops from a bucket into a feeding trough.
Pigs jostle with chickens and ducks to get more than their fair share of the slops as BUN looks down the road, across a road, to where Nick’s yellow 4WD approaches.
36 EXT. MAKESHIFT BAMBOO HOUSE. RURAL CAMBODIA. DAY
BUN climbs the final steps to the doorway into her bamboo shack, turns, looks across a rice paddy to where:
Nick’s yellow 4WD has stopped on the road - 100 meters away.
BUN focuses her eyes on the 4WD; a look of puzzlement creasing her wrinkled brow.
37 INT. SQUASH COURT. DAY
STAIR, his face wet with sweat, grimaces as he pounds a squash ball with all the force he can muster. It hits the wall, bounces back.
His SQUASH PARTNER hits the ball with equal force. STAIR has to spin around fast to hit the ball rebounding on the wall behind him. He is an accomplished player, fast on his feet.
The game is fast and furious - played by two Alpha males determined to win. STAIR loses the point, hits his racquet with his hand, chastises himself.
38 INT. CHANGE ROOM. SQUASH COURTS. DAY
STAIR steps out of the shower, start to dry himself.
I’m not going to give an inch.
His SQUASH PARTNER is still showering.
They’re going to demand an inch.
Stair’s mobile starts to ring.
OK, fuck them!
STAIR takes his mobile out of his trousers, hanging on a hook, looks at the screen of his mobile for a moment:
He decides not to take the call.
39 INT. BUN’s HOME. LATE AFTERNOON
SOK, an old man in a sarong, sits on a bamboo floor, close to a smoky fire burning in a hearth.
BUN, in the doorway calls out to him, signals to join her.
Look at this.
SOK stands unsteadily. The sound of an explosion is heard.
…to be continued…