バースデイ・ガール(2002年)

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[amazonjs asin=”B004SK4V1W” locale=”JP” title=”バースデイ・ガール DVD”]FADE IN:

In a Russian summer meadow, a young girl spins around and
around. A simple guitar theme plays as the low sun catches
her hair. Around her neck is a pair of field binoculars, and
she runs through the meadow with them pressed to her face,
spying butterflies, birds, rabbits. She reaches the top of a
hillock, and jumps into the air, and flies up into the sky.
We float up and up with her as she aims the binoculars up,
up, into the sun.

FADE THROUGH SUN TO:

An aerial shot of the rolling English countryside. Nothing
but fields and trees for miles. The shot describes a panorama
before looking directly down, at the earth, and we begin to
move.

We fly low over a field, a ditch and straight out over six
lanes of motorway. Cars and lorries tear below at a hundred
miles an hour. We fly over the hard shoulder to another field
beyond.

We descend on two young boys in the field. A pornographic
magazine is spread out of the flattened grass. One of the
boys puts a match to the centre page and as the flames lick
up, we begin to move again, across the field, over a path
and into a suburban garden.

We fly over five or six gardens, over a barbecue, over
children splashing in a pool, over a woman sunbathing, a man
mowing his lawn, a young boy bouncing up and down on a garden
trampoline, to arrive on the patio of John Buckingham. He
walks out onto the patio, where he sits in a chair, facing
his house, setting down a mug of tea.

CUT TO:

A blurred face sharpening into focus, John Buckingham, about
thirty-two, sitting on his patio, his garden behind, fields
beyond.

JOHN
Hello.

His hand adjusts a microphone on his lapel.

JOHN
Hello, hello. Hello…

He shifts in his chair. Coughs. He looks straight at us.

JOHN
I don’t believe in perfect love. You
know, love that comes out of the sky
like a thunderbolt and uh… This is
ridiculous.

He removes the microphone. He sits there, thinking very hard.

JOHN
No. No no no. Nope.

He stands, turns and stretches.

BLACKOUT:

FADE UP:

He is sitting as before, looking at us.

JOHN
Running. Reading. Going out. Staying
in. The countryside. Films, if they’re
good.

BLACKOUT:

FADE UP:

JOHN
Thoughtful. Outgoing. Ambitious.
Well-read. Reasonably popular.
Balanced. Trusting. Quite attractive.
Outgoing.

BLACKOUT:

FADE UP:

JOHN
Someone intelligent, of course. Kind.
Pretty I suppose. But its not
critical.

EXT. JOHN’S STREET – DAY

John watches while two removal men lift a new double bed
from the back of a van.

JOHN (V.O.)
Someone with a sense of humour.
Someone you can communicate with on
the same level. Someone you can really
talk to. I think communication is
key.

INT. BEDROOM – DAY

John’s hands smooth a crisp white sheet over the double
mattress. An ant runs across the sheet. John squashes it and
picks it carefully off.

JOHN (V.O.)
I think that by the time most people
turn thirty they know where they’re
going.

CUT TO:

EXT. GARDEN – DAY

John encircles his house, leaving a thick trail of yellow
powder behind him.

JOHN (V.O.)
And where they’ve been. I suppose
they have some baggage stroke history.

EXT. THE GARDEN RECORDING – DAY

We see that John is talking to his PC. It has a small digital
camera on the side.

JOHN
We all have someone in our past who
uh… one skeleton, if you like.
We’ve all got at least one person,
as it were, under the patio. Not
literally of course. I suppose I
only say this because I always thought
people who did this sort of thing
were… I had an image that they
were losers. Not losers. A bit sad.
But I think this is the modern world.
And I think really it’s quite a brave
move. Quite a brave, reasonable thing
to do.

He smiles.

JOHN
Sorry can we start again?

SINGLE CARD ON BLACK:

BIRTHDAY GIRL

John’s fingers in close-up, type JOHN BUCKINGHAM, and his
AMEX number into his PC. Finished, he stops, and rests his
face on his hands.

He hits SEND. That instant, a worry of black crows bursts up
in the field behind him and takes to the swirling air.

Blackout. Music. Titles.

The titles pop and slide over footage of Russian women, on
computer video, advertising themselves. They mostly speak in
Russian, some of which is subtitled, some speak in English.
The women slide on and off the screen, overlap and collide,
as the titles appear. Close-ups on mouths and eyes, tight
and pixellated. It becomes a wall of image and sound.

CUT TO:

EXT. SKY – DAY

The GIGANTIC UNDERSIDE of a Boeing 747 TEARS down the screen.

INT. AIRPORT TRAVELATOR – DAY

John slides across the screen, motionless, towards Arrivals.

INT. AIRPORT – DAY.

Last calls for flights leaving for the other side of the
world.

Travellers criss-cross and swirl.

INT. AIRPORT MAIN ARRIVALS BOARD – DAY

BA 1880 MOSCOW On time.

INT. AIRPORT RESTROOM – DAY

He dries his face with a paper towel, then checks himself in
the mirror. He looks okay, a little white.

INT. ARRIVALS GATE – DAY

The Arrivals gate slides open and passengers flood through.
John stands among the chauffeurs and cab drivers, as the
passengers trundle by.

We follow one young woman long enough to think this must be
her, but it’s a false alarm, she’s lifted up and spun around
by someone else.

They’ve all passed. That’s that. She wasn’t on the flight.

John wanders away from the gate. He stands about in the swirl
in the middle of the airport. People bustle by. Everyone
going somewhere.

Gradually, we get the sense we are being watched. A woman
stands nearby. She is about twenty, very beautiful, tired
and laden with luggage.

JOHN
Nadia?

She nods.

JOHN
I’m John.

They shake hands.

JOHN
Welcome.
(pause)
Well. Look I didn’t have a speech
but…

A distorted passenger announcement breaks above us. It’s too
loud to talk. It ends and they stand there in silence. He
points to her luggage.

JOHN
Is that everything?

NADIA
Yes.

JOHN
Right. Okay. Good.

They stand there.

INT. AIRPORT LIFT – DAY

Nadia and John stand side by side in a huge lift.

JOHN
We can talk in the car.

A deafening roll of thunder.

EXT. AIRPORT CAR PARK – DAY

It’s pouring with rain as they cross the car park towards a
patched up yellow Rover. John stows the suitcase in the boot
and opens the passenger door for her.

INT. / EXT. JOHN’S CAR (MOVING) – DAY

John turns the key in the ignition. The MG wheezes and coughs.
He tries again. Nothing. The third time it just catches and
he coaxes it to life. The colour’s drained from his cheeks.

They head for the motorway. The silence in the car lasts
just long enough for John to feel he is breaking it.

JOHN
It’s about forty miles from here. I
don’t know if you’ve looked at a
map, it’s close to London but it’s a
city in itself. A Roman city. It’s a
nice house. I’m having a problem
with ants. I uh… It’s the warmer
weather. I can’t seem to find the
nest. Sorry, do you understand “ants”?

NADIA
Yes.

JOHN
I just can’t find a nest. The root
of the problem. I’ve looked
everywhere. What’s the Russian for
ant? Sorry that’s a stupid… Sorry.
This is strange isn’t it.

NADIA
Yes.

JOHN
I’m pretty nervous. Are you?

NADIA
Yes.

JOHN
I mean… “Ants.” “I’ve got a problem
with ants.”

He shakes his head.

JOHN
I had this…

He pulls a sign from his jacket which says “Nadia!”

JOHN
As a joke but uh…

He tosses it onto the back seat.

They drive. He sees Nadia looking at England.

JOHN
So. Is it different to how you
imagined it?

NADIA
Yes.

JOHN
I bet.
(pause)
What about me? Am I how you imagined?

NADIA
Yes.

He double-takes, changes lanes.

JOHN
And how was the flight. Sorry, am I
speaking too fast for you?

NADIA
Yes.

John looks across.

JOHN
Do uh… Sorry. Can you follow me?
Do you understand what I’m saying?

NADIA
Yes.

JOHN
Good. Or should I speak slower?

NADIA
Yes.

JOHN
Do you follow or should I speak
slower?

NADIA
Yes.

He looks across. Back at the road. He changes gear.

JOHN
Uh… Are you a giraffe?

NADIA
Yes.

John turns to face the road ahead.

JOHN
(to himself)
Oh Jesus.

He drives in silence.

JOHN
Oh Jesus.

Suddenly she winds the window down and vomits out of the
speeding car. John panics and swerves onto the hard shoulder
amidst loud horn blasts.

EXT. HARD SHOULDER – DAY

John navigates his way round the Rover in the rain to find
her kneeling on the verge, throwing up. He puts a hand on
her shoulder, but she stands up quickly, maintaining an icy
dignity considering what has just happened.

EXT. JOHN’S CLOSE – DAY

It has stopped raining and a group of young boys are playing
cricket in the road. They clear as a Yellow Rover pulls into
the Close, and into the drive of the little house at the
end.

As John climbs out of his car he eyes the boys. The boys eye
him, and his new friend.

INT. JOHN’S HOUSE – DAY

The front door closes behind them. John and Nadia stand in
the silence of his hallway. There is a small banner hanging
there: “Welcome Nadia”. They study the banner together,
gravely.

Eventually he opens a door.

JOHN
(quietly)
Lounge.

She peers round him and looks inside. He leads her down
towards the kitchen.

JOHN
Kitchen.

She glances around it. Then back at John. He nods to himself,
looking tense and pale.

INT. JOHN’S UPSTAIRS LANDING – DAY

He puts her suitcase down on the landing, and opens a door.
Without looking inside:

JOHN
Bathroom.

He closes it.

INT. MAIN BEDROOM – DAY

Standing in the doorway of John’s bedroom.

JOHN
Bedroom.

There it is. The Double Bed. John frowns gravely.

Without warning, he marches out. She comes out onto the
landing to catch John plus suitcase kicking open another
door and vanishing inside.

INT. SPARE BEDROOM – DAY

Nadia peers around the door to find John standing next to a
narrow monk-like single bed.

JOHN
The uh… the other bedroom…

She looks at it, then up at John. She turns and walks out.

Now she’s back, with her camouflaged hold-all, dumps it onto
the floor, heaves the suitcase onto the bed and smoking no-
hands, starts unpacking. John plugs in the lamp by the bed.
To show Nadia how it works he switches it on, off, on, off,
and then feels stupid.

JOHN
I’ll get an ashtray.

With John gone, Nadia stops unpacking. She walks to the window
and stares out over the rooftops of the estate.

CUT TO:

INT. LOUNGE – DAY

John on the phone.

ANSWER MACHINE
You have reached From Russia with
Love. Our office reopens on Monday.
If you are interested in our
services…
(etc. etc.)
Thank You.

JOHN
This is John Buckingham from St
Albans. I need to speak to you
urgently. There’s a critical problem.
It’s… Call me back as soon as
possible. It’s critical.

INT. STAIRS / LANDING – DAY

John climbs the stairs holding a saucer for an ashtray. He
knocks lightly on the spare room door.

INT. SPARE ROOM / LANDING – DAY

Nadia is lying asleep on the bed in only her black underwear.
We duck straight back out.

John composes himself. He puts his head back round the door
as if there’s a real chance it will be shot off. She’s facing
away, arms folded, still holding the cigarette. It has burnt
out, leaving a long curl of ash on her bare hip.

He approaches the bed with immense trepidation, eases the
cigarette from between her fingers and drops it in the bin.
He stares at her bare hip, with the ash on it. Holding the
saucer under the ash, he blows on it gently. It takes three
careful breaths before it drops in the saucer. Unseen by
John, her eyes are wide open as he steals out onto the
landing. We stay with her a moment.

CUT TO:

A pot of stew, bubbling on the hob.

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

John is stirring a pot on the hob. By his expression he might
be defusing a bomb.

His head cocks, he stiffens. Nadia walks right into the
kitchen. She’s changed, jeans and a tee shirt. Nadia takes
the spoon from him, says something in Russian, gestures for
him to sit.

She tastes the stew. Now she stirs the pot. He watches her.

CUT TO:

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

John and Nadia sit opposite each other. She takes a mouthful.
They catch one another’s eye. And again.

On the wall across, six ants careen in crazy circles. John
can see them, but doesn’t move.

He puts his fork down.

JOHN
I don’t know what to say. Your letters
were in English. Good English. You
said you’d studied English.

Nadia reaches down into her bag and pulls out a small box
wrapped in brown paper. She places it in front of him.

He warily unwraps a little wooden box. He opens the lid and
fishes out a simple gold ring. He holds it in his palm.

JOHN
I can’t take this.

He puts it back in the box, hoping it will disappear.

She fishes it out again and holds it on her palm for him to
take.

JOHN
I can’t take it. I’m not really a
ring guy.

She takes his hand. He automatically yanks it away like he’s
been burned. She takes his hand again and to stop it becoming
unbearable, he allows Nadia to push the ring onto his ring
finger. It goes on easily.

JOHN
Okay. No big deal. Thank you. Yes
thanks. Thank you.

INT. LOUNGE – NIGHT

John and Nadia sit next to each other on the couch watching
T.V. John’s gaze seems to go through the T.V. and a thousand
yards beyond. Nadia is knitting a half-finished jumper, blood
red.

John stands and disappears out of shot.

JOHN (O.S.)
If anyone gets this message please
call as soon as possible. It’s an
emergency.

John sits back down. He steals side-glances at her. Her mouth.
Her red-painted fingers knitting fast.

John flips through the channels —

The Money Programme.
Antique’s Roadshow.
Cup Rugby.

Eventually he offers Nadia the remote control. She takes,
aims it at the T.V. but doesn’t press it. Just as it seems
she won’t, she does: University Challenge.

They watch University Challenge with Nadia still aiming the
control and smoking. After another long pause she flips the
button —

The Money Programme.
Antiques Roadshow.
Rugby.

She flips again then hands the controls back to John and
they watch University Challenge.

Nadia puts down her knitting, stretches and yawns.

INT. LOUNGE / STAIRS – NIGHT

Nadia climbs the stairs. John watches her, hovering in the
doorway of the darkened lounge.

He hears the bathroom door close before venturing up.

INT. BEDROOM – DAY

John sits on the edge of his bed. He cocks his head:

Door opening and shutting; feet padding along landing; door
closing. Silence. He squeezes his door open and peers down
the dark landing. The coast is clear.

INT. BATHROOM – DAY

Brushing his teeth, staring accusingly at his reflection.
Spits. Finished, he takes a deep breath and opens the door,
and gives a small shout.

Nadia is standing right outside the door; Nightshirt, damp
hair, toothbrush in her mouth.

JOHN
Good night.

He squeezes past and quick-steps down the landing.

INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT

He climbs into the big bed, fully clothed, turns off the
light and lies there in the moonlight.

After twenty seconds, the bedroom door clicks open. John
climbs out of bed as casually as possible and stands around.

JOHN
You should go now. We’ll talk in the
morning.

His eyes widen but he can’t speak. He wants to but she’s
placed her hand across his mouth. She reaches down and takes
his hand, and draws it towards her, slowly tracing his fingers
across her breasts. She unbuttons her shirt and pulls his
hand inside.

He’s breathing hard, her right hand still clasped over his
mouth. Her free hand lowers to press against him, and unzip
his fly. He lets out a moan.

We concentrate on their faces. Above the silence all we can
hear is John’s breathing — Before long Nadia looks down —
He’s come.

Nadia turns and walks out, leaving John marooned, gasping in
and blowing out, angry almost, buttoning his trousers.

EXT. JOHN’S CLOSE – NIGHT

Exterior view of John’s darkened house. A fox trots across
the Cul-De-Sac and sits under John’s car, where it curls up.

INT. JOHN’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

John lying in bed staring out at a streetlight.

INT. NADIA’S ROOM – DAY

The morning. Nadia opens her eyes in the sun-filled room.

INT. LANDING – DAY

She pads down the hall in her nightshirt and opens the door
to the bathroom. There on the toilet, naked, is John. He
gives another short shout. Nadia holds his eye for a couple
of seconds too long, before shutting us inside with him.

EXT. JOHN’S GARDEN – DAY

John sprints down his lawn, scattering the big black crows
eating his garden. He jumps the fence, and across the fields.

EXT. COUNTRYSIDE – DAY

John jogs along by a river in the countryside behind his
house, wearing shorts and a tee shirt. His breath billows
around him in the sharp morning air.

He stops running by a gate overlooking a small hill. He
doubles up to recover, panting hard.

INT. JOHN’S GARDEN – DAY

Two wild rabbits are nibbling the remains of a big breakfast
left on the lawn. John climbs heavily back over his fence.

There’s a deck chair out there, surrounded by the remains of
breakfast. Some glossy Russian magazines, a full ashtray,
Nadia’s knitting.

The patio door is ajar, the net curtain billowing. He scans
the garden jumpily. The boy next door is on his trampoline,
bouncing up and down, watching John at the top of each bounce.

INT. JOHN’S HOUSE – DAY

Sweating from the run, John peers up the stairs. The house
is silent. In the lounge he picks up the phone and dials a
number.

ANSWER MACHINE
You have reached From Russia With
Love. If you are interested…

He hangs up.

INT. LANDING – DAY

John stands with his ear to the bathroom door. The shower’s
on.

INT. NADIA’S BEDROOM – DAY

It’s empty. He slips inside.

Stuff everywhere. Cigarette cartons, several lighters, spare
wool, suitcase, rucksack. Huge poster of Bruce Springsteen
on wall.

Warily, he opens the bedside drawer: Different coloured bras
and knickers.

In her open suitcase lies a small wooden chest. He lifts it
out and puts it on the bed, hesitates, then opens it.

A pair of Russian Army field binoculars. He puts them on the
bed beside him. A small silver pistol, the size of a
Derringer. He studies it, and pulls the trigger. It’s a
cigarette lighter.

A brochure of prospective husbands provided by the marriage
agency. After a dozen or so photos he comes across his page
but the photo has been cut out. He sees his name in the
strange lettering, under the hole.

INT. BATHROOM – DAY

Nadia in the shower, eyes shut, water pouring over her face.

INT. NADIA’S ROOM – DAY

John flicks through a stack of photographs. One of Nadia as
a young girl in a meadow, with binoculars around her neck —
John looks at the same binoculars on the bed next to him. He
turns them over in his hands.

He looks through them. He slowly lowers them. He’s seen
something. He stands and crosses the room.

On the mantelpiece, in a silver frame, is his picture, cut
from the brochure. He holds it in his hands.

The shower has stopped. In a panic he replaces the picture,
the photographs, the gun lighter, the brochure, and the
binoculars.

INT. LANDING – DAY

Nadia leaves the bathroom, hair wrapped in a towel, and heads
straight towards us.

INT. NADIA’S BEDROOM – DAY

John shuts the chest, drops it back into the suitcase.

The photo of the binoculars girl is on the pillow. He whips
it under the bed just as Nadia enters.

She doesn’t seem surprised to see him standing there, in her
room, in his tee shirt and running shorts.

JOHN
Nadia. This isn’t going to work. I’m
sorry. It’s been a terrible mistake.
You must go.

He takes the ring off and holds it out to her. She doesn’t
take it. He puts it on the bed.

JOHN
I’m booking a flight for tomorrow.
I’m sorry.

John and Nadia on her bed, Nadia tearing off his tee shirt.
She gets on top.

EXT. JOHN’S CLOSE – DAY

The milkman hops a low fence between two houses. He waves to
a man watering his rose trees.

INT. NADIA’S ROOM – DAY

John and Nadia having sex. They don’t take their eyes off
each other.

EXT. JOHN’S CLOSE – DAY

A mother corrals her school children into a Volvo. They don’t
want to go.

INT. NADIA’S ROOM – DAY

John sits on the edge of the bed, holding his head in his
hands. The door has just shut behind him. He looks at his
left hand. He has the ring on.

VOICE OVER
Problem solving. John identifies
most problems within appropriate
time frames…

INT. NATWEST BANK, ST ALBANS – DAY

The large oak doors of the bank swing open.

VOICE OVER
Most of the time he develops several
alternative solutions to problems…

We move fast through the banking hall to the furthest counter.
The blind snaps up to reveal John, wearing a smart suit.

VOICE OVER
He usually resolves or minimises
most problems before they grow into
larger problems…

INT. BEHIND THE GLASS – DAY

John’s skilled hands loading a stack of banknotes into a
drawer. The cashier next along, Clare, smiles at him.

CLARE
Good weekend?

JOHN
Uh. Yeah. Pretty good.

CLARE
Do anything special?

JOHN
Uh. No.

VOICE OVER
Communications. John listens and
comprehends well.

INT. BRANCH MANAGER’S OFFICE – DAY

John sits in front of a large desk, hands on knees.

BRANCH MANAGER (O.S.)
When communicating he is good at
selecting the most efficient methods
and displays effective verbal
communication skills…

Across the desk the Branch Manager reads a report out loud
in an impersonal, flat manner.

BRANCH MANAGER
On one occasion John showed first
class communication skills in a
delicate customer situation.

INT. JOHN’S KITCHEN – DAY

Nadia opens a kitchen cupboard and stares inside at John’s
groceries.

BRANCH MANAGER (V.O.)
Initiative. John is reasonably quick
to volunteer whenever others need
help. Although he is sometimes
reluctant and or unwilling to ask
for it himself…

She opens some pickled onions and pops one in her mouth.

INT. LIVING ROOM – DAY

Cradling the jar of onions, she scans his bookshelf.

BRANCH MANAGER (V.O.)
He is adequate at resolving difficult
or emotional customer situations…

Bluffers guide to the Internet. She opens an old copy of The
Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Inside is written ‘John
Buckingham Class 3F’.

BRANCH MANAGER (V.O.)
He usually fulfills commitments made
to customers within expected time
frames.

INT. JOHN’S BEDROOM – DAY

She opens the wardrobe. In a shoebox she finds some photos.

BRANCH MANAGER (V.O.)
Customer Service. John shows a high
degree of respect for customers…

One of John as a little boy, holding a football, flanked by
his parents. On the back someone has written “Summer 1973”.

BRANCH MANAGER (V.O.)
John still has some reluctance to /
or has problems in, carving out new
relationships face to face.

There is a photo of John, about three years ago, arm in arm
with a plain, thin-looking girl, with small eyes. Another of
him kissing her on the cheek.

INT. BRANCH MANAGER’S OFFICE – DAY

John listening.

BRANCH MANAGER
Judgment — John makes able decisions
in most areas of his job.

INT. JOHN’S BEDROOM – DAY

Nadia sees something at the bottom of the cupboard. She bends
down to retrieve a black dustbin liner. She reaches in and
pulls out a small stack of hardcore pornographic magazines.

BRANCH MANAGER (V.O.)
John follows instructions
conscientiously and responds well to
personal directions.

She upends the bag and a half dozen videos fall out. She
picks up a magazine and begins flicking through it
impassively.

INT. LOUNGE – DAY

Nadia downstairs kneels in front of the T.V. and slips a
video into the machine. Nadia’s face is lit up by the screen.
The sound of sex.

BRANCH MANAGER (V.O.)
John is normally very punctual and
in most situations assumes
responsibility for his own actions
and outcomes.

She pops a pickled onion in her mouth, and watches. We see
the images close and pixellated, as we did the marriage videos
in the titles. It’s a bondage scene, the woman wears a gag.

INT. BRANCH MANAGER’S OFFICE – DAY

John back in the room. The report has finished and the manager
is scrutinising him in silence.

JOHN
Thank you — I think that’s very
fair.

INT. / EXT. JOHN’S CAR (MOVING) – DAY

John drives his Rover through the centre of town, the low
orange sun on his face.

EXT. JOHN’S CLOSE – DAY

The Rover pulls into the driveway. John opens the glove
compartment and removes the ring Nadia gave him, and puts it
back on. He collects a brown paper package from the passenger
seat.

INT. JOHN’S KITCHEN – NIGHT

John and Nadia at the supper table. She is knitting the
jumper. Despite the silence, John seems more relaxed, in
shirtsleeves and loosened tie. He puts his fork down, and
places the brown bag on the table, pushing it across to Nadia.
She opens it and removes a big hardback Russian – English
dictionary. John smiles and nods “open it”. She flicks through
it.

She turns it over in her hands, nods, puts the book down,
reaches under the table and surfaces with the stack of porn
magazines. She puts them on the table next to the dictionary.

John beholds the pile. “Wet N’ Wild” is on top.

He rises slowly from the table and sleepwalks from the
kitchen.

INT. JOHN’S HALL / STAIRS / LANDING / BATHROOM – DAY

John, frozen-headed, floats down the hall, up the stairs
into the bathroom, locks the door, sits on the toilet.

INT. JOHN’S KITCHEN – DAY

Downstairs Nadia clears, the dishes. The porn stack still
sits on the table, beside the dictionary.

INT. BATHROOM – DAY

Still on the toilet. He hasn’t moved. He closes his eyes.

INT. LANDING – NIGHT

It’s dark. The bathroom door opens a crack. The coast clear,
he dashes for the cover of his bedroom.

INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT

John rests his head against the doorframe and heaves a sigh
of relief. He turns and freezes. Nadia is there next to him.

She slowly loosens his tie. Holding it in her hands she
examines the strange little bank logo on it, before
deliberately tying the tie over her mouth like a gag.

A second tie is pulled from a hanger in the cupboard. Quickly
and skillfully she ties her hands together, pulling it tight
with her teeth. Finished, she flicks her hair back, and gives
him a long, level look.

VOICE OVER
It will feel very strange at first
but then you get used to it.

CUT TO:

INT. ROOM IN THE BANK – DAY

A close up of John’s face. He closes his eyes, falls
backwards, and is caught in the arms of a colleague.

TRAINER
Good. Again.

John stands again and closes his eyes. After a short wait he
falls back and again his colleague catches him just before
he hits the ground.

TRAINER
Very good. How does that feel John?

JOHN
It feels good. Weird.

TRAINER
It’s called Trust and Letting Go.

John nods.

TRAINER
Trust and Letting Go.

A simple guitar theme begins, and plays over the following
sequence:

Kids playing cricket in John’s Close. A boy hits the ball
and others chase it as it bounces off cars.

John at dusk tied to the bed with his two bank ties. Nadia
is on top. They are having sex.

Hands stacking bank notes into the back of a cash machine.
Fast, mechanical.

At the bank, John walks to his desk. His phone rings. He
answers it.

Silence. Then soft breathing. John listens intently and looks
around.

“Nadia…?” — John sits there, surrounded by his colleagues,
listening to Nadia breathe.

Close up on a man’s hands tying a tie tight a-round a woman’s
wrist. Pull back to a close up of Nadia’s face, her eyes
fixed on John.

John running by the river.

John watches Nadia rise from his bed after sex and leave the
room. He stares out the window.

Nadia’s fingers, knitting skillfully.

Nadia sits on her bed alone, pulling on black stockings and
attaching them to suspenders.

The street cricketers run for cover as a thunder storm breaks
over the close.

Rain coming down in John’s garden. The pair sit under the
shelter of the back porch. John has his hands out as Nadia
is winding red wool it into a ball. The jumper is half
finished.

The rabbits shelter from the rain under broad leaves.

John in a pub with a four colleagues from the bank. He sips
his half, half listening to the conversation. It all seems
so dull. He finishes his drink and looks at his watch. They
ask him if he’s staying for another.

A knitting needle is drawn from a row of red stitches on the
nearly-finished jumper.

Nadia kneels over John holding the knitting needles. She
presses one to his skin and we watch it drawn across his
chest in close up, up to his neck.

His eyes are fixed on hers.

Close up on Nadia’s face. Her mouth is gagged and she’s lying
on her front, head half-buried in a pillow. We can just make
out John behind, on top of her. Both are lying still and
breathing hard, covered in sweat. Catching her breath Nadia
yanks the gag off and wriggles out from underneath him. She
snatches up a towel and covering herself hurries to the
bathroom.

The guitar theme ends.

INT. LANDING – NIGHT

John presses his ear to the bathroom door. The sound of
retching.

The toilet flushes. John pads back to his bedroom. Through
the gap in the door he sees Nadia coming out, go to her room,
and shut the door. He rests his head against the door frame.

CUT TO:

INT. LOUNGE – DAY

A beautiful morning. Through the patio window, John watches
Nadia in the garden, sitting on the lawn reading her
dictionary in the sunlight. In dungarees with her hair up,
she looks very young.

EXT. GARDEN – DAY

He walks warily out into the sunlight. She looks up, then
back to the big book in her lap. He places the tea next to
her on the grass.

JOHN
Are you O.K.?

She looks at him, then down at her tome. She speaks slowly,
in a heavy accent:

NADIA
Today is bath day.

JOHN
Sorry?

She studies her book. Looks up.

NADIA
Today is bath day.

He shakes his head.

JOHN
Bath day?

She nods.

JOHN
I don’t understand.

NADIA
Happy bath day.

The penny drops.

JOHN
Today?

She frowns. John leafs through the dictionary.

JOHN
Syevodnya?

NADIA
Syevodnya

JOHN
Happy Birthday. Happy Birthday.

He puts his hand on her shoulder.

NADIA
Party.
(pause)
Party. Syevodnya.

John nods, smiling.

JOHN
Yes. Party. Party syevodnya.

She lights a cigarette from the butt of her last. Blows smoke.
She holds the jumper up to John, as if to try it for size,
and the theme returns.

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

John is on the telephone.

JOHN
…It might just be a twenty-four
hour bug…

INT. BANK – DAY

Clare listens, concerned.

CLARE
Well you just get better. I’ll tell
Beaky. You just get some rest, ok?

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

John puts the phone down. He looks down the hall, where Nadia
is killing ants on the table, with her dictionary. He smiles.

EXT. JOHN’S CAR – DAY

A shot from above, of the Rover’s windscreen, reflecting the
passing trees.

The roof is down. We glide up the windscreen, up Nadia’s
body, in the passenger seat. Her face is upturned slightly,
she’s wearing sunglasses, which reflect the passing trees.

INT. JOHN’S LOUNGE – NIGHT

Nadia sits alone at the dining room table. Suddenly the lights
go out. John enters, carrying a small birthday cake glowing
with candles.

The light throws huge shadows on the walls and flickers across
their faces.

He sets the cake down on the table and sits down opposite
Nadia

JOHN
Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday
to you. Happy Birthday dear Nadia…

The front doorbell rings. A loud long burst. Nadia’s face
transforms into a big grin. She hurries out into the hall,
leaving John alone with the cake. Nadia whooping and shouting
excitedly. Other voices. Shouting. Shouting in Russian.

A man bursts in carrying Nadia in his arms. He spins her
round in the candlelight, kisses her, puts her down and goes
to the table where he blows out the candles. They are plunged
into darkness.

Lots of whooping and laughing. A Zippo flares up and
illuminates some faces, all laughing.

CUT TO:

John’s hand groping along the wall. It finds the light switch.

There are two men here. One small and wiry, one big and dark,
like Rasputin. They each carry rucksacks and a guitar case.

YURI
You must be John. You seem very nice.
Excuse me.

In Russian, the first man introduces Nadia to the other man,
who is relighting the candles with a Zippo. It seems they
haven’t met before.

The first man, Yuri, pulls out a bottle of vodka and hands
it to John.

YURI
How’s that? We can’t drink our piss
can we?

JOHN
Hang on hang on, sorry, but like,
who are you?

YURI
You must find some glasses, small,
for the toast, and some plates.

JOHN
What are you doing here?

Yuri stops.

YURI
Sorry. You’ve lost me…

JOHN
I’m asking what you’re here for.

YURI
What?

Yuri speaks to Nadia in fast Russian.

YURI
(to John)
You don’t speak Russian? Pratsteetye!
This explains your cold eyes.

Nadia begins gabbling to Yuri in Russian. Yuri says the
English word — “Friends”.

NADIA
(to John)
“Frenzy”.

JOHN
Yes I know.

YURI
(himself)
Yuri.
(Rasputin)
Alexei. Alexei and Yuri.

Alexei speaks.

JOHN
What did he say?

YURI
He says he feels safe here.

Nadia talks fast to Yuri.

YURI
She says she wanted to tell you but
her English is shit. And no one speaks
Russian, it’s very hard for her. The
light please.

Alexei turns off the light again. Nadia blows out her candles.
They are plunged back into darkness. John turns the light on
again. Yuri is already sitting down.

JOHN
I need to know who you are first
please.

YURI
Oh.
(Yuri stands)
We are Russian.

JOHN
Yes. I know.

YURI
Good.
(he sits down)

JOHN
And…

YURI
And what? You mean from the beginning?
Jesus. Can I uh okay, as we say in
Russia can I cut a long story short.
Okay. Nadia is my little cousin.
Except she’s not. But we say cousin.
This is for you.

He hands John another bottle of vodka.

JOHN
Hold on.

YURI
Toast first then we talk seriously,
I can see you are serious about us.

Vodka is splashed into their glasses. Yuri raises his glass
and shouts a toast in Russian: “Vashe Zdarovye!”. They down
their vodka, John sips at his, then realises he must finish
it. Yuri makes as if to throw his in the fireplace.

YURI
Just kidding.

Sausages, cheese, bread and pickle bottles rain onto the
table from Yuri’s rucksack.

JOHN
(to Yuri)
So hang on. You’re both Nadia’s
cousins?

YURI
(shaking his head)
Of course not. Alexei, he’s is my
problem.

JOHN
Right.

YURI
We better watch him. He’s crazy.

JOHN
Right.

YURI
I am actor, he is actor, although he
is an actor stroke musician. I just
noodle along, I’m not so good. He
makes me look like a retard — He
smokes me. I don’t mean he smokes
me.

Yuri mimes giving a blow-job.

YURI
I mean he smokes me. Do you say
“smoke” in U.K.?

He mimes the blowjob again.

JOHN
No.

YURI
Right. So I can say he smokes me.
So.

Pause.

JOHN
So?

YURI
So I come to England with other actors
to make shows, I meet this freak
from Novgorod I tell him of you and
Chicken and the birthday here we
are.

Yuri speaks to Nadia in Russian, she replies looking at John.

JOHN
What was that?

YURI
I asked her if you were happy to see
us. I find it hard to tell with you.

JOHN
Yes it’s okay. Thank you for the
food.

Nadia lights a cigarette. John notices that on both wrists
she has bold red marks from the ties. He freezes.

YURI
She says you are a little shy. I
think I know this.

John is thrown, panicking that one of them will notice the
marks.

JOHN
So how long will you be in England?

YURI
Plans are for the architects,
politicians and so forth.

JOHN
You must have a visa or something…

YURI
You’re asking for my documents?

JOHN
No, no…

Yuri laughs, translates for Alexei and they both get a big
laugh out of this. Yuri gets his passport out and makes a
big show of presenting it to John. But John keeps glancing
at the marks on Nadia’s wrists. We see a close up of her
neck. There is the tiniest blood mark. John sees it and starts
to sweat.

YURI
We are all Europeans here. Europe,
Tony Blair and Maggie Thatcher!

Yuri raises his glass and they all drink to Tony Blair and
Margaret Thatcher. John drinks his vodka in two hot gulps.

YURI
So. You have nothing to say to your
Fiancee? Maybe to wife of forty years
it’s understandable. Come on. You
speak and I will translate.

John looks glazed. The room falls silent.

JOHN
Hello.

Yuri translates — She replies.

YURI
She says ‘Hello’ to you. Go for it
John!

JOHN
Uh. Do you like England?

YURI
Classic!
(he translates)
Thank God. She says ‘Yes!’

John nods. He watches Nadia tap ash. The wrist again.

JOHN
Uh…

They all wait. Yuri nods encouragingly.

JOHN
I can’t think of anything. Hang on.

Nadia speaks in Russian to Yuri.

YURI
She says she has a secret to tell.

JOHN
What?

Nadia speaks. John waits uncomfortably. Silence.

YURI
She says she watched you at the
airport.

John stops.

JOHN
When?

YURI
(translating)
“I saw you waiting there, by the
gate.”

JOHN
I…

YURI
“I have these uh…” She explains to
you… “When I was a little girl my
father had these beautiful old
glasses.” Like… I don’t know the
word. Like for watching uh… for
watching the birds.

We see John’s face.

JOHN
Binoculars.

YURI
Binoculars. He had these Binoculars
he has kept from the war.

CUT TO:

Scene 1 reprise.

EXT. SUMMER MEADOW – DAY

A young girl runs through a summer meadow with a pair of
Russian Army field binoculars, around her neck.

YURI (V.O.)
I would run around with them taking
pictures of things I liked with my
mind. If I saw something beautiful I
would take a picture.

With the binoculars pressed to her face, she spies
butterflies, birds, a rabbit. She stops running and aims the
binoculars up, up, into the sun

INT. JOHN’S LIVING ROOM – NIGHT

Yuri translates.

YURI
The day before I left Russia my father
gave me the old binoculars. He said
that when I saw you I was to stand
far away and look at you with these,
and to examine your face closely.
And if you were a bad person I could
run away.

Nadia looks at the table.

YURI
She says she took a picture.

John watches Nadia looking at the table. She glances up once
and catches his eye.

Alexei suddenly slams his hand down on the table. He raises
his palm. There is an ant squashed there. He shows Yuri.

ALEXEI
Nasyekski.

EXT. JOHN’S GARDEN – NIGHT

The small party has moved outside to the patio, where they
sit around a low wooden table in the mellow candlelight. A
huge late Summer moon hangs over the fields. Alexei tinkles
beautifully on his guitar.

He stops asks a question in Russian.

JOHN
What was that?

YURI
Oh nothing.

JOHN
Tell me.

YURI
No. It is too judgmental.

JOHN
Tell me what he said.

YURI
He says why did you send to Russia
for a wife.

Silence. John suddenly looks sick.

YURI
You are not ashamed of it? It’s no
surprise to want to love.

JOHN
No. It’s not that.

YURI
Do you believe in love?

JOHN
I suppose it’s… I mean define your
terms.

YURI
It’s very strange. How many people
are truly themselves with their love?
It is the greatest human disaster
and it is never in the newspapers.
There are no Marches Against
Heartache, no Ministries Against
Loneliness, no Concerts Against
Disappointment. We look away. And
still we know in secret that nothing
is more important to us. The one
thing we all share but don’t say.
Look John I will show you something.

He takes a plate and starts reaching for the food.

YURI
Here look, something beautiful from
Russia. Here is Life, there, take
it.

John accepts the plate.

YURI
Here is bread. Khylep. This is work.
We all need this, here eat.

John eats.

YURI
Good. But we cannot survive with
just work, so here is meat and blood.
Myasa. This is family and country,
flesh, strength, eat.

John bites the sausage.

YURI
But again this is not life. Here is
joy and pain. Chyesnok. Without these
life has no flavour, is too serious.
Eat.

John nibbles some pickled garlic.

YURI
But this vodka.
(pause)
Is love. Only this magic changes you
inside. The moon and the stars and
the sun.

Yuri offers John the glass. He looks at Nadia, takes it and
swigs it down in one. He looks across at Nadia, wiping his
mouth, his eyes watering. She looks back at him.

Alexei begins softly singing a song. As he sings:

YURI
This is a love song, a soldier’s
song to his beloved — Alexei, he’s
Afghanstya, a veteran of Afghanistan.
He saw terrible things.

They listen to the beautiful, sad voice. For the second verse
Yuri joins in, a slow stirring lament. For the end Nadia
joins in too and the three of them begin harmonising
beautifully. John watches in the candlelight.

John, Nadia and Alexei pose with the cake. Nadia puts her
arm round John and Alexei. With a FLASH! Yuri takes a
Polaroid.

The guitar theme returns as we see the Polaroid on the table
in close up, developing speeded up. John comes into focus,
beaming.

INT. LOUNGE – NIGHT

We track across the sleeping faces of Yuri and Alexei tucked
into their sleeping bags with guitar cases for pillows. John
switches the light off and closes the door.

INT. JOHN’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

John and Nadia seen from above lying asleep, with their heads
together, in the moonlight. Nadia whispers something in her
sleep, in Russian. Fast asleep John mutters something in
English. Their sleeping, unintelligible conversation, drifts
on in the night.

INT. BANK – DAY

John sits at his desk in the open plan office. He looks
nervous.

This is because he is wearing Nadia’s ring. People pass his
desk, a couple say hello, but they don’t notice. He rubs his
chin. Nobody notices.

Eventually his manager approaches.

BRANCH MANAGER
Quick word John?

He leans over the desk.

BRANCH MANAGER
This is sensitive. Your car. Lovely
car. Doesn’t necessarily give the
right impression.

JOHN
Ch…

BRANCH MANAGER
To customers approaching the bank
from the rear

JOHN
(thrown)
Right.

BRANCH MANAGER
You can see why it’s sensitive?

JOHN
Uh… Yes.

The manager smiles and taps the desk twice.

BRANCH MANAGER
I’ll leave it on your desk.

John is left alone.

INT. HALL / LIVING ROOM – DAY

The front door opens and John walks into his hall. The two
rucksacks are still side by side where they were the night
before…

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

He opens the fridge and pours himself a glass of orange. He
stops — There on the draining board lies the bloody skin of
a rabbit. John jumps out of his skin.

Next to the rabbit skin is a hand-drawn map. A dotted line
winds around the map and ends with an X in a small wood.

He looks at the rabbit skin, with its eyeless sockets.

EXT. FOREST – DAY

John follows a path through a big silent wood, the low sun
flaring and catching his white work shirt.

P.O.V. OF JOHN

through binoculars, a long way off and squinting into the
sun.

Nadia lowers the binoculars and looks past us.

CUT TO:

John spots some figures lying on the grass in the distance.
He heads towards them, and watches them for a moment from
thirty yards away.

Alexei, Yuri and Nadia sit in a small clearing. A blanket,
cushions, bread and vodka are scattered around. Yuri is
strumming a guitar. Alexei and Nadia are laughing and
chatting. He removes a small twig from her hair and flattens
it under his big hand. John watches the gesture. It’s so
intimate they could be lovers.

YURI
(calls)
John. We can see you hiding.

John steps out of his hiding place and approaches the group.
Alexei has Nadia falling about laughing about something. He
smiles at her then nods to John.

Pieces of cooked rabbit lie in tin foil. Alexei feeds a piece
to Nadia with a big hunting knife. Nadia smiles at John, and
starts knitting.

YURI
How is bank?

JOHN
Fine. I thought you were leaving
today.

YURI
To be indoors on such a day. It’s
crime.

Nadia stops knitting and takes her shirt off and stretches
back to sunbathe in her black bra. Alexei takes the knife he
has just finished cleaning and holds the cold wide blade
flat above Nadia’s bare stomach. Just before pressing it
down he looks across at John. Nadia yelps and sits up. They
laugh, and Yuri joins in. John laughs uneasily.

Alexei notices marks on Nadia’s midriff. He asks her about
them in Russian.

John goes white, unable to understand Nadia’s explanation.
He has no idea what she told him.

EXT. LAKE IN FOREST – DAY

At sunset, the four run towards a lake in their underwear.
They jump and dive in, and begin splashing each other.

John duck-dives under the water and swims through the sunlit
streaked green water. We see him under the water, swimming
towards us, caught by the sun’s rays.

John surfaces, and wipes the water from his eyes. He spots
Alexei and Nadia playing in the water. Alexei grabs her and
throws her in the air and she comes down with a splash.

John treads water nearby. He watches them both hold their
noses and disappear under the surface.

They’ve both vanished. John ducks under the water.

John’s underwater P.O.V.: It’s too murky to see anything.

The two surface, breathing hard, laughing. John watches them.

Alexei holds Nadia tight and looks like he might even kiss
her. But instead he ducks her and holds her under the water.

John treads water nearby. She’s been under a long time.

JOHN
Hey.

John begins to swim toward Alexei. Just as he gets near,
Alexei lets Nadia surface, coughing and spluttering — she
shouts at Alexei in Russian, angry.

Alexei makes for her again but she pushes him away, twice,
almost slapping him. She is very uncomfortable. She swims
away.

Yuri admonishes his friend in Russian. Alexei stares at John,
then swims off powerfully back towards the shore.

YURI
He’s just having fun. He’s maybe too
strong you know…

John watches Nadia walk out of the lake towards her clothes.

INT. BEDROOM – NIGHT

John walks into his bedroom. Nadia is on the bed with a
dictionary. She puts it down. She speaks very slowly.

NADIA
They go. John. They go.

JOHN
What’s wrong?

NADIA
They go.

JOHN
Of course. They go. Yes. Yes.

NADIA
They go.

INT. JOHN’S SITTING ROOM – NIGHT

John stands at the end of the two sleeping bags.

YURI
I understand. I’m so sorry

JOHN
You can stay tonight.

YURI
I have brought you trouble. Maybe I
should have come alone.

JOHN
Good night.

Alexei stares at John as he backs out of the room.

INT. JOHN’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

John closes his bedroom door and slips back into bed. Nadia
is already asleep. John lies back in the moonlight, and stares
at the ceiling.

EXT. GARDEN – DAY

A light summer rain. Drips fall from rose petals.

INT. JOHN’S BEDROOM – DAY

John opens his eyes. He rolls over towards Nadia, but she’s
already up and about.

Alone in his bedroom, John holds the now-finished jumper up
to himself. He tries it on. It’s a good four sizes too big,
the arms are too long and it hangs down to mid-thigh. He
looks at himself in the mirror and smiles.

CUT TO:

INT. STAIRS / HALL / KITCHEN – DAY

He pads downstairs in his pants, picks up his mail from the
doormat and peers into the living room. The sleeping bags
and guitar cases have gone. About to peruse his mail, his
eye is caught by something else.

There is a small wild deer standing in the living room.
Looking at him. John stares back at it transfixed, when he
hears a scream. The deer starts and bolts out of the patio
doors. John is thrown. It was a woman’s scream. He goes back
out and looks down the hall.

Twenty feet away, down the hall, is Yuri, sitting on the
kitchen floor, his back to the cooker. He’s crying.

YURI
John. You must call the Police.

Suddenly Alexei steps between them in the doorway. As he
moves out of view, we see he is holding his hunting knife.
John hears Nadia cry out, from inside the kitchen. He drops
his mail and rushes forward.

INT. KITCHEN – DAY

Nadia is tied to a chair. Alexei pulls a gag tight around
her mouth and holds the knife to her throat.

JOHN
What are you doing?

Alexei shouts at Yuri in Russian.

YURI
John, I’m sorry. It’s my fault.

Alexei shouts again. Nadia is frozen with terror.

JOHN
What’s he doing? What the fuck are
you doing? Leave her alone.

Alexei addresses John.

YURI
He says sit down. Or he’ll cut her.

Alexei and Yuri shout at each other. Nadia begins crying.

YURI
Sit down please.

John sits across the table from Nadia.

JOHN
Tell him to stop and let her go, and
we’ll talk.

The kettle boils. Alexei takes the kettle and holds it over
Nadia’s head.

John springs up.

JOHN
Put the fucking kettle down.

YURI
John.

JOHN
Put the fucking kettle down. Tell,
Yuri, tell him put it down or I’m
going to make him.

Yuri translates — Alexei replies.

YURI
He says you scare him so much he
must go to the toilet in his trousers.
John, he is a soldier. A trained
killer. We must do what he says.

JOHN
What? What does he want?

Alexei speaks.

JOHN
What did he say? Tell me!

YURI
He says you are very sad ridiculous
man. I don’t agree of course. And
that you must pay someone to have
sex like a prostitute. Nadia is a
prostitute. I’m sorry.

JOHN
What does he want. The Russian
shithead. What do you want ?

YURI
He wants money.

JOHN
Tell him to put the kettle down and
I’ll give him money.

Yuri translates this for Alexei. Alexei has a reply.

YURI
He wants a lot of money.

JOHN
I’ll give him money. Tell him to put
the…

YURI
He wants the money from your bank.

JOHN
I’ll fuckin’ give it to him! We’ll
go down there.

YURI
You don’t understand. He wants all
the money that is in your bank.

JOHN
I’ve got eight hundred pounds. Oh
Jesus.

The penny drops.

JOHN
Oh Jesus.

YURI
He is sure you can do this. Of course
you can not.

JOHN
Oh Jesus. Of course I can’t.

Alexei doesn’t need the translation he tilts the kettle, and
a small amount of boiling water trickles onto Nadia’s hair.
She screams through the gag.

John tries to reach across to her but Alexei draws the knife
and holds it to his face.

JOHN
Just leave her alone.

YURI
I’m so sorry.

JOHN
Leave her alone.

CLOSE UP On Nadia’s terrified eyes, imploring John to help
her.

INT. / EXT. JOHN’S CAR – DAY

John drives grim-faced through the morning rain. Yuri is
next to him staring ahead at the road. Alexei is in the back
with Nadia who is still bound and gagged. He’s holding his
knife to her ribs.

INT. MULTI-STOREY CAR PARK – DAY

The car parks on the top floor. John turns off the engine.
He looks at Nadia in his rear view mirror but she seems in
shock.

INT. HIGH STREET – DAY

John strides towards us down St. Albans High Street, carrying
the two guitar cases, his raincoat flapping. His eyes look
glazed, the busy street sounds around him muffled.

INT. NATIONAL WESTMINSTER BANK – DAY

The doors slide apart and John enters his branch. The place
is full of customers. He cheeks himself through the security
door and into the back.

INT. OPEN-PLAN OFFICE – DAY

John walks through the open plan office. His Branch Manager
is there with another bank official, and Clare.

BRANCH MANAGER
Ah John. This is Robert Moseley,
Head of South East New Business.
Robert, this is John Buckingham.

MOSELEY
Hello John.

JOHN
Hello.

BRANCH MANAGER
I thought you could give us the tour
this morning. Sort of be our Indian
Guide.

JOHN
Right.

MOSELEY
(i.e. the guitars)
Do you play?

JOHN
Yes. I do.

CLARE
That’s John. He’s always surprising
you with hidden talents.

MOSELEY
I used to be in a band. Keyboards.
Sort of like very loud, uh — very
loud Marillion.

They laugh. Pause.

CLARE
(to John)
Well, Maestro, give us a tune.

They laugh. Pause.

JOHN
I’ll give you a tune later.

The Branch Manager takes John to one side and stage-whispers.

BRANCH MANAGER
Take the ball and run with it John.

INT. BANK CORRIDOR – DAY

John leads the team down the corridor past the training room
where his colleagues are busy with Trust and Letting Go.

JOHN
This is uh… This is the uh…

A colleague passes carrying a file.

PASSING COLLEAGUE
Morning John. Give us a tune.

JOHN
I’ll give you a tune later.

INT. TRAINING ROOM – DAY

They enter the training room.

JOHN
This is where we’re doing Trust and
uh… Trust and Letting Go.

MOSELEY
We’re not doing this till the fourth
quarter — Has it, uh — any results,
has it been been beneficial?

JOHN
Yes.

CLARE
It’s weird at first. Sort of exciting
and frightening at the same time.
Wouldn’t you say John?

JOHN
Yes.

BRANCH MANAGER
We’re starting to see results. This
is Karen, who’s uh… taking uh…
it.

They say hello to each other and MOSELEY asks her a couple
of questions.

JOHN
Excuse me.

INT. CORRIDOR – DAY

John nips out and fetches his guitar cases. He rounds the
corner, down a couple of steps. He checks himself into the
Safe Area. A Colleague passes him.

COLLEAGUE
Morning John. Hey, Moseley’s here.

JOHN
I’ll give you a tune later.

INT. SAFE ROOM DOOR – DAY

John punches in the security code. He opens the safe door
and goes inside, closing it behind him. We see his stricken
face peering through the toughened glass.

INT. TRAINING ROOM – DAY

Robert Moseley falls backwards into the arms of an employee.

MOSELEY
It’s weird isn’t it.

A little bored perhaps, Moseley gazes out through the open
door. He sees…

INT. CORRIDOR – DAY

John bowling out of the safe-room backwards heaving two guitar
cases. One bursts open spilling bundles of fifties onto the
floor.

INT. TRAINING ROOM – DAY

Moseley, the Branch Manager, Clare, and five Trust and Letting
Go catchers all watch…

INT. CORRIDOR – DAY

John scoops up the money, refasten the case and stand to see
them all watching him, as the five Trust and Letting Go
fallers crash to the ground in unison.

EXT. SIDE STREET – DAY

John hauls ass towards us straight down the middle of the
road, a guitar case in either hand, footsteps clapping loudly
on the wet cobbles. Alarms sound, dogs bark.

EXT. STREET CORNER – DAY

He skis around a corner, and sprints up this other street.
We are close by his head, as he sprints one hundred metres.

EXT. CAR PARK ROOF – DAY

Running flat out across the car park. Yuri throws open the
car door and John hurls the guitar cases inside. He dives
in, turns the key in the ignition. The Rover coughs and
wheezes. He tries again. It spits and misfires. The third
time it catches and lives. John grinds the gears and lurches
off.

INT. MULTI STOREY CAR PARK – DAY

The Rover hurtles down the ramps.

EXT. STREET – DAY

It careens down a side-street.

INT. / EXT. MOVING ROVER – DAY

Alexei opens one of the cases and looks inside. He takes a
deep breath and swears in Russian.

He shows what is in the case to Nadia. Her eyes widen.

Alexei gently lowers the gag and kisses her on the mouth.
She returns the kiss hungrily.

John spots them in the mirror and nearly crashes the car.

He looks desperately across at Yuri. Yuri is now pointing
the big knife at John’s ribs. The Russian shrugs almost
apologetically.

In the back seat Nadia has freed herself and is beginning to
pull at Alexei’s clothes. They begin making out passionately.

John’s eyes slowly lose focus. He turns grey, then white. He
drives and we watch the life seep out of him.

EXT. DUAL CARRIAGEWAY – NIGHT

Cars tear through the night along the carriage way, past a
Happy Eater. We pan round, across the motorway to a single
storey run-down Motel.

INT. MOTEL CHALET 17 – NIGHT

A crusty motel chalet. Yuri and Alexei are sitting on a double
bed counting the money. The T.V. is on in the corner with
the sound turned down and there are empty miniatures from
the mini-bar scattered around.

Nadia appears from the kitchenette area. They all seem more
relaxed, more themselves, as if what we’ve seen before was
an act. For the first time in the film their conversation
appears as English subtitles.

NADIA
So?

Alexei says “SSShhh” He is counting in his head. He stops.

ALEXEI
(to Yuri)
You first.

YURI
Fifty thousand. Almost exactly.

NADIA
Sixty four thousand, eight hundred.

ALEXEI
There’s over eighty thousand here.

They look at each other, absorbing the moment.

YURI
Sweet Jesus…

He lies back on the bed and chuckles.

ALEXEI
Put it in the cases. Split it up.
And don’t forget you owe me £150.

YURI
What for?

ALEXEI
You know what for.

YURI
No I don’t.

ALEXEI
I got you those trousers from Paul
Smith.

YURI
I’ve been buying you stuff all week.
I’ve been buying him stuff all week.

ALEXEI
Such as?

Nadia is smiling at them as they squabble.

YURI
When we went to the Hard Rock Cafe.
Who paid? When we went to see ‘Cats’.
Who paid?

ALEXEI
Those aren’t presents. That’s normal
friendship stuff

YURI
I paid for those guitar cases.

NADIA
What was ‘Cats’ like?

YURI
It was alright.

ALEXEI
Yeah it was okay.

YURI
Yeah. It was quite good actually.
Some bits I really liked.

ALEXEI
The sets were good.

YURI
The sets were excellent. Everything
was big, you know, all the rubbish,
coke cans, sweet wrappers, dustbins,
so when you were watching it you
felt cat size. It was really clever.

Yuri goes into the bathroom, leaving Nadia and Alexei alone
on the bed.

Alexei runs his hand across Nadia’s cheek.

ALEXEI
(softly)
So. How many times did you have to
fuck him?

INT. BATHROOM – NIGHT

Yuri in the bathroom, he undoes his flies pees. At the other
end of the bathroom, tied to the bidet, gagged, is John.

YURI
How you doing?

John refuses to meet his eye. Yuri flushes and wipes his
hands.

YURI
I’ll show you something. It should
make all this easier I think.

From his back pocket, Yuri takes out an old envelope. He
opens it and removes a dozen or so Polaroids.

John looks down at the first Polaroid. Nadia, Alexei and a
man John doesn’t recognise at a birthday party. There is a
cake with candles and everyone is smiling. The next picture
is the same. And the next.

Sometimes Germany, sometimes France, but otherwise the
pictures are the same, each ‘fiancee’ beaming with his arm
round Nadia, Alexei looking on.

John studies the faces of his fellow dupes and at last comes
to his own picture. Despite himself tears come to his eyes.

YURI
Not all these bastards were like
you, believe me. You should not too
feel bad.

Yuri takes John’s left hand and pulls off Nadia’s ring. He
puts it in his pocket.

INT. MOTEL BEDROOM – NIGHT

Alexei smokes on the bed. Nadia is lying the other way. She
holds her hand out for his cigarette and he passes it. They
have the relaxed air of longtime lovers.

Subtitles again.

NADIA
It’s enough isn’t it?

ALEXEI
What do you mean?

NADIA
You know what I mean babe, It’s
enough. We can stop.

ALEXEI
Do you want to stop?

NADIA
Yes.

ALEXEI
We’ll stop then.

They kiss. He takes her hand, and notices the tie marks on
her wrists.

ALEXEI
What’s this?

NADIA
It’s nothing. I burnt myself.

ALEXEI
That’s not a burn.

NADIA
It is. I did it cooking.

They sit there looking at each other.

ALEXEI
On both wrists?

Nadia looks back at him. The seconds pass.

NADIA
What? I did it cooking.

Alexei studies her face. She pulls a face. He keeps staring.

NADIA
What?

They sit there in silence. Alexei is so big, and she is so
small.

NADIA
Listen, I made you something.

Nadia leans over the bed, and searches in her bag. Alexei
watches her closely. She comes back up with the jumper she
has knitted.

NADIA
Put it on.

He looks at the jumper, then back at her.

NADIA
It’s taken me weeks. I want to see
you in it.

She starts pulling at his shirt. Eventually he pulls the
jumper on. It fits perfectly.

NADIA
Do you like it?

ALEXEI
Yeah.

He is still staring at her.

NADIA
Say thank you.

ALEXEI
Thank you.

She takes his hands. He is still looking at her. He strokes
his hair. He places his big hand around her throat and holds
it there, holding her at arms length. She doesn’t react, but
just looks levelly back at him. They sit like this for about
ten seconds, looking at each other.

NADIA
We’re going to have a baby.

Alexei seems not to relax. He keeps his hand there.

ALEXEI
What?

NADIA
You heard what I said. I’m pregnant.
I’ve been throwing up for weeks.

Alexei removes his hand. Now he seems shocked. He lights a
cigarette.

NADIA
We’re having a baby.

Pause.

ALEXEI
A baby? What are we supposed to do
with a baby?

NADIA
Name it.

She comes to him and holds him. He is still absorbing the
news.

We see Alexei’s face over her shoulder, behind her back,
unreadable. Behind his back she rubs her wrists.

INT. BATHROOM – NIGHT

Some hours later, it’s dark outside. John still tied to the
bidet. The door opens a crack and somebody slips inside. We
hear the toilet seat go down. As his eyes adjust he can dimly
see Nadia sitting on the toilet. She doesn’t look at him. As
she finishes she finally turns and holds his eye. She stands
and slips out the door, leaving him alone.

EXT. DUAL CARRIAGEWAY – NIGHT

Cars crawl by on the road outside, their tail-lights
stretching over the hill.

The shot processes and fades into dawn and light.

The early morning commuters now use the carriageway.

INT. BATHROOM – DAY

Bright sunlight pours through a high window. John is still
on the toilet. He begins to try to struggle free.

After a great deal of fierce deadpan shimmying and pulling,
he succeeds in loosening his bindings. Freeing an arm, he
yanks the duct tape from his mouth and sits there panting.

The first thing he does is take a pee, then he drinks handfuls
of water. He catches his reflection but can’t look at himself.

INT. MAIN ROOM – DAY

John collapses in an armchair, rubbing his eyes. He looks
shattered.

The Russians have gone.

INT. MOTEL BATHROOM – DAY

John in the shower, just standing there, letting the water
hit him.

INT. MOTEL MAIN SUITE – DAY

John dries himself in silence. He pulls on his trousers,
sits down to do his socks. One sock on, he walks to the
smaller bedroom. He opens the door and peers inside.

INT. SMALLER MOTEL BEDROOM – DAY

Tied to the radiator, gagged with duct tape, is Nadia.

John looks down at her. She looks away as her eyes fill with
tears.

He sits on the bed facing her. They stay like that for a
long moment before he reaches over and starts untying her
knots. He peels the tape off her mouth. Suddenly he slaps
her across the face.

Her head hits the radiator. Nadia gasps hard from the shock
of the blow. Without warning she slaps his face, equally
hard.

This starts a long silent fight; kicking, hitting, biting, a
real struggle.

Its intensity is almost sexual, but has the edge of real
violence. They end up on opposite sides of the room, both
panting, hurt and beaten.

NADIA
(in English)
Great. You’ve split my fuckin, lip.

John lies there on the floor, panting, and he hears the
English words.

Exhausted, John stands, wipes his mouth, and rushes her anew.
Nadia dodges out the way and cuffs him painfully on the ear.
The whole fight starts again and ends only when neither has
the strength to go on. Nadia staggers into the bathroom where
she shuts the door and begins to sob uncontrollably. John
lies on the bed listening to her cry.

EXT. DUAL CARRIAGEWAY – DAY

The mid morning traffic flows by on the dual carriageway.

INT. HAPPY EATER – DAY

Nadia and John sit in silence in the half empty diner. Nadia
has a cut lip and a graze on her chin. John has a Thousand
Yard Stare and a lesion over his left cheekbone.

The Waitress comes over.

WAITRESS
Good morning. What can I get you?

NADIA
I’ll have an espresso, with a small
pastry, a croissant or something.

WAITRESS
We only do a croissant with the
Continental breakfast.

NADIA
Just get me a coffee.

WAITRESS
One coffee. And for you Sir ?

John doesn’t answer.

NADIA
He’ll have a coffee.

The waitress leaves them. Nadia lights a cigarette and they
sit in tense silence, the pain of betrayal, and recent
violence, thick in the air.

JOHN
You can’t smoke in here.

Nadia ignores him. John bellows

JOHN
YOU CAN’T SMOKE IN HERE!

The diner falls silent, people stare. She takes a last drag
and crushes the butt on the floor. A waitress comes over and
puts down two coffees.

NADIA
I don’t expect you to understand.

It seems as if John has no intention of replying. He sips
his coffee, and puts it down. He begins speaking very calmly.

JOHN
Oh, I don’t know. In my job as Deputy
Assistant of New Business at the
bank would have to listen to the
problems of a great many individuals.
This took a lot of understanding and
sympathy, to try to work out solutions
to their problems. But, you see, I’m
not in that line of work anymore.
Nowadays I’m a bank robber.

NADIA
You don’t understand anything.

JOHN
I think that about covers it. I think
I have grasped the part about you
being dumped though. That’s got to
hurt, I imagine. That’s got to smart
a bit. I mean strictly in my
observer’s capacity it seemed you
two were getting on Pretty Fucking
Famously.

He sips his coffee.

JOHN
Unless. Unless this is part of the
routine. You get tied up, stick
around, distract me, they both bust
in and Steal My Cup Of Coffee.

NADIA
It’s makes it easier. Okay.

JOHN
I don’t want to know.

NADIA
It makes it faster. If I don’t speak
to the men, they fall faster. It’s
pretty obvious why.

JOHN
That’s a relief. It’s nice to know
I’m a regular guy.

Pause.

NADIA
So what are you going to do?

JOHN
I’m going to drink my coffee. Then,
we’re going to the police station.
Where there will be lawyers, loss of
job, house, humiliation, gutter press,
and probably prison.

NADIA
They don’t blame you. When a bank
employee does this they understand.
You get your life back. Anyway I bet
you hated that bank.

JOHN
Even so I always felt the decision
to burst in and rob it very much
remained with me.

NADIA
Why else would you send off for me?
If you just wanted sex just go to a
prostitute.

JOHN
Well as it turns out I did.

She slaps his face. He slaps hers back. The waitress comes
over.

WAITRESS
More coffee?

JOHN
Yes please.

NADIA
No.

She pours for John.

JOHN
Splendid. Thank you.

WAITRESS
Pleasure.

She smiles and leaves them. John watches her walk away.

NADIA
John, I need your help.

This really tickles John. He has to put his coffee down.

JOHN
You must think… I’m the biggest
pillock… In the world.

NADIA
No I don’t.

JOHN
In the world.

NADIA
I know you just want to punish me —

JOHN
I do. I want to very badly.

NADIA
So you’re just going to be vindictive

JOHN
In every sense. If at all possible.

NADIA
You can’t hurt me more than I’m hurt
already.

JOHN
Well, Nadia, It it’s all the same to
you, I’d like to give it a bash.

Pause.

NADIA
My name isn’t Nadia.

John stares back at her.

EXT. HAPPY EATER CAR PARK – DAY

John drags her by the arm across the car-park towards the
Rover.

EXT. OUTSIDE POLICE STATION

John drags her out of the Rover. She wrestles her arm free
and walks up the steps on her own, with some dignity. John
follows her.

INT. POLICE STATION DUTY DESK – DAY

They sit side by side in the waiting room, not talking. Nadia
looks resigned to her fate. John is tight-jawed, unyielding.

They wait as the the Duty Sergeant deals with a woman who’s
lost her hat.

NADIA
(quietly, to John)
Where’s the restroom?

JOHN
What?

NADIA
I’m going to be sick. Where’s the…

JOHN
What? No you’re not..

NADIA
I’m going… I am… I’m going to be
sick.

JOHN
(overlapping)
No you’re not. How… Nice one. How
dumb do you think I am ?

Nadia stands and addresses the Duty Sergeant.

NADIA
Where’s the restroom?

SERGEANT
The what, love?

NADIA
The toilet. Where’s…

SERGEANT
Down there on the left.

She heads off. John springs up. He seizes her arm as casually
as possible.

INT. POLICE STATION CORRIDOR – DAY

John frog marches Nadia down the corridor to the Ladies. She
wrestles her arm free again and disappears inside.

John lurks outside. He seems certain she’s got one leg out
the window RIGHT NOW.

He can’t bear it any longer. He looks both ways and nips
inside.

INT. LADIES – DAY

Standing in the Ladies, John hears Nadia in a cubicle,
throwing up. He hears the toilet flush.

Nadia comes out. He looks at her.

JOHN
You’re pregnant.

Nadia looks at the floor.

INT. POLICE CORRIDOR – DAY

John walks out of the toilet and stands against the wall of
the corridor. He looks both ways. After a few seconds Nadia
appears in the corridor. They stand there. John isn’t looking
at her.

A policeman appears from round the corner, and walks towards
them. He stops, and addresses John.

POLICEMAN
Can I help you?

John looks at the Policeman, then at Nadia. The seconds pass.

POLICEMAN
Sir? Can I help you?

John is still looking at Nadia — He closes his eyes.

JOHN
No.

EXT. OUTSIDE POLICE STATION – DAY

John walks back to the Rover, Nadia behind. They reach the
car. Nadia looks at John over the roof of the car.

NADIA
What are you doing?

John looks sick. He speaks very quietly.

JOHN
Get in the car.

He gets inside. Nadia is left standing there. She gets in
too.

INT. / EXT. JOHN’S CAR – DAY

John driving with Nadia in the passenger seat. She is looking
across at him.

He is taking no notice.

NADIA
Plenty of women have babies in prison.

John ignores her.

NADIA
(tersely)
You don’t have to do this. I can
look after myself.

JOHN
(flatly)
Have you got your passport?

NADIA
What?

JOHN
Shut up. Have you got your passport?

NADIA
Yes.

They drive along.

JOHN
We’ve got to get off this motor-way.

EXT. MOTORWAY JUNCTION – DAY

From above we watch the car turn off the motorway, around a
roundabout and into a country B road.

INT. CAR – DAY

John is turning the pages in his Road Atlas. He is trying to
drive and map read at the same time. Nadia is looking out of
the window. Soon a big tear rolls down her cheek. She starts
to cry.

John glances up from his map but ignores it. But she keeps
crying. He tosses the map in the back, pulls the car to the
side of the road and switches off the engine. As Nadia cries,
John gazes impassively out of the window. This goes on for
almost a minute, until Nadia pulls herself together, when
without looking across John restarts the engine and pulls
away.

EXT. COUNTRY ROAD – DAY

John’s car pulling off a B road, into a slip road into a
garage.

EXT. PETROL STATION – DAY

Stern-faced, John fills the car up with petrol. He eyes the
Closed-Circuit.

JOHN
Give me some money.

NADIA
I don’t have any money.

John stops squeezing petrol.

JOHN
What?

NADIA
I said I don’t have any.

John stares at Nadia. He eyes the CCTV.

JOHN
Give me your sunglasses.

Nadia passes them and John puts them on,trying to look casual.
He gives the pump a couple more squirts, hangs it up,
nonchalantly sidles up to his door.

In one move he opens it, dives in, turns the key in the
ignition. The Rover coughs. He tries it again. It howls,
barks and sneezes. The attendant comes out onto the forecourt
and starts approaching the yellow Rover.

Miraculously it roars throatily to life, he floors it and
the Rover tears away from the station and off down the road

INT. MOVING CAR – DAY

We see John at the wheel of his Rover, sunglasses on, wind
in his hair, fleeing from the scene of the crime. Nadia
watches him in the late sunshine, but John is too busy making
a getaway to notice.

EXT. COUNTRY LANE – DAY

John’s car shimmering as it comes over the brow of a remote
country lane, surrounded by fields and rolling hills.

INT. / EXT. CAR (MOVING) – DAY

Nadia puts a cigarette in her mouth and pops the dashboard
lighter. John takes the cigarette and throws it out the
window, followed by the lighter. Nadia just gazes out of the
window.

JOHN
So, uh, Alexei, which I know isn’t
his name…

NADIA
I don’t want to talk about him.

JOHN
Fine.

NADIA
It’s none of your business.

JOHN
Fine. Absolutely. Must be
disappointing though. Must come as a
hell of a shock.

Nadia ignores him.

JOHN
So uh…

NADIA
Look, if you want to know is he better
in bed than you then yes he is.

JOHN
Oh Jesus.

NADIA
If what you want to know is does he
have a bigger cock than you, then
yes he does.

JOHN
(overlapping — bigger)
Of course. Of course. Of course he
does. Of course. Thank you. Thanks.

NADIA
But, you know, so what?

They drive.

JOHN
It’s his baby I take it.

She doesn’t answer.

JOHN
Not the kids type then is he? Not
that broody. You must be pretty
miffed.

NADIA
He will come back.

JOHN
Excuse me?

NADIA
He left me my passport and ticket.
It’s pretty clear he wants to see me
again.

JOHN
Yeah. I tend to tie up and abandon
women I really want to see again
too.

NADIA
No. But you tend to tie them up.

John freezes. He looks across. Nadia gives nothing back.

JOHN
Fuck off.

Nadia is just looking at him.

JOHN
Fuck off. You started it.

She is just looking at him.

JOHN
I don’t want to talk about it.

NADIA
Why not?

JOHN
Shut up. I’m not listening.

NADIA
You don’t want to talk about it.

JOHN
No.

NADIA
Okay we won’t talk about it.

Nadia looks out the window.

NADIA
We’ll pretend it never happened.

JOHN
So. What’s it like having to fuck
men you hate?

NADIA
I don’t hate you.

JOHN
Okay. Let’s… Okay. Okay. You have
had sex with people you don’t like
haven’t you? For money. To make money.

NADIA
And? What are you saying?

JOHN
And. It’s wrong.

NADIA
And who says what is wrong.

JOHN
And that would be Morals. That would
be one’s own moral sense of decency.

NADIA
What’s a moral orgasm John? Tell me
how it feels exactly.

JOHN
So. What then? You just detach sex
from everything..

NADIA
Whereas “Wet ‘n’ Wild” is an emotional
journey. “Tied and Tethered”. It’s
pretty moving huh? Like Anna Karenina.

JOHN
Listen. I didn’t go rooting around
in your private stuff.

John remembers he did. Nadia looks across knowingly.

NADIA
Funny. Usually it’s the first thing
they do.

Pause.

JOHN
So what? Do you just switch off in
your head or do you imagine you’re
with him, or what?

NADIA
Sometimes.

JOHN
Sometimes which?

NADIA
Sometimes neither.

JOHN
Some… What does that mean?

NADIA
There’s nothing wrong in liking sex,
John.

JOHN
I don’t like sex. I don’t think I’ll
be having sex ever again.

NADIA
Why?

JOHN
Well, it’s just that the thought
trying to charm up an erection in
front of a woman, or alone for that
matter, makes me want to die.

NADIA
So now you hate all women?

JOHN
I think it’s my safest bet, don’t
you?

NADIA
Oh. I think you will recover okay. I
think you got what you paid for.

John looks across.

JOHN
What?

NADIA
You…

JOHN
I got what I paid for.

NADIA
You didn’t mind too much.

Pause.

JOHN
(quietly)
It wasn’t what I wanted.

NADIA
So what did you want? I think we
understand each other, no?

JOHN
(quietly)
You don’t understand me.

NADIA
You don’t understand you either.

John turns to her.

NADIA
It’s no big thing. You are the same
as most men. You are a man so you
are a savage. Not a monster, but
half animal. You put on a tie and
you go to the bank, but really you
are a beast. But also you are from
woman so you have a soul. Half beast,
half soul. But you hide your beast
in the bottom of the wardrobe. It’s
not so healthy. It’s fucked you up,
no?

John stops the car.

JOHN
Get out.

She sits there.

NADIA
Excuse me?

JOHN
Get out

NADIA
You are throwing me out.

JOHN
Get out.

She collects her bag from the back seat, her cigarettes,
gathers up her belongings, clicks open the door and gets
out, leaving the shot. John sits there staring ahead. We
hear her voice offscreen.

NADIA (O.S.)
You prefer your women mute.

John turns the key in the ignition. The engine bellows and
screams. Silence.

He tries again. The engine shrieks and wails like a soul in
torment. A terrible, mournful grinding noise. Silence.

NADIA (O.S.)
Car trouble?

John tries to start it. It lets out a whimper, a crying, a
few juddering moving sobs, and dies.

John sits in his dead car. He shakes his head. He rubs his
face. He sits there.

EXT. ROADSIDE VERGE – DUSK

The two of them on a verge ten feet apart. John stares into
the distance.

Nadia studies the map.

NADIA
It’s another twenty miles. It’s going
dark.

She gets her holdall from inside the car and stuffs the map
inside.

NADIA
What now?

Nadia scans the horizon with her binoculars. John watches
her.

JOHN
Jesus. You weren’t even on the plane.

Nadia lowers her binoculars and looks at John.

FLASHBACK – INT. AIRPORT – DAY

John watches the passengers stream out of the arrivals gate.
A woman is greeted and spun around.

Across the airport, Nadia lowers her binoculars. We pull
back to see she is standing next to Alexei.

They say goodbye in Russian. Even though we don’t see
subtitles, it’s a telling exchange. She kisses him, and he
watches her leave him and walk across the floor.

Alexei watches Nadia approach John, and see him shake her
hand.

They walk away together.

FLASHBACK – EXT. JOHN’S STREET – NIGHT

Alexei, dressed in a suit, stands outside John’s house,
looking up. Nadia is in the window, her lipstick smeared.
They gaze at each other.

EXT. DIFFERENT FOREST – NIGHT

In a clearing, John watches Nadia carry a pile of sticks to
a fire she is building. She lights it with her gun cigarette
lighter, and teases the flames to life.

EXT. FOREST – NIGHT

John and Nadia sit by the fire. She sits wrapped up to her
neck in a blanket.

NADIA
You know, in Russia, there’s no work
for women. It’s a different world.

JOHN
(interrupting on
“different”)
You don’t have to say anything

NADIA
(overlapping on “say”)
What? I… I wasn’t saying…

JOHN
(overlapping on
“saying”)
Please, there’s no… Oh.

NADIA
I wasn’t saying anything.

JOHN
Then okay.
(pause)
So how old were you when you met
him?

Pause.

NADIA
Fifteen. You don’t know him. He was
very kind and strong.

JOHN
Yeah. He’s a smashing bloke.

NADIA
The rest of the world, John, it’s
not all like St. Albans.

JOHN
Thank Christ for that.

NADIA
You are pretty naive if you think it
is.

JOHN
I’m pretty naive? Look at you. You
have to do all this, and what have
you got to show for it? Nothing.

NADIA
I don’t have nothing.

JOHN
Well what have you got?

Pause.

NADIA
I have my baby.

They sit there in the lapping firelight.

JOHN
Do you know if it’s a boy or a girl?

NADIA
No.

JOHN
Have you had any before?

NADIA
No.

JOHN
Are you scared?

NADIA
Not really. Maybe a little.

A fox cries out in the night.

NADIA
Listen. I think it’s a fox.

She listens. It cries out again. She gets out her binoculars.

NADIA
It sounds close.

She looks through them and searches the brush. John watches
Nadia with her binoculars. He looks suddenly very sad.

NADIA
I can’t see anything. It’s too dark.

She puts them back in her bag. John watches her. He sees her
wrist again. She lights a cigarette, and blows the smoke
into the air.

NADIA
What happened between you and the
blonde?

JOHN
What?

NADIA
The thin… the girl with small eyes.
The one in your cupboard.

JOHN
It’s none of your business. She didn’t
have small eyes.

NADIA
Did she leave you? Come on. It’s
nothing to be ashamed of. Who did
she leave you for? Your best friend?
Her boss? A woman? Did she leave you
for a woman, John?

JOHN
She’s dead.

Pause.

NADIA
I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt
you. I’m sorry. That’s awful. Forgive
me.

Pause.

NADIA
I’m sorry.

JOHN
I don’t know why I said that. She’s
not dead at all.

Nadia looks at John.

NADIA
What?

JOHN
I don’t know why I said it. I’m sorry.

NADIA
She’s alive?

Nadia starts to laugh. Long and loud. We have never seen her
laugh before.

NADIA
She’s alive!! She is not dead?

JOHN
Laugh it up.

She starts to cough. She gets on her hands and knees and
coughs like fury.

JOHN
You should stop smoking. You’re
pregnant. You smoke like a fucking
lab dog.

NADIA
I’m trying to quit.

JOHN
I’ve got news for you. It’s not
working.

NADIA
I smoke more these days. I smoke
more when I’m unhappy.

JOHN
Nobody’s that unhappy.

NADIA
Maybe I want to die. Don’t you want
me to die?

JOHN
I don’t want anyone to die.

NADIA
Except for Small Eyes.

JOHN
Except for Small Eyes.

She laughs again.

NADIA
So why did it end?

John thinks. It looks as if he’s going to tell the whole
story. In the end he shrugs.

JOHN
I don’t know.

NADIA
What was her name?

JOHN
What’s your name?

The fox cries out again.

NADIA
Listen. It’s definitely a fox. Now
I’m scared.

They listen to the fox crying in the night.

NADIA
You know you can come under the
blanket.

JOHN
It’s alright.

The scene from bird’s eye view. John lies back and stares at
the stars. Nadia curls up on the other side of the fire, and
hugs herself.

We push down closer and closer until we are on John’s face.
The theme returns.

The cricket boys from John’s Close stand in a line in the
middle of the street, bathed in flashing blue light. We pan
round and end on John’s house.

It is surrounded with Police.

Police cars, Police Vans, plastic police tape “POLICE LINE.
DO NOT CROSS.”

John’s neighbours press against the tape as officers come
and go.

Inside the house is full of police, ransacking his possessions
and dusting fingerprints. A policeman is standing reading
The English-Russian Dictionary.

We push on upstairs and along the landing to the spare room.

An officer dumps a pile of porno magazines and videos on the
bed. He then spots the belts tied to the bedstead and points
them out to a detective. They exchange a knowing grin. A
photographer steps up and snaps the paraphernalia in a
blinding flash.

The birthday cake is there, half eaten. A Policewoman puts
it in a baggy.

We pan across the bed, across the magazines and underwear in
plastic bags, down below the bed, where we find the photograph
of Nadia with the binoculars.

The young girl smiles hopefully out at us from the past.

Early dawn. A woodpigeon coos. John wakes up next to the
dead fire. Nadia is gone.

EXT. FOREST SLOPE / STREAM – DAY

John slides down a rocky slope. He scans the forest, but
there’s no-one around. He hurries through high bracken then
stops suddenly by a large oak.

EXT. STREAM – DAY

In a pool in a stream below, Nadia is washing herself. She
has her back to us.

John watches her for a moment, before his eyes avert, and
his head bows.

EXT. FIELD – DAY

A shimmering sun. A giant combine harvester cuts a wide swathe
through a field of high corn. As it passes we find John and
Nadia coming towards us through the heat haze.

They aren’t speaking and both look tired. As they pass we
crane up out of the corn to catch an enormous 757 Jumbo Jet
just above us, coming into land. We pan round to see, half a
mile away, the massive airport beyond.

They walk towards it, two tiny figures.

CUT TO:

Aeroflot 1311. Boarding Gate 12.

INT. AIRPORT – NIGHT

An attendant pushes a train of trolleys past. Businessmen
talk into mobile phones.

NADIA
I’ve got an hour. Can I buy you a
coffee?

JOHN
No. I think I better just go.

NADIA
Okay. Thank you.

JOHN
Whatever.

Nadia hesitates. There’s just a touch of regret in this
goodbye.

NADIA
John. These are for you.

She hands him the binoculars case.

JOHN
Yeah. No thanks.

NADIA
Please. Why not?

JOHN
Because it was a lie.

She smiles.

NADIA
No it wasn’t.

John shrugs. He takes them.

NADIA
Goodbye.

John nods and turns. Nadia watches him walk away.

INT. / EXT. AIRPORT EXIT – NIGHT

On the other side of the airport, John stands in front of
the exit to the taxi ranks. He’s got nowhere to go. Passengers
swirl around him.

He looks at the binocular in his hands. He removes the
binoculars and looks at them. Suddenly he stops. In the case
is a folded note marked John. John holds it in his hands —
Slowly, deliberately, he screws it up, and drops it in the
case like a bin.

P.O.V. OF JOHN

Through the binoculars. Passengers criss-cross, but we find
Nadia sitting alone, waiting for her call.

John lowers the binoculars and gazes across the airport. He
raises them for one last look.

Nadia, glimpsed through the crowd. We spy someone standing
about twenty feet behind her. It is Alexei.

We watch Alexei approach her. She looks up and is completely
thrown.

Yuri stands about ten feet away, in shades.

John lowers the binoculars, horrified. He looks again.

Nadia pulls her arm away. Alexei crouches down in front of
her and puts a hand on her knee, coaxing her.

Alexei takes her by the arm and leads her away.

EXT. AIRPORT – NIGHT

John hurries out of the exit to catch the trio leaving a
different exit fifty yards away, where they get into a taxi.

EXT. AIRPORT – NIGHT

John runs across a car park and over a low fence.

EXT. SLIP ROAD TO AIRPORT – NIGHT

He chases down a slip road, as the taxi rounds the corner
behind us. He takes cover behind a van as they drive past,
and away.

EXT. GRASS VERGE – NIGHT

John runs across a grass verge and another car park. He sees
the taxi rounding the corner and head down the road in front
of him.

John runs as fast as he can up this road, but the taxi is
getting away. Eventually he gives up, and he drives away.

EXT. ROUNDABOUT – NIGHT

At the roundabout it turns round and starts coming back up
the road. John hides behind a car, and watches the taxi pull
up outside a small hotel about fifty yards away. He watches
the trio head into the hotel.

EXT. HOTEL PERIMETER – NIGHT

John skirts around the edge of the hotel. He peers in through
one of the windows. It’s the foyer. He heads around the back.

EXT. BACK OF HOTEL – NIGHT

At the back of the hotel he looks through another couple of
windows. Suddenly he drops like he’s been shot, and sits on
the grass.

Warily he looks again.

EXT. / INT. THE VIEW THROUGH THE WINDOW

Alexei stands smoking in the middle of the room. Nadia is
sitting in a chair crying.

Alexei kneels again and appeals to her. Nadia is resisting
and yells back, but something Alexei says seems to melt her
resolve.

He holds her face, and kisses it. She turns her face. He
tries again, and this time she accepts the kiss. Slowly she
kisses him back.

EXT. OUTSIDE ALEXEI’S SUITE – NIGHT

John stares through the window at the scene.

INT. INSIDE ALEXEI’S SUITE – NIGHT

In the room, Yuri pops his head round the door and says
something to Alexei.

Alexei says he’s coming. He kisses Nadia again and leaves.

Nadia is alone. She looks very sad and confused. She moves
towards the window and stares out into the blackness.

EXT. OUTSIDE ALEXEI’S SUITE – NIGHT

John’s face at the window. Almost cheek to cheek with Nadia.

INT. INSIDE ALEXEI’S SUITE – NIGHT

Inside the room, looking out. It is pitch black.

EXT. OUTSIDE ALEXEI’S SUITE – NIGHT

John watches Nadia walk over to the dresser and search the
drawers. She goes over to the bed and looks under the pillow.
There she finds what she is looking for. Alexei’s hunting
knife.

She hears Alexei coming and stands hard against the window.
the huge knife behind her back.

EXT. OUTSIDE ALEXEI’S SUITE – NIGHT

John outside. He is four inches from the knife.

JOHN
Oh Jesus.

John ducks down, panting, swallowing hard. At once he springs
up and skirts the building again. He finds a window to the
next suite.

He tries to force it open. Suddenly Yuri’s face appears in
the window, cupped by his hands peering out into the
blackness. John drops down holds his breath.

John scrambles back to the previous window. With real effort
he presses it open. He pulls himself up and drops inside.

INT. ALEXEI’S BEDROOM – NIGHT

Nadia still stands by the window, one hand behind her back.
Alexei sits on the bed. The scene is subtitled.

ALEXEI
I love you. I don’t need to tell you
that.

Nadia looks at the floor.

ALEXEI
I wouldn’t leave my child would I?
You know that. I was confused. That’s
all.

INT. ALEXEI’S BATHROOM / HALLWAY – NIGHT

John opens the bathroom door a crack. He is at the opposite
end of a corridor from the bedroom. He can hear Alexei’s
voice.

Breathing hard, he tiptoes out and stands in the corridor,
his back pressed hard against the wall. He takes one step
down the hall. The floor creaks loudly.

INT. ALEXEI’S SUITE – NIGHT

ALEXEI
It wasn’t easy for me. You know what
I’m like. I needed to know what I
wanted. Now I know. It’s simple. I’m
happy.

INT. ALEXEI’S SUITE HALLWAY – NIGHT

John takes another step down the hallway. There, by the door
are the two guitar cases full of money. Next to them is
Nadia’s bag. Crouching, John opens the bag and searches
inside. He finds what he is looking for; the Silver Cigarette
Lighter-Pistol.

We hear the Russian lovers’ voices next door. John is
absolutely terrified, breathing hard and shaking, holding
the little gun.

INT. ALEXEI’S SUITE – NIGHT

ALEXEI
You still love me? Eh? Of course you
do. Come here. Yuri won’t be here
for a while. Come on babe.

He takes his shirt off — Nadia glances up — With horror,
she sees John in the doorway.

Alexei turns to see John stand by the door, holding a little
silver gun.

NADIA
What are you doing here?

John and Nadia look at each other.

ALEXEI
What the fuck is he doing here?

He looks at the little gun.

ALEXEI
That’s that cigarette lighter I gave
you isn’t it?

Alexei stands. John takes a step back. Alexei walks calmly
towards John and throws a punch. It catches John right on
the chin and he hits the wall and goes down very fast.

NADIA
Stop.

Alexei turns round to see Nadia holding the knife. He is
dumbstruck.

ALEXEI
What? What are you doing?

NADIA
(to John)
What are you doing here?

Alexei kicks John in the ribs.

NADIA
(in Russian)
Stop it!

He looks at Nadia, the girl he came back for, angrily pointing
the knife at him. He suddenly looks completely punctured.
John has struggled up again and stands behind him. They are
both looking at Nadia.

ALEXEI
What. You’re what? You’re with this
creep now.

NADIA
Leave him!

ALEXEI
You have. You’ve actually fallen for
this prick.

NADIA
No I haven’t.

Alexei looks dumbstruck. He laughs emptily

ALEXEI
Babe it’s me. I won’t let you get
away.

Nadia stares back at him. The seconds pass. She speaks in a
whisper.

NADIA
I’ll kill you if you try.

In the impasse, John picks up a lamp and hurls it at Alexei’s
head. It is going to hit him, but reaches the length of its
cord and stops six inches short. In the confusion. Alexei
grabs Nadia’s wrist and forces her to the ground. He grabs
the knife, just as John brains him with one of the guitars.
It emits a fruity final chord.

INT. HOTEL CORRIDOR / ALEXEI’S SUITE – NIGHT

Whistling, Yuri comes out of his suite, knocks briskly on
the door of Alexei’s and enters. We walk with him down the
hallway into the bedroom to find Alexei, heartbroken, tied
and bound to a desk chair.

Yuri murmurs something in Russian.

SUBTITLE
Fuck a duck.

CUT TO:

INT. ALEXEI’S SUITE – NIGHT

Nadia stands at the window and stares at her reflection, or
past it into the blackness.

NADIA
Get their passports.

John finishes tying up Yuri, and removes his passport from
his jacket. Behind Nadia another plane arcs up into the night
sky.

He takes Alexei’s passport from his pocket, but Alexei is
only watching Nadia.

ALEXEI
Don’t do this.

She carefully places tape across his mouth.

Almost as if having second thoughts she bends down to kiss
his cheek. The ‘kiss’ suddenly makes Alexei’s eyes widen in
pain. As she stands her lips are bloody. She’s bitten him on
the cheek. A single streak of blood runs from the gash.

NADIA
(to John)
Get your money.

John collects the cases and they head for the door. Nadia
stops to look back at Alexei. A final look.

EXT. AIRPORT – NIGHT

The front of the terminal. Taxis pull up and idle at a rank,
bringing travelers to their flights. The automatic doors
slide back and forth.

INT. AIRPORT CHECKING IN DESK – NIGHT

ANNOUNCEMENT (V.O.)
Last Call for Aeroflot flight 1311
to Moscow. Proceed immediately to
Gate 12.

John carries the guitar cases full of money. Nadia just has
her small camouflaged hold all. They walk quickly together
in silence and come to a stop at the departure lounge gate
12.

JOHN
Are you okay?

She nods.

JOHN
Okay. Goodbye.

NADIA
Goodbye.

They shake.

JOHN
What will you do now?

Nadia shrugs.

NADIA
Something else.

JOHN
Okay. Promise?

She looks at him.

NADIA
Promise.

They stand around. She takes the last cigarette from a pack.

JOHN
You can probably buy them on the
flight.

NADIA
I’m quitting. This will be my last
one. So. Goodbye.

JOHN
Goodbye.

NADIA
You didn’t deserve me John Buckingham.

JOHN
Whatever.

NADIA
I’m sorry.

JOHN
Please.

Pause.

NADIA
You prefer your women…

She seems about to say something more when the tannoy
interrupts.

ANNOUNCEMENT (V.O.)
Gate closing for Flight 1311 to
Moscow. Please have your tickets
ready.

She leans forward and kisses him. As they kiss, John puts a
guitar case in her hand. Nadia looks down at the case.

NADIA
It’s not mine.

JOHN
It’s not mine either.

NADIA
It’s what you came back for.

John frowns and looks a little embarrassed.

She speaks to him in Russian and we see the subtitles.

NADIA
(in Russian)
You’re a big surprise, you know.

Pause.

JOHN
Yeah, you see when I said I didn’t
speak Russian I wasn’t actually just
making it up.

She leans forwards and whispers in his ear. John looks at
her. He looks to the four corners of the airport. And back
at her.

JOHN
Why?

NADIA
I’m not asking you to marry me.

JOHN
No. What? No. I know.

NADIA
It’s more like a date.

JOHN
It’s a long way to go for a date.

NADIA
Tell me about it.

Pause. She speaks softly in Russian. We see the subtitle:

NADIA
All that matters is to try…

John frowns.

NADIA
(in Russian)
We can only try. Say it.

John repeats the phrase in Russian.

JOHN
What does it mean?

NADIA
Maybe you will find out.

Pause. Nadia kneels and opens the guitar case. She stealthily
removes about five hundred.

NADIA
Hurry. I’ll wait for you here.

JOHN
Right.

INT. TICKET SALES – NIGHT

John runs across the airport to the ticket desk. He joins a
queue of about three people. He works his way to the front.

JOHN
Is the flight full?

OFFICIAL
I’m sorry Sir. I believe the flight
is closed.

JOHN
Please check. Is it full? Please
could you check.

BACK TO:

INT. AIRPORT – NIGHT

Nadia stands alone holding her unlit cigarette, thinking.
She looks at the two guitar cases at her feet. She looks
across at John, anxiously drumming on the ticket sales
counter. What is she thinking?

INT. TICKET SALES – NIGHT

CLOSE SHOT on the photo of Yuri in his passport.

The Aeroflot desk official holds the passport and studies at
John. With his four day beard there is a resemblance, but
it’s far from perfect.

OFFICIAL
You have excellent English.

JOHN
Thanks.

OFFICIAL
How do you want to pay?

JOHN
Cash.

John collects his ticket, turns and heads back to where he
left Nadia with the guitar cases. He suddenly stops.

She’s gone.

He looks all around. People swirl about. She’s nowhere to be
seen.

John hangs his head. He turns, and walks away.

INT. AIRPORT CAFE – NIGHT

John sits at a cafe table, and watches the people come and
go. He looks strangely calm, resigned.

CLOSE UP: John’s fingers uncrumple the note from the
binoculars case. He smooths it on the table, then opens it.

Inside is written a short phrase in Russian:

Kam Kapsi Schta.

John looks at the note. He folds it closed and surveys the
airport for an exit.

Through the crowd, fifty feet away, getting a light off two
policeman; it’s her.

Nadia blows out smoke, and speaks to the policeman. John
watches her. He smiles.

Suddenly she turns and points straight at John. The Policeman
look straight at him. As they head towards him, Nadia picks
up the cases and walks away.

John sits frozen as the Police approach.

POLICE 1
Excuse me Sir…

He takes John by the arm. John stands.

POLICE 2
Okay. Come with us now.

POLICE 1
He doesn’t speak English. He’s
epileptic or something.

POLICE 2
Can he walk? Can you walk?

The Policeman help John to the front of the gate, where he
is shown to the front of the queue. The Policeman explains
to the airline staff.

We see that Nadia is one behind in the queue. The Police
turn and walk away.

INT. AIRPORT BOARDING GATE – FLIGHT 1311 TO MOSCOW – DAY

John pushes his passport and ticket under the perspex window.
He glances at Nadia, then looks at the young airport official,
the blood beating in his ears.

For a few interminable seconds the official’s eyes burn into
John. John turns to Nadia and holds her gaze.

JOHN
Kam. Kapsi. Schta.

The subtitle appears: You’ve saved me.

Nadia looks down at the floor. She smiles.

CLOSE SHOT: The passport is snapped shut and pushed back
through.

INT. AIRPORT BOARDING CORRIDOR – DAY

John walks without looking back. He turns to see Nadia is
behind him. As they round the corner, she hands him a case.

They walk side by side without speaking.

Both look forward, straight-faced, as it both are thinking
about what it is that they are actually doing. John looks
back once, but he keeps walking. He looks across at Nadia,
but she doesn’t look back.

They stop opposite the automatic boarding doors. Nadia turns
to John.

NADIA
My name’s Sophia.

JOHN
Sophia. Hello Sophia. Mine’s still
John.

SOPHIA
Hello John.

The doors slide open. John and Sophia walk through, and
disappear.

SFX. The roar of Jet engines.

EXT. AIRPORT RUNWAY – NIGHT

With a deafening roar, an Aeroflot Boeing 757 lifts slowly
from the runway and climbs up into the night sky, where it
becomes a distant star.

EXT. FIELD – DAY

A distant aeroplane in a cobalt blue sky, through binoculars.

The young girl from the very first scene lowers the binoculars
and lets them hang around her neck. She squints up at the
sun.

A voice calls her.

WOMAN’S VOICE
Nadia!

The girl looks round.

WOMAN’S VOICE
Nadia!

She runs past us and we follow to see a couple sitting on
the grass having a picnic.

The girl hurries towards them and we realise the couple are
John and Sophia, the girl her child. She sits down with them.

THE END[amazonjs asin=”B004SK4V1W” locale=”JP” title=”バースデイ・ガール DVD”]




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