Movie Pitch #19 [Dir. David Fincher] – ‘That money dies, I’ll…’
Genre: Existential thriller
Setting: Romania, Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, Spain
Characters: Man [Ryan Gosling], Receptionist [Diane Kruger], Science fiction writer [Vincent Cassel], Jazz Singer [Michelle Williams]
There is a man lying in the bath. On the floor next to the tub is a bag that seems to be packed full of money. The man stares at it. Then at the window. Then at the walls. There is a painting of the colour black on one of the walls. He continues to stare at it. Music comes from another room. Is it the same room or the one next to it? The man dries one of his hands using only his fingers and then puts the hand over his face and pushes himself under the water. He stays there for a few minutes, maybe more as the camera speeds up a little or shifts, then comes back up. He doesn’t breathe heavily, he isn’t panicked. He gets out of the bath, picks up the bag of money and exits the bathroom.
Huh? He goes into the bedroom and the music is louder. There is a woman lying on the bed, and when she sees him she smiles and asks if there’s still water in the tub. The man says, ‘sure.’ She gets up and points back at the map she left on the table. ”I’ve been planning out our route.’ The man says nothing. ‘Yeah, tomorrow I think it’s best if we head to Budapest. Get the overnight train, arrive sometime early morning.’ The man looks at the map and says, ‘what about Zagreb?’ The woman says no, Zagreb is no good. ‘But I wanna go to Zagreb,’ the man says. ‘Well, if you wanna go like a thousand million miles off course and pay for it then sure, let’s go.’ The man stares at her. ‘Whatever…’ he says. The woman goes into the bathroom and we hear her singing along to the music. The man lies down on the bed, looking over at his bag of money, then at the i-pod playing the music. He listens for a few seconds then gets up, picks up a pen from the table and disappears into the bathroom.
And then? He’s on a train, and it’s dark outside. The man is alone now, with his bag of money on the seat next to him. The tannoy comes on and tells him Zagreb is the next stop.
Next…the man walks around Zagreb and books into a hostel. He talks to the two women on the reception desk for a while. They are both young and seem to like him. He tells them they should all go out, have a few drinks. They say they can’t, they have to work. He smiles at one of them and then leaves.
More walking? Not exactly. He sits in a cinema watching a Croatian film without subtitles. It’s unclear if he knows what is happening on screen, but there is a car driving around Belgrade, being chased by police cars. The man watches, transfixed. After the film, he goes out and walks around the streets. Another man walks up to him and asks in broken English for money, but the man waves him away with his hand. As he walks away the other man says, ‘Look at me…I’m a homosexual…big gay man.’ The man stops walking briefly, doesn’t turn round then keeps on going. Back at the hostel there is only one woman in reception now and he talks to her again. He asks her where the last five years have gone. She laughs but doesn’t understand. He stands up and walks over to her and takes her hand. ‘Are you still working now?’ She pulls her hand away and says, yes, always working.
Then…the man lies on his bed, with three other women sleeping in the other beds. It’s a four bed dorm, if you didn’t know. He looks down at the bed below and sees the girl looking at him. He says quietly, ‘are you not tired?’ She gets out of bed and looks at him more closely, and seems to like what she sees. The man climbs down from the bunk and takes her hand and leads her out of the room.
Where to now? They have sex in one of the hostel bathrooms. After they’re done the man washes his hands then walks out. He goes back to the reception desk and talks to the same woman as before. She asks him if he’s okay. ‘I couldn’t sleep,’ he says. She smiles and says she wishes she could. The man walks closer and tries to take her hand again, but she says, ‘hey, what are you doing?’ He tells her he missed her, and he wanted to come and see her. He tries to take her hand again, but she picks up the phone and says she’ll call the police. The man backs off and leaves the room.
The next morning…the man wakes up and looks around the room. The other beds are empty. It looks like they haven’t been slept in. He gets up and takes a shower and then gets ready to leave. As he walks back past the bathroom he sees the receptionist cleaning the sink. He goes in and closes the door. ‘Hey, open the door,’ she says. He doesn’t. Instead he takes out some money from his bag and asks her if she wants it. She looks at it and asks how much. He throws it over and she counts it and seems satisfied. He moves closer and starts touching her on the shoulder and then the chest.
Next…the man and the receptionist are now on the train together. Neither one of them looks particularly happy, but there they are anyway. The bag of money is next to the man, and the woman has her eyes fixed on it. The tannoy comes on and says the next stop is Ljubljana.
Then…the man and the woman have sex in a hotel room. After they’re done, the woman gets up and takes some money from the bag, and takes the chance to see how much is in there. The man puts a hand out to stop her. ‘I just wanna know how much…’ The man tells her it’s unimportant. ‘What do you mean? ‘ He doesn’t answer.
Later…the man meets another man and woman in the hotel lobby. They are a couple and the woman tells the man that she is playing in a jazz club later that night. ‘You sing?’ The man asks. ‘She sings like a goddess, ‘ her boyfriend answers. ‘Like Annie Lennox.’
That night…the man and the receptionist sit in the jazz bar watching the woman sing. The boyfriend sits next to them and tells the man that he’s writing a science fiction novel. ‘What’s it about?’ The boyfriend doesn’t answer, he’s too busy listening to his girl. The receptionist leans over and tells the man they should take some of that money and go to the casino. The man doesn’t respond, he seems to be increasingly hypnotised by the singer on stage. The receptionists says she’s bored and that they should leave. ‘Jazz is for weirdoes,’ she says. The man grabs her arm as she tries to leave and tells her to sit down. She does. He leans in and tells her jazz is beautiful, and the money he has is only for the fucking.
Then…back at the hotel, the receptionist and the man have sex again, but the man doesn’t seem to be having a great time. The woman stops while on top of him and asks him what’s wrong? He says it’s the same as before. ‘We’ve only done it three times,’ she says. He doesn’t answer. She tries to move a little to try and get him excited but it doesn’t work. ‘Goddamn it, do something.’ He stares at her and then throws her off the bed. She tries to get to her feet but he’s on top of her, using some kind of wire to strangle her. It takes a minute or two, but finally she’s dead. He lets go and sits on the edge of the bed and tells the woman she’s lucky.
The next day…the man knocks on the door of the jazz singer and her boyfriend and they invite him in. He tells them his girlfriend has left him and he doesn’t know what to do. They say, hey, don’t worry, you can travel with us for a while.
Montage…the three of them go from Ljubljana to Venice to Verona to Milan to Genoa and then onto the ferry to Barcelona. The map from the Indiana Jones films appears on the screen as they travel. All three of them seem to be having a good time at first, but by the time they get to the ferry the boyfriend is starting to become more and more distant.
In Barcelona…they go from bar to bar to bar, with the man paying for everything using the money from his bag. The boyfriend asks him how much damn money is in that thing, and the man replies, ‘enough.’ ‘Well, how much is enough?’ The man stares at him but says nothing. Back at the hotel room, the man, the singer and the boyfriend have more drinks in their room until the boyfriend goes to the bathroom and falls asleep. The man asks the singer if she ever gets tired of being with the same guy, and she says sometimes. The man tells her he has enough money for them to travel forever, as a couple, and she laughs. ‘No, I’m serious,’ he says, grabbing her hand. She tries to pull away, and tells him she’s gonna see if the boyfriend is okay, but the man won’t let her go. He pulls her down onto the bed and climbs on top of her.
The next morning…the boyfriend wakes up in the bathroom and rubs his head. He remembers the drinking from the night before and the man trying to get close to his girl, so he stands up and walks into the bedroom. The man is sitting on the edge of the bed, with the body of the singer behind him, her neck clearly pointing the wrong way. The boyfriend goes nuts and attacks him, but the man easily puts him on the floor. He sits on top of him and tells him his science fiction novel is crap, and he will always write crap. The boyfriend struggles to get free, but the man has a tight grip of him. He tells him again that he can’t write for shit, and that he can go into details if he wants. ‘You’re insane,’ the boyfriend screams. The man shakes his head and lets go of him. ‘I’m not insane,’ he says. ‘I’m free.’ The boyfriend grabs the TV and tries to throw it at the man but is too slow. The man knocks the TV out of his hand, picks up the boyfriend by the throat and tells him, ‘You’re lucky,’ before throwing him through the window and onto the street ten floors below.
The end? The man sits on a train alone with the bag of money next to him. A woman is sitting opposite him, and she notices the bag of money. The man stares at her with a bored look, then reaches into the bag and takes out a lot of notes. He throws them at the woman and she picks them up, confused. The man stands up and touches her on the shoulder.