Perfect Sense (2011) Script

Perfect Sense

..and there is light.

There are men and women.

There's food.

There are restaurants.


There's work.


The days as we know them.

The world as we imagine the world.



How would you feel about heading home?

I've only just fallen asleep.

Well, you have, I haven't.

I have a tough time sleeping with someone else in the bed.

Are you kicking me out?

I have to go to work soon anyway.

We dance and drink all night, we go back to your place, you fuck me and now you wake me up and kick me out?

I can't sleep with another person in the bed.

That's funny. That's just the way it is.

[cry of seagulls]

I didn't know you'd started smoking again.

What do you feel like doing?

Throwing stones.

At what?



You'll find someone. Shut up and throw.

I suppose I should go back to work.

Come on.

Poor baby.




Now that's funny.

What's funny? Seeing you today.


Come with me for a minute, will you? They want us at the hospital.

Aren't you going to ask why I haven't been to work?

Well, you've been sick. Not sick, just unhappy.

Well, it's the same thing.

Unhappy on account of a man.

No kidding?

So what are we wanted for?

Er, to see a patient.

Why? What's going on?

Well, we're just going to find out.

You know he's really pissed off in there. Excuse me.

When can I take him back home?

Oh, well, we just need to talk to him, so...

He needs to explain it all again? Well...

Look. Look, listen.

He called me up, right, and he told me he was coming home... and then all of a sudden his voice breaks and he bursts into tears.


And then he starts telling me that he doesn't see any meaning to life.

I mean, he's not usually like that. He's a truck driver.


And then he pulls over at the side and says he's fine again.

Except, he cannae smell any more. He can't smell any more?

Well, I told him to find a hospital because, you know, that isn't normal, is it?

Hello, er... Donald.

Stephen Montgomery here again.

- Hi, I'm Susan. Hello, Stephen. Hello, Susan.

You can't smell any more? - That's right, Susan.

I can't smell any more.

But is your mood back to normal?

I've been sitting here for nearly 11 hours. My mood is not great.

But you don't feel any discomfort other than a lack of smell?

No, Susan.

And has anybody else in your family or at work had similar experiences?

I haven't got a clue cos I'm sitting here, aren't I?

What do you want from me? I just want your opinion.

I'm an epidemiologist, Stephen. So why am I talking to this guy?

Cos we've got seven more just like him in Aberdeen.

Five in Dundee.

11 right here in Glasgow. 18 in Edinburgh.

There's over 100 reported cases in England.

They've got them in France, Belgium, Italy, Spain.

They've all appeared in the last 24 hours.

How were they infected?

I'm not sure they are.


Well, all the early indications suggest no connection between them at all.

No contact. No pattern. Nothing.

[glass mutes voice]

Is my wife still out there? Let me speak to my wife.

Please, let me speak to my wife.

[glass mutes voice]

STEPHEN: Maybe it'll just go away.

So we won't panic. Hm.

[chatter and laughter]

Michael, that's a table of 12 just sat down.

Where are they, at the bar? Yeah.

Where's that lobster and haggis? I need that right now.

That's table five, mains. You're an arsehole.

What's the matter with you? What?

Those starters for table seven... That girl was such a sweetheart.

What girl? "What girl?"

You just fucked her and dumped her, didn't you?

Poor little baby. Theresa, where's those salads?

OK, one oysters, one soup, an antipasti, two duck and a steak rare.

Yes, Chef.

I'd have made her breakfast.

Strawberries, heated the milk for her coffee.

But they don't want to fuck the nice guy. They want to fuck the arsehole.

Next two checks at the same time. Yes, Chef.

How about those ravioli, boys? How long on those?

Three minutes, Chef. Right, right, right.

Chef. OK, how do we know it's fresh?

We smell it? No, check the eyes.

They should be clear. The gills should be red.

It should be firm. And the smell? Fishy?

It can smell fishy. But, if it does, it's not fresh.

It should smell like the sea. Does it smell like the sea?

Mostly smells of fish. Get me another fucking sea bass.

One day.

One day, son, you'll be in love.

And you'll be miserable. Table seven. That's your karma.

Hot pot! Truly in love and miserable.

Richard, I need that pot back!


[phone buzzes]

- Hi, Jen. Hi, sweetheart.

- Listen... [inaudible] Really?

- Do you want to come with me? Of course I do.


I can find someone else if you're busy.

Don't worry, it might not be that serious.

I'll call you as soon as I know more.

OK? [wolf whistle]

You wouldn't happen to have a spare cigarette?

- I'm on the phone. Who's that you're talking to?

Oh, nothing. It's just a guy asking for a cigarette.

- OK, I better go. Yeah.

- Bye. Hmm.

OK, OK. Bye. Have you got a light?

How about board and lodging, while we're at it?

Nah, I don't even know your name.

Do you have one, though?


Oh, dear.

I'm Michael. I work in the restaurant there.

All right, sailor. I'm a chef.

Good for you.

Come on, guys. What have we got?

We've checked all the Scottish cases but have no obvious matches.

No proteins mutating, no prions, nothing.

There's nothing to say it's a virus. Nothing that matches anything we know.

But it's fair to say it isn't obviously contagious.

It's fair to say it's spreading.


Could be environmental, it could be a toxin we know nothing about.

It could be terrorism.

OK, so it's not a contagion.

I'll tell them... probably disappear in a short while and don't panic.

Maybe they put something in the water.

Overwhelmed with grief.

People are hit with all that they've lost.

Lovers they never had.

All the departed friends.

They think of all the people they've hurt.

First, overwhelmed with grief.

And then no sense of smell.

That's the disease.

They call it Severe Olfactory Syndrome.


TV: This is a cause for concern and requires a heightened state of alert.

But it's not a cause for alarm.

[news reports in various languages]

We stand ready for the arrival of the first confirmed case of infection...

..the World Health Organizationís stepping to level five doesn't automatically mean that the human race...

They say it isn't contagious.

But who dare believe that?


Well, shall we call it a night?

I don't know what the fuck we should call it.

Let's go chase some pretty ladies, huh?

You chase, I'll pick up the pieces. I don't feel like it.

Come on. You want to watch that, Rich.

That's what happens when you have too much high-class fanny.

He's been gorging himself on Europe's finest.

I'm going to get the Entonox quick! What's that?

Entonox. Laughing gas. Saint Nitrous.

Patron saint of pastry chefs.

Richard, don't. It'll make you feel...

James, leave him alone.

Ssh. James.

I recommend it for you especially, sir. Put it back.

What? Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Stop, stop, stop.

Sniff my finger?

Yeah? I can smell that. Oranges.

Wrong. Balls.

Man down! Man down!

Quickly, evacuate! Evacuate!

Good night. See you later.

See you later, boss. Cheers, boys.

Good night.

Keep smiling. Good night, James.

Got your own smokes tonight, sailor? I'm still a chef.

My dad called everybody sailor.

He worked in the docks all his life.

He never went sailing anywhere but he called everybody sailor.

All right.

Even people he didn't know. "Hello, sailor." "Goodbye, sailor."

Well, you can call me sailor, if you like. Or Michael.

When I was a child, I thought it was really embarrassing.

Now I'm doing it myself.

Are you hungry?

People aren't eating in restaurants these days and we've got a lot of spare food.


This is... monkfish cheek.

Fish is my thing.

Good? Mmm.


[they laugh]

I'm a bit greedy when I eat. Oh, that's all right.

I had a disorder when I was younger.

Just trying to catch up.

So what do you do... when you're not eating?

Death and misery. What?

I'm an epidemiologist.

I'll get you something sweet.

This is a mango jelly and chocolate macaroons.


I didn't make these.

I can't remember what the fuck that's called, but it's got coconut in it.


All that sailor stuff, it reminds me of him.

My dad.

I miss him so much.

We had so much fun together. He could always make me laugh.

Hey... Hey.

Let me get you...

Here. This is... This is clean.

Thank you. [blows nose]



Here, here. You're all right.

Do not stand so close. You never know.

Oh, no, they say it's not contagious. We don't know.

It's just something we tell people.

Look... Would you... Would you like me to take you back to your home?

Yeah? Come on.

You take the cloth. I'll get the...

Come on, come on.

[rain falling]

[she sobs]

[stifled sobbing]

[he sobs]


Hey. It's gone.

The smell.

All gone.

Well, I think I'll...

That was a crazy evening.


[clicks tongue]

Good morning.


Mmm. Well, it has its benefits.

Yep. [he sniffs]

We were in the Algarve once, Maggie and me.

Came home, had a freezer full of food, there'd been a power cut.

Never smelt anything so disgusting in my life.

I'll never forget it.

Maybe you will.


I've met someone.

Oh, OK. I'm pathetic.


I'm not even sure I like him.


I actually think he's a smooth arsehole.


It'll probably come back.

But at the moment our customers won't be able to smell, so...

It'll be like cooking for snotty-nosed people.

Bring out the big guns, all right?

Maybe a bit of saffron.


Richard, can you get me a clean apple?

Life goes on.

The food becomes spicier...

..saltier... more sweet... more sour.

You get used to it.

The greater loss are all the memories that are no longer triggered.


Smell and memory were connected in the brain.

Cinnamon might have reminded you of your grandmother's apron.

The scent of cut hay could evoke a childhood fear of cows.

Diesel oil might bring back memories of your first ferry crossing.

Without smell, an ocean of past images disappears.


[he whistles]

[whistles again]

I'm off work.


Are you OK? Yeah.

Any more news on death and misery?

Not really.

I was a really good smeller.

I bet you were. I was.

Do you want a cigarette?

No, thanks. Something else, then?

Like what? Oh, er... are you hungry?


I could cook you something special.

Or buy you a lollipop.

We could go for a coffee and eat apple pie and er... liquorice.

A glass of wine?

Some fresh air?

Come on.

[violin music]

My sister got married here a few years ago and I came to stay for a month and...

Met a guy. And then a good job came up.

And now, ladies and gentlemen.

We'll call upon a new smell.

The scent of the forest after the spring rain.

We imagine the path underneath our feet.

We see the green moist color surrounding us.

And we feel the wet branches against our faces.

And now imagine...

Oh... We pass between the trees.

I'm not going on my own. Come on. Oh, no.

And we begin drawing in the air.

Deep inside.

And enjoy the moment.

The humidity level is high.

[plays dramatic tune]

At the lower end there is the moss, the fungi, the rotten leaves.

The middle tone is the tall, fresh grass.

A crisp and almost invigorating scent.

[plucks high notes]

And at the top we feel not only the leaves and the rainwater, but also the sky.

[high, ringing note]

On a day like this... we can smell the sky itself.

[mellow tune]

What shall we do now?

Well, now you could invite me back to your place.

Don't know if I will.

Well, you... you can just start walking home...

..and I'll follow you.

[she laughs]

Oh. [they laugh]



I should have made a bigger effort to sniff you the first time we were lying here.


A pity.

What do you want?

What do I want?


Well, soon I'd like to close my eyes and try and go to sleep.

Which is a big deal for me cos usually I... I can't sleep in bed with someone.

I need to be by myself.


Now? Now, yes.

You want me to leave?

I live here, so I guess you'll have to.

Now? Yes, please.

Did I say something wrong?

Ah... Let me give you my... card, in case you want to, you know... call me or something.

You have a card?

I had a catering company that didn't do very well.

Not very many clients. Lots of cards.

You can call me.

My number's on there, and my address.

And I guess you know where I work, so...

[door bangs]

MAN: Repent, sinners! The day of the Lord is upon you.

Do you know that this is the day of the Lord?

The prophecy has been spoken.

Do you pray? Are you aware of your sins?

Come back and be aware. This is the day of the prophecy!


No flowers?

She loved flowers, Michael.

Ian got married... in a church with the full monty.


Apparently, she's pregnant, his bride.

And what about this Michael?

What about him?

He sounds nice.

I don't know.

I usually pick arseholes.

Well, they can't all be arseholes. They just can't.

I'm trying to take care of myself. Right.

You do that a lot, don't you?

Fuck you, sailor! [laughs]

[children clamouring]

Can I have sweets?

Let me see.


Ta-da! Whoo!

What do you say? One for you and one for you.

Not soap.

Big Soap. Big Soap.

Apparently, Big Tobacco and Big Fizzy Cola have formed this cartel to start selling wait for it fruity flavoured oxygen.

In order to create a proper market for it, they've enlisted Big Soap.

Big Soap have flooded the environment with enough organophosphates to temporarily disable your central nervous system.

That's why I've stopped washing... in case you were wondering what the smell was.

You don't half talk some shite.

Environmental groups are sure it's the start of an ecological apocalypse caused by pollution and genetically modified plants and hormones.

Intelligence claims it's an attack on the free world.

All indicators point to fundamentalists.

The fundamentalists talk of God's punishment on a world of unbelievers... and promise that all pure people of the right faith will regain their sense of smell in the final days.

Others talk of the degenerate capitalist system that has released a military virus to stimulate the economy.

And there are other theories.


STEPHEN: Wake up. There is so much hatred in the world!

There's so much hatred!

Easy. So much hatred in the world!

They're fucking plotting against us. Stephen, calm down.

They want to blow us up. They want to destroy us.

Fucking so much...

So much hatred. Ssh, ssh.


So many sharp edges. So many sharp edges.

That's OK. Sharp things.

I've just given him as much sedative as I dare.

So many sharp edges. It'll kick in in a second.

So many sharp edges.

Normally so soft. We are so soft. It's all right.

[distant shouts]


Hey, are you all right?

I can't die alone.

I'm here with you. I'm Barbara.

I work in research.

I've seen you in the canteen. That's how it'll end.

Without anybody loving me.

Come on, now, just calm down.

What's your name?

Oh, no.

See, the thing is, your body, OK?

It betrays... It betrays itself.

Stop, Michael. No, no, listen.

Your body, it takes away the color of your skin.

And... And betrays your... your spirit.

Michael, stop.

Can I get some water over here?

That's OK, it's OK.

Pissing and bleeding and fucking puss is coming out of your ear!

There's no puss. I've seen it. I've seen it!

At the end, you're all alone.

Don't say that.

You die on your own and it gets all dark.

It's not true! Don't say that! You're not on your own!

You're not on your own!

All your body, it turns... it turns to fucking soup.

First the terror.

Don't leave me. Don't leave me, Michael.

Don't leave me.

And then a moment of hunger.

Oh, my God. What's happened?

Oh, my God, what's happened? What's happening?

[horn blares]


This is how the sense of taste disappears from our world.

They don't even have time to give the disease a name.

[dog barks in distance]

[dog barks in distance]

Do you think we'll lose our other senses too?

Smell and taste are related.

They're the two chemical senses.

So the other ones might be all right, then?

They might.

Just have to wait and see.

That's right, sailor.

And what happens if you're wrong?

[whispers]: Then we're fucked.



It's still out there.

What is?

The world.

What can you see?


What are they doing?

They're heading off to work.

What should we do?

We go to work as well.

Do we kiss each other first...


..Say we'd like to see each other again?

We probably do.

Maybe even this evening.


And are we looking forward to that?


I may not even have a job any more.

Forget it, Michael, we're closed. We're closed.

We'll open again.

People can't smell, they can't taste.

They're going to buy flour and fat.

That's all you need to survive.

Take a hit on that. Go on. Go on.

Drink that.

Now, that is damned expensive brandy.

Damned, damned expensive.

But you might as well drink surgical spirit or sniff glue.

It doesn't matter.

Flour and fat.

And yet it does matter. There's no difference.

No, I think you're wrong.

Life goes on.

[exhales heavily]

They'll come back.

People will ask each other out to dinner again.

They'll toast each other while we take care of their needs.

Yeah, and serve them flour and fat. No, anything but flour and fat.

We'll be all right.

Slowly things return to normal and life goes on.

People do what they did before as best they can.



Within a few weeks, taste becomes a distant memory.

And different sensations take its place.

[bagpipes Play]


In restaurants, it's all about offering another person dinner, letting yourself be waited on, listening to the trickle of wine and the clink of glasses.

"Not only has the food received special attention, but also the temperature of the food and its consistency.

And we tried it all, from the freezing cold to the scorching hot.

It was dry, it was moist, it was crisp, it was spongy, it was crunchy and it was all at the highest level, up to and including the dessert... a light pudding with caramelized knots and a bright orange sorbet, and a dark blue... dark blue coulis on blackberries and blackcurrant."

Chew on that.


Life goes on.

My dad let me shave him once.

I was eight.

I managed to do it without a single scratch.

I was very proud.

And then... he went to the sink and he shaved himself all over again as if I hadn't been there.

I was devastated.

Your turn.


Here, try. It's soft.

Mmm. Yeah?

Mmm! Mmm.

Want to go dancing? Sure.

And get drunk? Sure.

And smoke cigarettes? Always.

There's still pleasures in the world, eh? Let's have them. All of them.



Oh! [laughs]

I got soap in my eye!

? CASTANETS: No Voice Was Raised ?

? No-one sentenced us ?

Let's play a game, sailor.

What game?

It's called, "Make me special".

What are the rules?

Only one.

Just tell me something.


Something other people don't know about you.

Something secret. Like what?

? Unpoliced ?

My sister's got two kids and sometimes I hate them.

? We drew uncertain breath ?

? The loss piled high unchecked ?

I can't have children.

My ovaries are crippled.

My eggs are no good.

Because of not eating.

I pretend that I'm not that into them, that I have an interesting job.


..I can't have them.

Your turn.

? No-one jailed us ?

I had a girlfriend.

You don't get this game, do you?

No, we had erm... a wedding planned.

And she got sick.

She got really sick.

You could smell there was something wrong inside her, like something damp, something from a basement.

I didn't stay with her.

I didn't look after her, I ran away.

I make myself go and visit her grave.

At first it was once a week and then maybe it was once a month and now less.

I go there to feel guilty, you know?

I thought I would feel guilty for the rest of my life but...

..actually it's starting to fade.

? And no song was sung ?

You're an arsehole? I am.

? No voice was raised ?

It works.

It works.

You're making me yours.

I'm an arsehole. So am I.

A couple of arseholes.

Mr and Mrs Arsehole.

? No song was sung ?

So this is the situation here in Bangkok, Thailand.

We call it Severe Hearing Loss Syndrome, and we still do not know much about it.

Anger, rage, hate.

And then they go deaf.

And how does it spread?

I can't hear you very well but! do not know what to do. Tell me what to do.

[sound cuts out and distorts]

..standing there looking at me!

[sound distortion increases]

Why are you just looking at me?

[distorted shouting]

You help us now!

[sounds cuts in and out] us now!

..send some help quick!

Send some help now!

I think it's OK to panic now.

And that's basically what the world does.

Severe Hearing Loss Syndrome.

Spreads from Thailand, across India to China, Russia and beyond.




And then the loss of another sense.

All the unaffected can do is wait.


Can you still get film for those? Yeah, I got some from my uncle.

[camera whirs]

He was a collector.

What did he collect?

Polaroid cameras.


[distant screaming]

Incubation period is dropping all the time. It's down from 24 hours to about 11.

It's very aggressive.

[mobile rings] Yeah?

[pager bleeps]

Yeah, we stick with the 2006 plan.

Stephen. OK?

It's still valid.

Isolate the first ones, get ready for loads more.

They're saying a child was born in Berlin with all its senses.

There might be a chance of antibodies.

[distant sirens]

What's going on? Somebody's infected on the third floor.

They sealed it off. Who owns this restaurant?

Me. You're shutting down.

Give me a fucking break. Everywhere is shutting down.

The council wants to hire you and your staff to cook for the quarantined.

Thousands are holed up in their homes, sports arenas.

They all need to be fed three times a day.

Here's your menu and budget. Municipal food?

Other restaurants will do it. If you don't want the job, just say no.

That's all I need to hear, a no. Aye, all right. We'll do it.

Aye, very moving. You'll have us in tears in a minute.

Fuck you. We're just trying to do our jobs.

We're trying to keep things working. Bouillon and fusilli?

Make sure that pasta's al dente. Fat and flour.

Fat and fucking flour.

[police radio in distance]

You're homeless.


TANNOY: Stay away from anyone showing symptoms of aggression.

You can choose between a gym full of those not infected out behind the bus station, or you can come home with me.

Tough one.

[woman screams]


[church bell chimes]

Stay away from people showing symptoms of aggression.

[man shouting]

[woman screams]

[chimes continue, dog barks in distance]

[baby cries]

[cacophony of street sounds mingling]

[exhales heavily]

[both laugh]

MICHAEL: Oh, Jesus.

So all of a sudden, we're living together.


Mr and Mrs Arsehole.


We could play "make me special" games.

We could play at lovers.

And we could fuck.

But you're just like all the others.

Don't you think that you matter, cos you don't.

You're nothing.

You are just passing time.

It's not difficult to understand.

It's just fucking.

And eating. And fat and flour.

You go out there, you lie down on your back and spread your legs.

Or take your profound conversations and your emotions and fuck off.

You're just a pair of ears and a mouth, an arsehole and a cunt.

It might surprise you to know this but everyone else has that too.

A pair of ears and an arsehole.

Fat and fucking flour.

Nothing special about this one, except that she's infertile.

Fat and flour. Fat and flour!

Fat and fucking flour!

Fat and fucking flour!

[clattering and banging]

Fat and flour!

Fat, fat, fucking flour!


Aargh! Oh, God!

[woman shouting]

[women screaming]


[man screams]


Let me in! Let me in!

Take me with you. Hey!


Come on, let me in!



[tyres screech]

SUSAN: Hello?

Can you hear me?


Seen anyone else?

[mobile phone buzzes]

MICHAEL: I hope you can hear this Whatever! Said to you, I didn't mean.

It wasn't me.

It was the disease.


It was not you.

It was not you.

It's not me.

It's nobody.


Nobody's here. Nobody.


Disease. Which disease?

Where is it?

Where are you hiding, you fucking cunt?


Where are you?

MICHAEL: I need you to come back to me Take that... Nothing! [clattering]

I need you to believe me

[Susan yells]

It's me.

Why? Why?

- Why? It's me asking you to come back.

Why, Why, why, why, why?

Why, Why?

- I love you. You're all fucking liars!









There are two movements now.

There are the people who run through the streets, grabbing all they can.

People who don't believe in anything but the end of the world.

Then there's the other movement... farmers going out to milk their cows...

..soldiers reporting for duty.

Those who believe that life will go on somehow...

..or just don't know what else to do.

[faint vibrations]

[faint reverberations]

[faint thrum of vibrations]

People prepare for the worst...

..but hope for the best.

They concentrate on the things that are important to them.


All the things beyond fat and flour.


Once we thought of the ice age as something that crept up... glaciers slowly spreading... temperatures gradually dropping.

But recently a number of intact mammoths have been discovered with stomachs full of undigested grass.

The cold must have hit them like a blow from a club.

[deep rumbling]

That's how the darkness descends upon the world.

But first the shining moments.

A shared flinching of the brain's temporal lobe.

A profound appreciation of what it means to be alive.

But most of all, a shared urge to reach out to one another.

To offer warmth...





It's dark now... but they feel each other's breath... and they know all they need to know.

They kiss... and they feel each other's tears on their cheeks.

And if there had been anybody left to see them, then they would look like normal lovers caressing each other's faces...

..bodies close together... eyes closed...

..oblivious to the world around them.

Because that is how life goes on.

Like that.

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