Cold Skin (2017) Script

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.

And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.

Friedrich Nietzsche

We are never very far from those we hate.

For this very reason, we shall never be truly close to those we love.

An appalling fact.

I knew it well enough when I embarked.

But some truths deserve our attention.

Others are best left alone.

We set sail 67 days ago.

September, 1914.

Matches are useless as teats on a bull above deck.

Thank you.

There's your island. Look, you see it?

What are you running from?

That was the first question they asked me when I decided to go to sea.

Prepare to weigh anchor!

That is a one man job. Don't need two.

Rusky, aren't you listening?

Be careful with those in the back!

Don't get 'em wet!

Careful with that. Don't throw stuff about.

Get that rope in! Rope! Are you listening to me?

Come on, come on! Put him on the rope!

Move it!

No birds.

No weather official to greet you, either.

Captain, sir, where we leave the luggage of officer of air and winds?

Here inside.

Tell the others to hold off with the rest of the provisions.

No. No, bring it forth.

With respect, I am responsible for your safe passage, and this is hardly reassuring.

And you've already provided such passage.

It had to be taken as an act of kindness that the captain accompanied me onto dry land.

Nothing obliged him, but during the journey, we had come to one of those understandings that sometimes arise between men of different generations.

The captain always treated me with the courtesy of an executioner.

If he could do anything for me... he would.

Boys? Go back to the boat.

You in there! Open up!

Can you hear me?!



Hey! Wake up.

Fetch water toad.

Wake up! Maritime signal technician.

We are replacing the weather official, Aldor Vigeland.

Can you tell me of his whereabouts?

I said where is the weather official?

Listen here, I'm captain of a ship in transit.

I had to change course to bring this man here and take his predecessor away.

Now where is... Typhus.

He's dead? Do you have any tobacco?


Where are the man's remains?

Christ, man, speak up!

He went out one day. I never saw him again.

For God's sake, it's an island! How far could he have gone?

A swim?

Your name?


You like Frazer?

That's not my book.

You, you have tobacco?

Not on my person, no.


Mr. Gruner.


I appreciate your concern, but I'm not about to turn back now.

Take this.

Don't mistake stubbornness with stupidity.

I'll manage. Thank you for all you've done.

Eat well. Work hard.

Stay busy.

Fair winds.

And following seas.

I would have to live in a solitude-like exile for 12 months far from civilization with a job as monotonous as it was insignificant... to log the intensity and direction of the winds.

Mr. Gruner?

Mr. Gruner?

Mr. Gruner, if this is your idea of an initi...

Open the door!

Let me in!




Please let me in!

Should've stayed on the boat Gruner!


When I have fears that I may cease to be, before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain, before high-piled books, in charactery hold like rich garners the full ripened grain, when I behold upon the night's starred face huge cloudy symbols of a high romance and think that I may never live to trace their shadows with the magic hand of chance, and when I feel, fair creature of an hour, that I shall never look upon thee more, Never have relish in the faery power of unreflecting love, then on the shore of the wide world I stand alone, and think till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

Mother of God.

No! Don't shoot!

Put your gun down!

Put it down!

Step back.

Step back!

What do you want?

Do I really need to spell it out?

You said you have tobacco?


Coffee? Yes.

Vodka? Gin. And ammunition.


There's plenty more.

She's harmless. Harmless?

Come here. Come here,

Come on.

Good girl, easy. Good.


I think I'll call you... Friend.

You got bit?


How many'd you kill? Don't know.

The previous weather official. It wasn't typhus.

You left him stranded here like me.

It's as good as murder.

We gotta go.

Come on!

Pain gone?

How long was I out for? Day or two by my reckoning.

Pissed your pants.


Now that's what I call an armory.

What's it doing?

Stupid thing. Thinks stuff'll float away.

You can speak with the beasts.

Not speak, command.

Doesn't it try and escape?

Does a dog leave even the cruelest of masters?

It's incredible.

I never even imagined such things could exist.

What we know is a small island in the vast ocean of what we don't.

I've heard that there are atolls that contain unique and endemic species of fish that have evolved completely independently.

Hangover species that have survived in isolation, stuck in a kind of evolutionary stalemate.

Maybe these beasts are like that, not quite human nor amphibian, reptile or fish.

She's not quite like the others, is she?

This one doesn't bite, that's all.

What about that scar on your shoulder?

There was one time.

The only time. She learned her lesson.

Remember, it's the still and silent sea that drowns a man.

I adjusted the mechanism to sweep the coastline.

All I know is that the toads, like all infernal beasts, they shun light, human or divine.

Demons from Atlantis.

I believe in what I see.

One thing I still can't understand is that you could have escaped four days ago on the boat that brought me here. Escape? To where?

To a civilized world.

Nice place, that civilized world of yours.

That why you gave it up?

Here I'm master of my own destiny, come hell or high water. Well, you can keep it.

I'm signaling the first ship that passes by.

Really? This island is not on any commercial shipping lanes.

The next ship here will be the one with your replacement.

Come on, Gruner, lighthouses are built where there's naval transit. They're also built to balance navy budgets and siphon funds.

Gotta empty a bucket before you can fill it up again, boy.

It is the second time in a week I'm forced to rebuild my life.

All my belongings are burned.

I've nothing from the person I used to be.

In this remote part of the world, I feel a sense of irreparable loss.

I can't tell whether it arises from a longing for civilization, a prisoner's panic... or simply fear.

Don't! Don't eat that.

It's... it's not edi...

It's a can...

Friend, get your rifle.

Don't shoot till they reach the tower, and don't waste bullets on their wounded.

Give them enough carrion, they'll devour each other.

I don't see anything.

You'll learn what to look for.

Come on!

Come on!

Shoot, man! Use your gun!

Come on, shoot!

No man is an island.

Horse shit. Gruner is an island.

Gruner does not need any dead weight, no matter how much chocolate and coffee ladybird brought!

Go fetch some water.

One last chance.

Hold. Hold fast.

Wait. Hold.


Behind you! Wake up, man! Wake up!

Shoot! Shoot, dammit! Shoot! Shoot! One last chance!

Gruner, wait, don't! Gruner!

Gruner! Help!

Gruner! Gruner, let me in!


Gruner and I settled into a curious sort of co-existence based on routine.

The monsters always swarm at night, their strikes growing longer every day.

The Japanese philosopher Musashi said that only a few appreciate the art of war.

A good warrior is not defined by the cause he defends but rather by the meaning that derives from the struggle.

Days are always the same.

I abandon my post on the balcony at the break of dawn.

Nature dictates the length of my slumber.

I have to accept the most ungrateful tasks simply to keep my place inside the lighthouse.

I've been meditating on my reason for coming to this island.

I had been seeking peace through nothingness.

But in place of silence, I found a monster-plagued inferno.

Smells strange.

How do you know that the herbs aren't bad?

Herbs are like people. They are neither good or bad.

They're just known or unknown, that's all.

Herbs won't slit your throat for money.

A farmer keeps cows. He cares for them.

He feeds them. He gives them endearing names.

Like Daisy.

But then he steals her milk.

And he kills her children.

Another riddle.

It's a question of necessity.

Has it ever occurred to you that it might be her wailing that attracts the beasts?

But then why would they attack some nights and not others?

And why would she lure her own kin to die on the rocks?

The only thing you need to understand is that we are the invaders, which makes us the enemy.

Kill and conquer, that's what we humans do.

You want to conquer them. Is that it?

Oh, no, I want to exterminate them.

We need more timber.


We haven't been attacked in weeks.

You like sleeping in my lighthouse.


Far away.


And quite forgotten.

My eyes have scrutinized every surface a thousand times.

We speak of the lighthouse and its environs as if it were an entire state.

Every nook and cranny has a name.

Every rock.

Every stone.

Maybe they migrate, like the whales in winter.

Or maybe the creatures reason they can't defeat us.

They're beasts.

They are out there gathering in numbers for their next attack.

You're on watch.

Although it may seem strange, the lulls between fighting are often worse than the battles themselves.

This void is accompanied by the mascot's change in attitude.

How could Gruner lie with one of the very same monsters that plague us every night?

How did he manage to justify the act in defiance of all the obstacles set down by civilization?

Set down by nature.

How could he get closer... and closer...

and not be repelled by her cold skin?

I have decided to give her a name.



When'd we run out of potatoes?

We didn't. You're drinking 'em.

You play?

What civilized man doesn't?

These beasts really are a fascinating species.

Take the blood, for example.

I imagine that it must share the properties of some arctic fish containing a kind of anti-freeze to help them to survive in sub-zero conditions.

Have you noticed that they've got two sets of eyelids?

Now the first, very much like ours, but the second is a transparent membrane helping them when they dive, I would imagine.

We could capture specimens, take them back to Great Britain or to the United States, present our discovery, and we would be celebrated... All right, you got me!

I came down to the asshole of the world to become famous.

All right? Check!

Now shut up and play.

Check mate.

No, i-it can't be.

I-it j... it just can't be.

Calm down, Gruner, it's only a game.

Kings, pawns. It can't be!

We forgot the light!

Galley deck!

I'm out! There's too many! There's too many!

So what do we know do now?

♪ One starry night ♪

♪ As I lay sleeping ♪

♪ One starry night ♪

♪ As I lay in bed ♪

♪ I dreamed I heard ♪

♪ Wagon wheels creakin' ♪

♪ Molly Ban, a storeen, come and lay me down ♪

I wh...

Look at us.

We can't survive another assault like that.

We're running out of supplies. Running out of ammunition.

Running out of will.

Where are you going?

Hey! What is it? There's a boat!


Gruner knows how to defend himself.

Gruner rules the world!

Gruner wants what he has and has only what he wants!

Ungrateful little bitch! No.

Get out of my way, boy! Please, Gruner.

No more people.

I see what you are!

A sad, pathetic failure of a misanthrope!

You're too afraid to let your friends leave!

Too afraid to kill your enemies!

Afraid of having no one left to hate.



What has he done to you this time?

We call this... a "boat."

You see?


I found a rowboat.

I know of it.

Sorry, what? Why didn't you say so?

Wouldn't do you no good.

I'm sure you'll make it off my island.

Then you'd be taken by hypothermia, starvation, a storm, most likely end up as toad food, but, hey, who am I to deny you the right to choose how you die?

Where'd it come from? Belonged to some Portuguese.

Shipwreck? Tremendous storm.

Came to grief in the night.

And I'm sure you did everything you could to save them.

I did what I could.

Those that made it ashore were set upon trying to reach the lighthouse.

Nothing left of them by the morning.

Dragged back down to the depths.

What were they doing so far from commercial routes?

It was an illegal ship. Dynamite smugglers.

Found some crates washed up ashore.

No good though, all waterlogged.

You want to dive that ship.

We recover the dynamite, repair the rowboat, head out in the morning at low tide when it's safest.

You're an idiot.

What is it about blowing up a thousand toads you don't like?

Suicide mission, I'm not going down in that water.


I'll do it.

All I require from you is to pump my air.

Won't work.

I'm talking about toad extermination.


I changed my mind.

We leave right away.

Remember, one tug on the rope, everything's fine, two, load is secured.


Three, row for your life.

The second line's too close to the lighthouse.

At this distance, the toads will be packed in nice and tight, like a can of sardines.

We'll end up perched on the leaning tower of Pisa.

The Austral summer is fading timidly but with grandeur.

Now we are inexorably heading toward the winter.

Or rather, the darkness.

Time is a relative idea.

Drops suspended from a spider web for centuries before it falls.

Sometimes, however, a week passes in the blink of an eye.

Come inside.

Three weeks. Three weeks and nothing.

We can't eat that garbage! Gruner.

She told them. You told your friends, huh?

You warned them, didn't you? Huh?!

You fucking little toad spy. This is how you repay me, huh?

You ungrateful, bitch! Gruner!

How dare you leave me?! Dare you leave me!

Gruner... Try it! Try it again!

We ambush them.

We leave the main door open and lure them inside.

You pick them off from the stairs.

I operate the detonator once they're close enough.

Gruner, Babel's open.

Lanterns! Burning.

Come on, come on, sing! Come on!

Come on! Come on! Sing! Sing! Sing for your supper!

Sing! Sing!

Sing! Sing! There you go!

Sing! Sing! Come on!

They're in!

They're here!

It's not working!

The contact!

Get down!

No, Gruner...


Gruner, can you hear me? Gruner.

Under the wide and starry sky... dig my grave and let me lie.

Glad did I live and gladly die.

And I laid me down with a will.

Use your knife. Don't waste ammunition.

Look at what we've done.

She'll do that for a time.

Wail away like that.

That's how I found her.

Tangled in a net, little tyke.

Cute that way, aren't they?

They don't stay that way.

Cut it free.

Saved its life, I did.

It'll come groveling back.

She always does.

They're mourning.

Look at this.

It's brilliant.

We have to keep up the pretense. New, more powerful weapons.

Putting the fear in them.

I see you, king of the toads!

Don't harm them, Gruner.

A truce is what I think they want.

Gruner, put your rifle down. Show them that you mean no harm.

We were wrong.

Gruner, we were wrong.

Go inside.

I said inside!

Leave me?

No one leaves. No one leaves.

I leave. No one leaves Gruner!

You don't leave.

You don't leave. You don't leave.

No one leaves Gruner!

Gruner leaves. Gruner leaves... Gruner... you don't leave Gruner, no!

You don't leave! Gruner leaves.

No one leaves Gruner. No one leave Gruner!

Gruner leaves.



Gruner! Gruner!

Aldor Vigeland, you're no murderer!




Mr. Gruner?

Maritime signal technician Gruner.

All right, get up!

We are here to replace the weather official with this man.

Do you know where he is?

Speak up!


Ugh, this place is a pigsty!

Look at yourself.

You are in no fit state to hold the position of signal technician.

We're at war, man! Get back here!

I believe the poor soul is ill from isolation, sir.

You know the saying. No man...

We'll have him seen to. Search the island.