Backgammon (2015) Script

Good morning. Hey.

You mean, good afternoon?

Afternoon.

A bacon sandwich?

No.

A bacon sandwich?

No, thanks.

You should.

It'll make you feel better.

Things haven't exactly turned out well after last night.

Somehow I guessed they wouldn't have.

Andrew left a note to say that he was so embarrassed by me and Gerald that he is going back to school early.

He said that I'm, "the stupidest person he has every met," and that he will meet you at college.

Gerald's left as well.

Or rather...

I threw him out last night.

I'm sure he won't be returning either.

That's good.

I know it is.

Are you sure?

Yes...

Yes.

Intellectually and emotionally, I'm sure.

But...

I've relied on the bastard for the last five years.

So it feels pretty strange.

Leaves all kinds of complications.

And what about Beth?

I saw her on the stairs this morning.

I caught up with her halfway down, so you probably wouldn't have heard the poor girl expressing her opinions.

She got up on her own, I guess.

She was looking for you.

She saw the two of us.

You did tell her it wasn't what it looked like.

Of course I tried.

She wasn't in the mood to listen.

I meant to go up to her, but we started playing cards...

And the door was locked.

Fucking door was locked.

I'm so screwed.

Perhaps it's for the best.

No.

You may be happy to be rid of Gerald, but I'm not so happy to lose Beth.

I...

I should call her.

Do you love her?

Yes. I think so.

No, really. Do you?

Is it really the end of the world that she thinks you've been unfaithful?

If you're meant to be together, you'll get over this.

Don't worry, she isn't gonna say anything to anyone.

She'd look stupid.

You're welcome to stay here as long as you'd like.

No matter how bad things seem right now, they'll be a little easier by tonight.

And tomorrow they'll be even better still.

Doesn't change the fact that I'll still have to call her.

How pathetic will you sound?

If she really loves you, she'll come back and ask for your side of the story.

Let her prove her love.


Hey. Hey, what's up?

Uh, nothing.

I was looking for you. Oh.

Listen, I think I'm gonna head back to the dorm, first thing tomorrow.

Really? Yeah.

You just got here.

Yeah, I know, but I can't stand it anymore is the problem.

What do you mean?

This is your house.

You like it here. It's why we came. Yeah, I know.

But it's my sister's boyfriend, that fuckhead.

I didn't know that he'd be here.

I can't stand the guy.

He's not a bad artist.

He's a pretentious asshole is what he is.

All he fucking does is quote French poetry.

Anyway, I know that you won't get to see Elizabeth again for a while, so you two can stay if you want.

No, if you're leaving we'll leave as well, so...

Come on. No.

I can't.

But you two stay. That's fine.

And you don't think you're sister won't mind?

Miranda?

No.

She could care less about anything.

Come on, it's just one more night.

Okay, listen, can we step away from the nude paintings of my sister, please?

Let's go.

By the way, Elizabeth is over there by herself with those two.

So, hurry up.

Let's go. Yeah.

Green shadows, the moist evenings of summer.

The man's depth of thought.

Shut the fuck up, Gerald. Expressions...

He's always quoting, as my British uncle would say, "bloody, Baudelaire."

Hey, Gerald? Hmm?

Did the moist green shadows remind you of that quote, or did the quote create them?

Hey, Lucian, just be quiet.

He's too tedious.

Oh, you do embarrass me with your compliments.

Oh, my god, you're far too self-obsessed.

It's the height of bad manners to leave your guests to entertain themselves.

Good bye, Andrew. Fuck you.

Andrew!

Ugh! Well...

I need a new drink.

A real one.

This is getting far too...

Terrible.

Yeah, you know what?

I'm actually, I'm gonna go upstairs.

Even though it's early, I'm going to bed.

I'll be there in a minute.

I hope Elizabeth appreciates that Gerald was just trying to upset her.

You shouldn't give him that satisfaction.

Yeah.

She seems a bit high-strung.

Maybe.

I don't know.

I mean, convincing her to come wasn't easy, but until a few moments ago, things were going great.

What's the problem between you two?

There's no problem.

Of course there is.

I'm not stupid.

I just have to be back at school on Monday.

I won't see her for a while.

I thought she was at Yale with you and Andrew.

No, not quite. She's...

She's at Berkley.

Other side of the country.

Hmm.

Are you trying to keep your relationship going long distance?

We're trying. Hmm.

I should go see if Beth is all right.

Oh, I think she's just fine.

I might turn in early as well, I'm tired and I need some sleep.

Ahh, sleep.

Every evening's sinister adventure.

Well, thank you. I'll see you guys later.

Hmm.

Lucian?

I'm sorry.

You don't have to baby me, it's all right.

Go hang out with Gerald.

I don't wanna hang out with Gerald.

Why not? He's an artist, just like you want to be.

I don't want to be an artist.

You changed your major to art.

Art history. I told you.

I haven't officially changed it yet.

I was just thinking about it.

What are you gonna do with an art history degree?

With an engineering degree, your dad could get you a job right after college.

I mean, you wanted that, right?

I don't know.

You sound stupid.

Like already in college, just decide.

You've changed.

Well, it's been five months.

So, yeah...

I have changed a little bit.

But it's still me.

Five months ago, you wouldn't have wanted anything to do with somebody like Gerald, or Miranda...

Come on. He's just trying to get a reaction out of us.

And if we run away, he wins.

We can't let that asshole win.

Right?

I don't care.

I don't know him. I don't even know what we're doing here.

I thought it would be fun.

Come on...

We could still go get dinner in town.

Maine clams, lobster...

Let's get out of here for a while.

No. No. No.

I'm not hungry, I'm exhausted.

How ls Elizabeth?

Oh, she's all right. We were just...

Wondering what to do about dinner tonight.

Well!

What wonderful events have we planned for this evening?

It's lovely to see that you haven't gone to bed yet.

I was about to...

Not before we've consumed vast quantities of alcohol, right?

We've been drinking all day, and yesterday.

Oh...

We've hardly even started, Lucian.

Oh, some for me.

Here we go.

Here you go.

That right.

There you go, my dear.

Who... well...

I propose a game of cards.

Oh, I don't know, I...

Huh?

What?

I guess I can play for a few minutes, yeah.

That's right.

That's good.

So...

What should we play for? Hmm?

I didn't realize we were playing for anything.

Of course you are.

But I warn you, all Gerald will play is poker.

He doesn't do anything unless he can make money at it.

What about his art'?

Well, his reason for painting me is that it turns him on.

You see, it also turns other people on and they pay him large amounts of money for the erotica that I pose for.

Look at her.

She's posing now.

It's quite a convenient arrangement, really.

So, you always paint Miranda?

Well, I am the only inspiration for his art.

It annoys him, though, because he hates not being given complete credit for his work.

That's not true. Of course it is!

No, it's not... You're wandering around with your head in self-generated clouds of hot air, until someone says to you, "well, if it wasn't for Miranda, would you be as good a painter?"

Whatever makes you happy, my dear.

Why don't you just try painting someone else?

Or something other than nudes?

Well, he has. But as I said...

I'm the only inspiration for his art.

Anything else he tries to paint just comes out worth less.

Deal the cards.

Treat him nicely.

I will treat him however the hell I want.

He comes here, eats our food, drinks our wine, enjoys our company.

He ask impertinent questions about my art.

He's like your so-called brother, Miranda.

A parasite.

But then again, aren't you like him?

For aren't all the lovers of great men but parasites?

She's nice, isn't she?


Should I leave?

This damn pen doesn't work.

Ah.

Use matches.

Thank you.

All right.

Each one of these will be worth $5.

All right?

Fine, but I can only play a couple hands, and then I have to go to bed.

I thought Elizabeth was coming down.

Let's do this.

Hmm?

Check.

Okay. Okay.

Call.

Three of a kind.

How many did you say?

Two you and two for me.

One... two.

Call.

All right then. Call.

Sorry about that.

No, you're not.

Yes he is, but he shouldn't be.

Double or quits, underhand.

Sorry. Bastard!

Again!

Deal and drink.

Ooh.

He's a gambling man.

One, two, three, four, five.

What are you gonna do?

One, two, three...

I win! -I mean, why don't we just quit now?

We're not gonna quit, I need a drink.

You've drunk too much.

What do you know?

Beloved Brandy.

Now, let's see if Brandy changes my luck.

We'll see, won't we, dear?

Won't we see?

Yes.

Won't we, dear? Yes.

Won't we see?

Give that back, you bastard. Not until you stop swearing.

Asshole.

Well, now, you're definitely not gonna get it back. Give it back to me!

Will you'? No, you won't!

Give it! Okay!

"Peter Walsh got up and crossed the win-" give it here! Go fetch it!

Go fetch it!

You started that game of cards, you fucking finish it!

Okay, okay, Miranda.

Asshole.

Let's go again.

Now, deal the cards.

They're dealt.

Well...

Well, Brandy's done the trick, hasn't it?

Hasn't it, Miranda? Huh?

This time it'll be all that money.

Against all of my canvases.

They're not all yours to give away, are they?

All the paintings in the house are of Miranda.

But she doesn't own them.

Do you?


Well...

That's everything then.


He can have it all back, I don't want it.

We've obviously all had too much to drink and- oh, bullshit.

No, we haven't had nearly enough.

And no, you won everything fairly.

It's all rightfully yours.


Fucking Ivy league bullshit!

Elizabeth?

Beth.

It's me.

Open the door.


You're not in bed yet?

No, I'd fallen asleep.

Where have you been?

I've thrown him out.

Really?

Oh, the best thing I ever did, of course.

I don't know why I ever took up with the bastard.

So, why did you? What?

Take him off.

Oh, do you want some?

No.

- What's wrong? Are you okay?

Sick, nauseous.

Give a woman a bit of privacy.

Sorry.

I just wanted to make sure that you were okay.


It's yours now.

What do you mean?

You won everything.

The paintings, at cards.

Well that's gonna be pretty awkward tomorrow when I have to give it all back to Gerald...

Gerald's not coming back. God, I told you that.

It's yours now.

Where could he have possibly gone at this time of night?

Who knows? I don't know.

He may be half-way to Boston by now.

Maybe Canada.

Somewhere far away. Maybe Bermuda.

Quoting Baudelaire to himself.

You're wrong to call it erotica.

It's not designed to...

To titillate.

You mean you're not titillated?

You don't like them.

No, they're...

They're good, but...

They just don't seem quite...

Complete.

I know what you mean.

Yeah.

His earlier work might be more understandable.

Or something.

More like me.

Do you have any of those here?

There's one upstairs in my room.

Your room?

Come on.

I'll show it to you.

Come on.

It's very nice.

I was pretty young then.

I suppose that picture is yours as well.

I suppose so.

I'm going to have a great big bonfire with all of Gerald's stuff.

Why not just box it all up and put it in storage?

There's too much.

God, it'll take me weeks to burn all this stuff.

You've never seen such a hoarder.

I don't know, my mother was- no, I promise.

You've never seen anyone like him.

It's all bullshit. He only had mediocre talent.

When he moved in here, he brought all of this shit with him.

Guess we're all hoarders.


Sit down.

You don't understand.

It wasn't unreasonable that he might wanna keep his old sketchbooks and canvases but...

His old clothes, his old shoes.

Magazines and crap.

Most people th row stuff away eventually, but not Gerald.

He kept everything.

And he made collections of all kinds of things.

It only made it worse.

Like what?

Birds eggs, butterflies, stamps...

Match box tops, cigarette packets.

Never anything of value.

The day he moved in here...

I expected him to bring a suitcase.

But he brought a whole goddamn truck.

Everything's gonna be fine.

Ugh. Ignore me, I'm so stupid.


I can't believe how beautiful this place is.

Why don't you guys have chairs out here?

Gerald preferred the patio.

With the trees, the ferns.

The moist... Green shadows...

I think that Gerald is dead.

Why do you say that?

A quiet feeling of liberation has come over me.

What happened out there? I mean...

Nothing. I fell.

Let's go swimming.

Come on.

Come on, let's go. Let's go into the water.

- Are you... you wet-Kent momma. No.

This is Maine, the water's probably freezing.

Come on. Let's get undressed.

Let's go.

Are you coming?

If we're gonna do this... Uh-huh.

We're not even gonna think about it. No.

We're just gonna go. Let's go.

Okay.

I can feel the cold...

Come on. This was your idea.

Why is it so...

It's so cold that I can feel my skeleton.

Okay. Let's go.


Wait, you have a little leaf in your hair.

Right" okay.

Oh boy.

Hey.

Where are all Gerald's paintings?

Well, my paintings.

I mean... I mean, where are all the small ones that were there, and the...

And those over there.

And where's his paintbrush?

I don't know. I can't see them anywhere.

He must have taken them with him.

Taken them with him?

What's he playing at?

I mean, you told me he was gone.

Right? Yeah.

Whoa.

He must have taken him a while to do this.

I mean, this painting, it's quite different now.

It's...

It's not only purple, it's...

It's red.

It's red.

It almost looks like it's dry.

Hey! Don't touch it.

Sorry. Hey, wait.

What the hell is going on?

Hey, wait.

Why don't you just look up all the doors I guess you'll have to hear him come in. Hmm.

I don't lock the doors.

I guess he'd have his own key anyway.

But you saw him leave, right?

He hit me and I fell to the ground.

And then I hit him, I didn't see where he went.

Maybe he simply came back.

I'm gonna go warm myself up.

Okay.


Oh, hey.

Hey, I was thinking...

Why didn't you just run away?

I mean, the bastard hit you, what were you gonna do?

My plan was simple, I was going to kill him.

Fair enough.

That means he probably in the house with us now.

Listening to us, no doubt.

He's such an idiot!

I want him to be gone.

Why don't you just tell him that?

Our relationship was convenient in lots of ways.

All the best ones are.

Love has never come into marriage.

At least not happy marriages.

You need to find the right partner for practical, not romantic reasons.

Romance exists outside marriage, right?

I wouldn't know.

People who are together for a long time eventually start to hate each other so you need to find a person who doesn't mind being hated.

Come one.

Tell me the truth. You hate Gerald.

Everyone who's ever met him does.

I don't know him well enough to hate him.

He's down there.

You know he's down there.

I get it, you guys are just playing games with me again.

No, no, no, no, no. I'm not.

Will you go look for him?

Um...

I'm sorry...

Okay...

You go down the front stairs, I'll go down the back ones, and we'll meet him in the hall.

No, can we go together?

No, we can't go together. This house is huge.

I mean, he could be anywhere.

We have to do it separately.

Come on, it'll be like hide and seek.

Just, I need a second to get dressed.

Oh, of course. Okay.

I'll wait for you.

All right.

Wait.

Let's get this over with.

You can prove he isn't here, or that he is.

Whatever you wanna do.

You can go look by yourself, I don't wanna waste my time chasing after him.

Come on, Miranda.

See it as a game.

Yeah, sure.

You take this staircase, I'll take this one.

If you see him, scream.


Oh.

Christ.

Any sign of him?

No.

Well, I guess you forgot his collections, huh?

Is this amusing to you?

Come.

Okay, let's go. Okay.

We're so stupid.

It's the door banging against the frame.

Okay.

Let's go to the conservatory.

That's where the painting is.

Everything's the same.

That just leaves the basement to check.

Maybe he doubled back on us and snuck down there.

Let's go.


Oh, what's that smell'?

Mold and mildew most likely.

I haven't been in this room in ages.

Gerald wouldn't be caught dead in here.

He wouldn't be able to locate his cigarettes or drinks in the dark.

Or read his precious French poetry.

What's that poet's name again?

He doesn't have to read Baudelaire, he's got it all memorized.

I'll see you downstairs, when you're dressed.

Dressed?

Mm. What?

You don't like my t-shirt?

You're gonna get cold with that.

Just give me some time to make dinner.


Wow, you overdid yourself here.

What'? Is it too much for you?

I guess not.

What shall we do for the rest of the night?

I don't know.

Not cards. How about backgammon?

It's the only game I'm good at.

I don't wanna play any more games.


We know you're still here, Gerald.


God, you really took your time.

You're really paranoid, aren't you?

Are you satisfied that Gerald's not here?

Yeah, I'm not so sure.

He's worked on the painting again.

I think you should come and see.

Hmm.

Some things are best left to mystery.

What did he change?

Just come and see, he's...

He's added this unhealthy...

Bluish undertone to the skin.

It makes you look dead.

I'm tired, very tired of his games.

It's all a big game to him.

And I'm bored. Worn out.

I'd rather stay here in my room with you.

"To roll the rock you fought takes your courage, Sisyphus.

No matter what effort from us, art is long, and time is short.

Far from the grave of celebrity, my heart like a muffled drum taps out it's funeral thrum-

What is this?

"Toward some lonely cemetery..."

What are you saying?

Quoting.

I'm quoting Baudelaire.

What is this?

You're crazy.

I can't stay here.

I don't get it.

You're fucking with me, aren't you?

Gerald, and you too.

You're all fucking with me.

Oh, my god, I can't stay here, this is...

Oh, come on. Don't be such a Gerald.

I don't know where Gerald is, okay?

He's downstairs, or upstairs or somewhere.

I don't know. Fuck.

"Your bombs, knives, victory marches. Public feasts.

Your melancholy suburbs, your furnished rooms, your gardens full of sighs and intrigue.

Your churches vomiting prayer as music.

Your childish despairs, mad hags' games.

Your discouragements.

And your fireworks, eruptions of joy that make the dumb and gloomy sky smile.

Your saved principles and your flouted laws.

Your proud monuments on which mists catch.

Your metal domes, the sun in flames.

Your theatrical queens with seductive voices."

You.

Lucian. Lucian, please. No, please stay.

No, I'm out of here. Please stay!

Please, please, don't leave me here alone with him, please.

No.

No, no, no, please, please.

Come on, come on, come on, come on.

At least before you go, let's look at the painting.

That's what you wanted, right?

Please. Please.

It's okay.

It's okay, let's...

We'll just look at the painting, okay?

Fine. Fine.

Okay.

Maybe the painting is just changing by itself?

It's not funny.

Let me get some wine and we can sit in front of the painting and see what happens.

Or at least we can wait together until Gerald comes back.

If... In case Gerald comes back.

I'll be right back.

Wait.

This is ridiculous, it's fucking ridiculous.


Hey, you've reached Beth's voicemail.

Leave a message...

Or do you want something else?

Vodka? Whiskey?

Absinth e?


Just be straight with me, what's going on?

Let's have a glass of wine and I'll explain.

Everything's all right.

I promise.

So, explain.

I'm waiting. Okay.

I'll explain.

Andrew came...

I mean, Gerald came while you were looking for him.

You're not serious.

No. Why are you joking?

No, I'm not. Huh...

Let's play cards or backgammon.

We'll loosen up and I'll tell you everything.

There's nothing to be afraid of.

Everything is great. Better than great.

I'm not so sure.

You put the game out. You wanted to play.

So, let's play.

I think I should leave.

Okay, then leave.


What are you doing? Stop!


God, why did you come back?

You should've just left.

Is it deep?

Who did those other ones?

Me.

Why would you do this to yourself?

You shouldn't have come back like that without knocking or...

Let me do it.


Because of Gerald.

Why did you put up with him?

Who are you to pass judgment?

I'm just asking.

Will you get me my glass of wine, please.

Sure.

You promise me you won't do that again?

I won't.


I'm making some coffee. Would you like some?

I want a lot.

Yeah, I'll have a cup.

So why'd you do that to yourself?

I suppose we all give the best of our hearts uncritically to those who hardly think about us in return.

T.H. White.

Why would you cut yourself for him?

Blood.

Life.

To feel alive.

To feel something.

To feel in control of something.

Gerald took that away from me.

Control.

He's a painter.

Me though,.

I don't wanna talk about that anymore.

Tell me about yourself.

There's not much to tell.

I mean, you're the one with the interesting life here.

You've been places, done things.

Traveling doesn't mean you necessarily see things or learn anything.


Miranda...

I know this is probably bad timing...

Yeah? But...

I'd like to get us something else.

Other than wine.

I'd offer you pork, but I don't think there's any left.

Oh, we should drink something harder, with a little punch.

How about some vodka?

Absinthe?

I've never had absinthe, but no.

Aw, don't be stupid.

Never had absinthe. Mm.

Miss, you shall be...

Educated.

Here.

You take this. I'll take the knife.

Why the knife?

In case we have unwanted visitors.

Besides, I like the shiny object that shines.

Gerald used to say things like that.

Sometimes he was funny.

Gerald introduced me to it.

And he had to drink it, because Baudelaire did.

But I came to love it because Ernest Dowson drank it.

Who's that? Mm.

He was a decadent poet who drank himself to death at the unripe, young age of 33.


Before" on second thought, I wanted to ask you if we could play one last game.

Backgammon. Just one game.

If you win, I'll let you keep the paintings...

I told you I don't want the paintings or anything that I want from Gerald.

Me?

You want me?

They're your paintings now.

Well, it doesn't matter anyway because he took them.

Right?

Yes. I think so.

Well, they're not there anymore, so somebody must have taken them.

Ugh, do you wanna play or not?

Just one game.

Then afterwards we will forget everything.

Mm. But I really want some more absinthe.

Come on, let's go.

There are lots of rituals associated with absinthe.

Rituals?

What kind of rituals?

Well, I only drink it when I'm already drunk.

Or hungover.

And I pour it in a proportion of four to one.

And it's best drunk in bed.

Why in bed?

Because it affects my ability to stand up.

If I collapse, then probably more comfortable if I'm already lying in bed.

You're gonna carry that knife around...

The whole night? Yes.

Well...

You want me to, right?

And the absinthe too, the whole night.

Oh, do you want one?

A knife?

No, I'm okay. Thanks, I...

I trust you to protect me, it's okay.

Ahh, I love backgammon.

Especially because Gerald hated it.

It's simple but who cares?

Now, I only set it out because I was tired of poker and I wanted to change games in case Gerald came back, but...

Well, anyway. Let's just play.

We only have to play one game.

If you win, you can keep everything you won.

If I win...

I keep it.

I told you, I don't care.

I don't care.

Let's play.


I won.

Yes.

I won.

Well, I know that. I won! I won.

I won, I won, I won, I won.

I won.

You-...

One more.

Double or quits.

You idiot. Get out.

That was... that was good.

I have to make a confession.

Mm. A confession.

I was the one that took all the paintings.

He disfigured me in so many ways...

Distorted studies of me, distorted...

So many unfinished pictures of me.

And what about the changing picture?

Blurry.

Representational, but not representation.

I'm the painter.

And what about him?

He ls not. He ls... he is.

Gerald's not coming back.

It's all yours now.

What do you mean, you're the painter?

I'm the painter.

Gerald, no, no, no. No!

Absolutely, no!

No.


You're not gonna do anything stupid with that knife again, are you?

I'm better than ever.

Don't worry.

Let's go to bed.


That's me.

And all th ese pictures are mine.

Remember I won them back, so I brought them out.

It's true.

They are mine.

I've painted them.

And I've won them back from you.

So, you painted all of these.

Yes.

He didn't know how to paint.

He painted some but not very well.

For instance, this piece of shit was his.

I was trying to change it, but it was so bad I couldn't do it.

This does look different.

It does remind me of the one in your bedroom.

It's like a new you.

Let's go have breakfast.

I like your robe.

Gerald bought it for me.

It's meant to have belonged to queen Victoria.

Oh. Really?

No, probably not. No.

So, Gerald...

Why did he pretend about the exhibition and the paintings?

Guess what?

Game over.

I'm the fucking painter!

You don't...

Forget it.

I need a cigarette.

I'm going to go outside for a minute.


Miranda?


Miranda?

Miranda?

There you are.

I need to show you something.

Show me what?

I didn't have the courage to go look until I saw you there with me.

I got the courage to come and see.

See what?

Miranda, is everything all right?

We fought, he hit me, I tried to escape.

He hit me, but I got him back.

He was really drunk with a rock.

Is that... Oh, my...

Oh, shit.

No, no, no, oh, my...

I don't feel good.

I don't think...

I don't feel good.

Huh, I didn't know that I had killed him until now.

Until...

Until I... I finally found the courage to come and see for myself. What the...

What happened? What?

I fantasized that maybe had not killed him.

That maybe he escaped but he was still fucking drunk.

It made it easy.

What are you gonna do? I mean...

You have to get him out of here.

No. No...

Nobody's gonna find him here.

That house is abandoned. Nobody comes.

We used to pretend like, like we were little kids and like, we had two houses.

Let's go, let's go, let's go, let's go.

Let's go finish up what we started.

Finish up what? Breakfast.

Remember?

I just saw a dead body, you think I'm fucking hungry?

I'm out of here. You're...

You're on your own.