Still Life (2013) Script

♪ That saved a wretch♪

♪ Like me ♪

♪ I once ♪

♪ Was lost ♪

♪ But now ♪

♪ I'm found ♪


Thank you, Father.

See you soon, Mr. May.

Loved the music, Mr. May.

Great choice.

Who shall it be today, Mr. May?

Mr. Sandberg, please.

Here's Mr. Sandberg.

Coming up to two months now.

Just the one?

Just Mr. Sandberg, thank you.

We'll give the others a little more time.

You never know.


Good morning, Mr. May. Good morning, Mr. White.

They're piling up in there, Mr. May.

I'm just expecting some news for Mr. Radulovitz and Mrs. Casement.

I'm very optimistic.

Mr. Radulovitz has been on the shelf two good months.

What about the others?

Come the summer, they'll be sharing bunks.

We do have leads.

Not every door is shut.

There may still be someone!


She was found two days ago.

Someone saw the cat in the street, leaving.

"To my little Susie."

"Happy birthday, Mum."

I was told there was no family.

In over 10 years I've never seen anyone.

The postmark is last year.

"Monday, went to the shops."

"Bought some fish. She liked it."

"Tuesday, the shops." It's all the same.

A-ha, here you are.

"Dear Mum, thank you so much for my wonderful present."

So she had a daughter?

"Please write again soon. Love you with all my heart."

Ah. "Susie."

Susie's the cat.

Look. It's from the cat.

It's signed with a little paw.

Some people, eh?


Please call these people.

Anything they won't take can be thrown away.

London Borough of Kennington, Client Services, John May speaking.

Mr. Radulovitz.

Yes! And you are?

Mr. Radley.

And your connection with...

His son?

But your sur...

You've changed it?

Right. Great.

Thank you very much for calling. Great.

That's just... Just wonderful.

Unfortunately, as you know, your father has passed away. Yes.

Died six weeks ago.

Well, you were contact... Well, actually, in this office, we're charged with tracing the relatives of those who passed away in the borough.

And, failing that...

Yes. Yes, your fath...

Uh, no, no, there's no obligation for the next of kin to pay for the funeral.

No, you don't.

Indeed.

There is no obligation to attend, but...

If I may say so... I understand, Mr. Radu...

I mean, Mr. Radley.

Your father Mr. Radulovitz might not have been the best of fathers, but, if I...

What do I... My family?

No, I don't have a...

But surely, now that he's passed away, his children should...

But to have found a father after all these years...

I would...

Wouldn't you want your children, his grandchildren, to know?

It's not too late.

Uh, no. I... I know he's dead, but...

You're right.

I wouldn't know.

And would you be able to think of anyone who might have had contact?

Someone who might at least want to be present at the funeral?

No.

And you... You wouldn't...

No.

Very well, Mr. Radulovitz.

I'm, I'm sorry, Mr. Radley.

I understand. Thank you.

Good-bye.


Who says it's my dog? How do you know it's his piss?

That dog is always out here, always.

I only have to open my door and he rushes in my house.

Are you some sort of dog piss expert?

Have a look up the wall. Look how high it is.

I only got a little dog.


Yes, yes. I would like to confirm that a package addressed to Miss Dawn Harvey...

What was in it?

Well, why do you need to know?

Ashes. The ashes of Mr. George Harvey.

What kind of ashes?

Excuse me, am I speaking to Australia Post, Yeperenye Shopping Center, 13 Cactus Street, Alice Springs?

Uh, what else? Let me see.

He has a blue paw and there's a gray mark on...

Ah! Now, this could help. There's a...

He has a tattoo on his right ear of...

Well, as I said, we found the dog next to the body.

I mean, in the apartment of Mr. Didion.

And we thought that someone involved with dog racing might know the dog, and therefore, the owner.


We are here to celebrate the life of Jane Ford, a woman who enjoyed life for all it could bring.

She was born in the summer of 1945, as peace finally came to the world, in Scarborough.

The only daughter of Jack and Nora Ford.

And what a joy it must have been for them to hold her.

The lovely, maybe unexpected fruit of a rare reunion in those turbulent times.

She grew to enjoy what life most readily offered, the warmth of a sunny day at the beach, a simple yet tasteful necklace, a new stick of red lipstick.

She was passionate about dance, flamenco in particular, and always looked gorgeous when stepping out on the dance floor in her red dress.

Later in life, her love of animals made her care for her sweet cat, Susie, with whom she shared many happy years, always celebrating Christmas together in great style.

Just you again, Mr. May?

Afraid so.

Six in this one already. This is the last one.


Got yourself a cracking spot there, Mr. May.

By the time it's your turn, those branches will be shading anyone who comes to visit you.

Good to plan this kind of thing.

Uncle Fred ended up in Surbiton.

I'm sure he wouldn't have liked that one bit.

London Borough of Kennington, Client Services.

Good afternoon, Mr. Huxley.

Very well, thank you.

Found today.

No point of contact.

Yes. I will go this afternoon.

And the address?


The neighbors complained about the smell.

The police said it must've been weeks.

I didn't really know him.

Bit of a loner. You know the type.

So you live opposite, eh?

Did you know him?

No, I didn't know him.

I only get involved if there's a problem.

Boiler. Something like that.

You better wear these.


I can't see a record player.

No. He probably sold it for a couple of drinks.

Oh.


Ah! What about that, eh?

Time stops for no one.

Here he is. Billy Stoke.

I can't say I recognize him.

They all look the same, don't they?

Call the health department.

They need to clean and clear this place as soon as possible.

Except for the carriage clock.

That goes to the pawn brokers on the High Street.


Thank you. Thank you very much.

Good-bye now.

No family again, Mr. May?

Maybe.

Mr. May.

Mr. Pratchett.

Could I see you in my office, please?

As I said, your department is being amalgamated with that of the Dulwich office, here represented by Miss Pilger.

And from today the coroner is referring all cases to the new office.

Dulwich. Mmm-hmm.

I guess I could buy a bicycle.

Oh, no, you don't understand.

You won't need to travel, that's the point.

Uh, given the current pressure on finances, the council is undertaking a new round of efficiency savings.

We're letting you go.

You're letting me go?

Mr. May, in the two months I've been here, I've been able to observe you at work.

And there's no doubt you're very thorough, but, if I may say so, you're also very slow, not to say expensive, given the number of funerals you choose to organize as opposed to cremations.

But when there are indications of religious...

John, you've been with the council for how long?

Twenty-two years.

Twenty-two years.

Well, I think you should see this as an opportunity for a new beginning, don't you?

A new life.

I'm sure the council's references will enable you to find new and challenging work.

A job where people are alive, for a change?

What about this morning's case?

This morning? Ah, yes. That'll be your last one.

Please close it in three days.


Should be the right size.

Sorry about this.

You know, health rules.

I understand.

I also have to wear this stuff at work sometimes.

You're in food processing, too, then?

Baking?

Baking? No. No, not really baking. I'm actually a...

Well, I only have to wear this when I see people.

People?

Yes. I mean people, uh, who, who don't bake anymore.

Billy. Billy Stoke.

Worst player in the team. Nobody would dare kick him out.

Bloody temper.

Hear that?

Managed to fight both management and union reps about the afternoon break.

He won us five extra minutes, then, uh, fucked off.

Just, uh, just packed it in.

But before he does that, what does he do?

Pisses in a vat of pork meat.

Some of the batch got through.

Pies never tasted so good.

Here, have one.

Thank you. I don't smoke.

We found this in his home.

Do you know who she might be?

No idea.

Looks a bit like him.

Daughter, maybe?

Yes.

That's what I think.

It would be nice to give it to her if she was still alive.

He must have loved her.

Funny, though.

He never mentioned a family.

We were best mates, really, for a time.

Like school kids, you know, just older.

He was like me older brother.

Then, uh, Billy met the fish-and-chips lady in Whitby, and he left to be with her.

Whitby?

Would you know her name?

Her address, maybe?

No, sorry. Only saw her a couple of times.

Lovely girl, though.

Billy always had a way with the ladies.

Something about him. Always on the edge.

I don't know.

Do you understand women?

There will be a funeral in a few days' time in London.

Would you consider coming?

A funeral?

Don't know.

I mean, it would be good to have a drink with him, but...

A funeral?

After so long...

You miss that train next time and I won't be waiting.

Yeah, you will. You love me too much.

The 12:50 service to London, St. Pancras...

I might have better offers. ...is delayed until 13:05.

Bollocks. Hey!

You'll never find anyone who loves you as much as I do.

Yeah? How much do you love me then?

Well, I love you more than you love me, that's for sure.

A black tea, please.

You should try the hot chocolate.

Just got this new machine. It's gorgeous.

All right.

A hot chocolate, please.

The train departing from platform three is the 12:50 service to London, St. Pancras.


Hello, Mr. Pratchett?

Yes, Mr. Pratchett, it's John May.

John May, Client Services?

Yes, I know. I'm sorry.

I haven't been feeling myself today.

No, still not quite right.

I don't think I will be in tomorrow.

Yes, yes, of course.

Good-bye, Mr. Pratch...


Just put them on top of the others.

When he was good, he was wonderful.

And kind and loving.

When he was bad, you got out the room.

Just half the sack in the peeler!

And then pull the switch above your head, the one on the left.

When they're done, in the chipper.

And don't put your hands in if you like your fingers.

I can only tell you about his life here with me.

He never spoke about his life before.

He could give you so much just in a day, you didn't want to be anywhere else but with him.

Do you know what I mean?

It was me who asked him to move in.

Worked a while on the boats.

That went, thanks to those fools in Brussels.

So he started helping out in here.

He was good at it.

Put extra beer in the batter. Customers were happy.

And it was nice to have him around all day.

Strange job you've got.

All those lives.

I couldn't do it.

I like my work.

Here, love.

You got that paper?

Oh, hell, I forgot.

Give me a minute. Mind the child, will you?

Bit early for another inspection.

Had the last one mid-summer.

No, no. I'm here to find people, well, friends maybe, for a man who was here 20 years ago.

William Stoke?

Him?

You won't find any friends of his around here.

What's he done now, killed somebody?

No. Actually, he died a few weeks ago.

Well, good riddance.

Wasn't all there, if you ask me.

Fried a man alive, he did.

This guy were faffin' with Mary.

Billy gets vexed, lands him one.

So the guy picks up a knife.

Billy grabs his arm, shoves it in the fryer, up to here and holds it there.

Knife and all.

Mad, I tell you.

Says here it should be paid in June. Hello.

Good morning.

Uh, don't worry about that, love. I'll sort that out.

Did you miss Mummy?

Was just tellin' him about when Billy fried that guy.

Mad, eh?

Don't forget we promised Mum we'd take her to the bingo.

Want some more? Huh? No?

Don't listen to him.

Billy were cleared, completely.

But he wasn't the same after that.

Started drinking a lot.

Became impossible, even with me.

And after a while, he just upped and left.

We found this in his room.

Do you recognize her?

Did he ever speak of a family?

No.

He never spoke of having a family.

He did leave something behind, but he never knew about it.

Shift ends at 4:30, so I'll see you then.

Bye, love.

Bye.

Bye.

Miss Jones, there will be a funeral, Billy's funeral, in a few days, in London. You must come.

Bring his daughter and his granddaughter. It's wonderful...

I'm sorry, it's not possible.

But you're his family.

We're not his family. He didn't want one.

And I can't.

It's too long ago. It's too much to explain.

The council could help with the transport.

I loved him.

Never loved anyone else since, but I can't.

Please don't insist.

Do you know where he might have moved on to when he left?

No idea.

Prison, most likely.


Good morning, Mr. White.

Mr. May. What news from the land of the livin'?

"Friar in Robin Hood's band," four letters?

Tuck. Yeah, Tuck.

You're wasted here, Mr. May.

Mastermind, big leather chair, that's where you belong.

I'd give it a go, if I were you.

Mr. White, our last case, William Stoke.

Row two, tray eight. Forty days rotting, I believe.

Forty?

Well, he won't have to wait any longer.

If you can get him ready, please.

Oh, they've just taken another three for cremation this afternoon.

I've got more checkin' out than checkin' in these days.

I'll be out of a job soon.

Here, Mr. May, "Flightless bird," four letters?

Dodo.

D-O-D-O, "Dodo."

I never heard of it.

You're a rare thing, Mr. May!

Another fruitful day, John, almost there?

Mr. Pratchett.

Miss Pilger tells me of great progress, John.

The council's very pleased.

I'm sure you'll be pleased in turn with the references I'm preparing.

Thank you.

See, it wasn't that difficult, after all.

Sorry?

Yeah, I've been thinking about this, your job.

And let's face it. The dead are dead.

Funerals are for the living.

So, if there's no one there, there's no one to care. Right?

I mean, for the living, could be better not to know.

You know, no funeral, no sadness, no tears.

What do you think?

I can't say I've ever thought of it that way, Mr. Pratchett.

Well, anyway, the dead are dead.

They're not there. They don't care. All right?


Mr. Pratchett! Mr. Pratchett!

Yes, John? Mr. Pratchett...

I need a few more days.

More days? I'm afraid that won't be possible, John.

The council's already decided... My last case, William Stoke.

John, John, there's really no need for you to. Miss Pilger can sort it.

It'll only take a few days.

Right. All right. But it'll have to be on your own time.

Your termination notice has already been signed and the council can't reissue it. Okay?

Of course. I understand, Mr. Pratchett.

No, no, no. We have no knowledge of an actual conviction.

But, you see, Mr. Stoke was on a, a particular trajectory.

I think mostly short spells, vagrancy, assaults, that sort of thing, but, uh, no trouble inside.

And you have no record of any visitors?

No. We sent the old logs off to the Metropolitan Archives.

And they can't find them there?

Well, you could try the Home Office, but, you know, we're talking about 20 years ago.

Seventeen, actually.

Mr. May, if we have to remember what happens to every man who's walked through here, we wouldn't get much sleep at night.

And I like my sleep.

I'll tell you one thing.

Your Billy once hung over the edge of the third floor landing from a belt with his teeth.

Three-and-a-half minutes.

He was raising money for some charity.

And all the lads put a few quid in.

His teeth?

Yeah, his teeth, yeah.

How about that, then?

Good-bye, Mr. May.


Yes?

Kelly Stoke?

Sorry?

You are not Kelly Stoke?

Sorry? Daughter of William Stoke?

Yeah. Sorry, who are you?

I'm John May.

Kennington Borough Council.

Kennington?

I have some sad news, I'm afraid.

Your father has died.

When?

Well, it's hard to say exactly.

Why?

Because... Um...

I don't wanna know.

Thank you.

Miss Stoke.

There is this.

I found it in his flat.


He never even wrote.

I was so angry.

Still am, I guess.

Then one day, it was my birthday, 18.

He called.

He didn't mention my birthday, but he must've known.

He must have.

Don't you think? Of course.

Of course he knew. He remembered.

Well, he was in prison, drunk, or so it sounded, he'd hit rock bottom and...

He wanted to square things before he got out, so he could start again.

Mum wasn't sure, but we still went, though.

I almost didn't recognize him.

But he knew who I was.

And I had changed, you know, in eight years.

But he knew as soon as I walked in.

Yeah. Yeah.

Only as soon as he turned around, it all came out.

I don't know where from.

I just started about Mum, him leavin' us, how selfish he was.

And then he started shoutin' 'cause Billy Stoke never backed down in the face of a row, did he?

And it was horrible.

Guard had to come over.

And then he punched the guard in the face, turned around, walked out the door, and I never saw him again.


That's Dad with Jumbo.

Both Paras. It's in the Falklands.

They were best mates.

He, uh, got in touch with me about ten years ago.

Wanted to find Dad. I couldn't help him, but, uh, he sent me that anyway.

No, take it.

I don't need it, I mean...

I don't know why I kept it, really.

I'm... I'm fine.

It's just... Really, it's just, um...

Well, it's just the shock.

I must ask.

Your mother, is she...

She's dead.

Quite peacefully.

And, um, and someone with her.

Too early, though.

Three years ago.

I'm an orphan as of today.

Yes.

That's not nice.

Whenever it happens. No.

I should go.

I'm very grateful for your time.


Thank you.

Thank you for coming to tell me.

Of course.

And you have my number, if...

If you decide to involve yourself any further.

The funeral.

And I've arranged...

Please, Mr. May, don't say any more.

You've already said such a lot.


Excuse me! Your door!

Your door!

Your door!


John May.

Thought I heard you comin' down the corridor.

Young footsteps. Not many of them around here.

Come in. I'm Jumbo.

Very pleased to meet you, Jumbo.

Made you some dinner. Hope it suits.

Some tea there, just brewed.

Pour yourself a cup and sit down. Eat.

Thank you very much.

All right?

Yes, thank you.

Perfect.

So, Billy's daughter told you about me.

I remember her voice.

Must be a lovely girl. Gentle.

Yes. Gentle.

Didn't get that from her father.

Knocked the bloody head off me my first day in the army.

Wouldn't be here now, though, if it wasn't for him.

Didn't leave me on that bloody mountain.

The Falklands?

Right.

Fucking place.

You been in the army?

Uh, me? No.

No, I haven't.

Best and worst of all lives, the Paras.

Pick the meanest bastards and then...

When I found him again, he was on the streets, a dosser.

Mind you, he only slept in the poshest places, Berkeley Square, Green Park.

No Kings Cross for him.

The drink, helps you forget, helps you to sleep without dreamin'.

Then it gets inside you and it won't come out.

It's awful when you think about it. Killing a man.

And you... You stayed on?

No.

As soon as I got out of hospital I came down to London.

Tried settling down. Even got married.

What a day that was.

Fell asleep in the church.

We met at a dance.

She was hiding behind the pillars, pretending not to look.

Two left feet. Lovely.

Them were the days.

It's all right, Officer.

Just here having a think, that's all.

He's not from the law, he's from St. Jude's.

St. Jude's, yeah?

Still tryin' to turn us off drink for a soup?

What happened?

They used to send pretty birds to convince us.

Are we not worth it now?

I'm from Kennington Borough.

I'm looking for people who might have known a man called William Stoke.

Billy Stoke.

I'm told he used to come here often.

Billy Stoke. You mean Big Billy? What's with him?

Actually, he passed away a few weeks ago.

Weeks?

We ain't seen him for months, years even.

What is it you wanna know?

I'd like to know what he was like, what acquaintances he had.

Yeah? Well, information like that is worth the price of a drink.

Don't ya think?

A bottle of whiskey, please.

Which? The large one.

That's what I call a drink. Good man.

Thanks.

Well, sit down, sit down. You'll give us a turned neck.

Big Billy.

He was the worst beggar.

Hold on a minute.

Here. Have a red one. They're good.

No, thank you. I haven't eaten.


His heart wasn't in it, you see.

The punters felt it. They never stopped.

See, it was Lesley who got him to drink.

He'd have been sober without her.

Lesley?

We were all mad for her. I mean...

I weren't.

But out of the crew, she picked Billy, the only one who didn't pester her.

I didn't. You did!

God, do you remember that time he nicked that chocolate for her?

It was all melted.

He's all caked in it, all covered in this, ugh, sticky chocolate.

Oh, yeah, he got three months for that. Just for chocolate.

Do you know where I can find Lesley?

Bone yard.

Good funeral, though.

Lovely lady.

Good drink after.

You know, they never seemed to talk.

They just sat there on a bench together.

Well, that's what we all want, isn't it?

A woman to be quiet with.


Okay, G.

This one here, G 93485.

Ah, 93485. Right.

Good views.

Aren't they?

Lovely.

And you would like to...

I'd like to make it available for someone else.

A family member?

No family.

Just a friend.


London Borough of Kennington, Client Services, John May speaking.

Yes.

Miss Stoke. Of course.

11:00.

Not Plymouth, but two stops before Plymouth.

Off platform two. Yes.

Sure I'll find it.

Thank you very much, Miss Stoke.

I mean, Kelly.

Thank you, Kelly.

See you tomorrow.


I thought this piece here.

It really has something.

I'm, I'm sure it's never been used in a funeral before.

But you'll see... I mean, you'll hear when you hear it.

Next Friday.

And... And...

Uh, uh, yes, the memorial.

They call it red granite, but it's not red, it's darker, more maroon.

It's like the color of his beret in the army.

I thought your father would have liked that.

And the place.

I really hope you like it. It's...

Well, on a good day, you can see for miles.

And even when the weather's not that great, it's so open, you really feel you're...

You really feel you're... I mean, he is...

He's, he's outside. He's not inside, not under.

I was thinking next Friday after the service, maybe we could go somewhere for a cup of tea or chocolate.

Just to, you know, just to, just to chat.

If you have time, of course. If you...

Yes.

Yes, I would like that very much.

Just a cup of something.

And I do have time.

I have lots of time.

See you there, then, John.

And thank you.

Thank you for everything you've done.

No need.

It was...

Just my job.


Good-bye, mate.