The Reckoning (2003) Movie Script

( woman vocalizing )
( ominous theme plays )
NICHOLAS: Seek those things
that are above...
not those things
that are upon the Earth.
Brothers and sisters...
( people coughing )
...every day I hear
a grumbling against God.
Times are hard.
The times are bad.
Grievous times.
And that they are.
( baby crying )
But let us not forget...
the words of the Apostle
in his letter to the Romans.
"The sufferings
"of this present time
"are not to be compared
with the future glory...
...the glory that shall
be revealed in us."
Indeed, brothers and sisters,
I would go further.
I would go further and say
that this life
simply has to be harsh...
to stop Earthly happiness
being loved.
It is essential
that this life be troubled
so that the other life--
Right now
it is still dark.
You cannot see God yet...
or hold in your hands...
( baby continues crying )
...all that he has promised you.
But do not despair.
Trust in him.
Hope in him.
You will not be disappointed.
Tribulation produces patience.
Patience passes the test.
Passing the test gives us hope.
( panting )
While hope...
( panting )
Hope does not disappoint.
( speaks Latin )
( panting )
NICHOLAS: the other life
may be light.
Seek those things
that are above...
not those things
that are upon the Earth.
( panting )
( violin theme playing )
( birds chirping )
( grunts )
( twig snaps )
( indistinct animal noise )
( twigs snapping )
( crackling )
MAN: Straw, Springer...
look away.
Look away.
( men grunting, snarling )
MAN 2: I have his legs now.
Now's the moment.
- WOMAN: Okay, okay.
- MAN: It's all right.
It's all right, Brendan,
God be with you.
( grunts )
MAN 2: What's that?
( yells )
( grunts )
( woman vocalizing )
( cackling )
( yells )
( making animal sounds )
Robber scum skulking in the bushes, eh?
Where are the others?
Up ahead?
No, I'm alone!
I'm alone!
MAN: Stephen!
In these times,
what kind of fool
travels the road alone?
I'm a laborer out of bond.
I left my master's land
without a license.
He's lying.
Oh, God, please.
- Speak up.
- Please don't.
Or shall we loosen
your tongue with a knife?
Listen, let me go.
I promise I won't say what I saw.
What did you see?
I saw a merchant
dragged from his cart.
Aye, now we are the brigands.
Your clothes.
Our costumes,
worn against the cold.
NICHOLAS: Costumes?
We're actors.
Traveling actors.
And here's our badge of livery.
We're Lord Robert Sanville's
He's no brigand.
I saw you kill a man.
Brendan was my father,
our father and our leader.
He's been ill for many months.
A canker of the belly.
He begged us to end his pain.
The hands of a laborer?
I don't think so.
Come on. This bloody axle!
It's getting worse.
We'll find a cartwright
in the next town.
What do we pay him with?
We've not even got enough
to bury Brendan.
Then we'll perform.
Where are you headed?
North to Durham, to perform
for our lord's cousin.
That's all we are, a Christmas gift
from one noble family to another.
TOBIAS: Come on!
- Can I come with you?
- SARAH: No!
( panting )
I want to join your troupe.
- You know you're short an actor.
- I could learn.
No one could ever replace Brendan.
No one.
Well, I wouldn't try and replace him,
just plug the hole he left behind.
Plug the hole he left behind?
All right,
let's see what you can do.
I know, be a bird.
( makes chirruping sound )
- Be a what?
- A bird. Be a bird.
How about if we try a heron?
A big gangling lad like you.
Aye, that's it.
But now on one leg.
Hop. Move, move.
Not around in circles.
Go that way.
Godspeed, stranger.
He's right.
With Brendan gone,
our parts will have to change.
We need someone to play
the minor roles.
Attendant Angel, Devil's Fool.
You're the fool, Marty.
We don't even know who he is.
We'll vote on it.
As our leader, I'm calling a vote.
Oh, well, there's a surprise.
I'm against it.
Need you ask?
( stammers )
Well, I've-- I've never
seen a heron like it.
I'm with you.
I know what you're doing.
Come on.
TOBIAS: Where to now?
MARTIN: We head west.
And why not east?
Fenland's impassible.
And towards the west?
I don't know, Tobias,
I've never been there.
( grunting )
( ominous violin theme plays )
MAN: Hey, hey, whoa.
SARAH: Whoa. Whoa!
So where is everyone?
- STEPHEN: There's no one here.
- MARTIN: We'll head up this way.
Hyah! Hyah!
Get. Get.
Get, get, get, get, get.
( stirring theme plays )
Hey, hey, hey, come on! Come on.
- Yeah, yeah.
- SARAH: Come on.
Come here.
Come here, you.
You're useless!
MAN: How many can say
they walk their roads
and work their fields without fear?
Sleep safe in their beds
at night, their bellies full?
If we can, it is because
each man plays his part in it.
There can be no exceptions.
For his vigilance in this affair,
the court is beholden
to Brother Simon Damian,
confessor to our noble lord,
Robert de Guise...
...from whom this court draws
the power to dispense justice
according to the laws of the land.
After due deliberation of the facts
and circumstances of this case,
it is our finding
that the accused
is guilty as charged.
It is the sentence of this court
that you be hanged by the neck
and your body drawn
until you are dead.
( crowd whispers indistinctly )
And may God have mercy on your soul.
- What was her crime?
- MAN: Murder.
Young Thomas Wells.
Sixpence for this?
For the use of the yard,
twopence on every shilling taken
at the gate.
It's the Feast of Saint Lazarus
There'll be plenty other minstrels
happy to pay the price.
We're not some band of minstrels.
We're actors.
Actors, minstrels or scoundrels,
it's a share of the purse.
We'll take it.
When I think of the respect
our profession used to command...
One, two, three. Pull!
Sorry, Martin.
Come on, Straw.
Get the head.
Get it in front, Straw.
Get it.
- Get the head.
- I'm trying.
Keep him covered. Quickly.
Hold him up, Straw.
- To the barn.
- ACTOR: Hold him up.
That's right, hold him up.
Which way, Martin?
- To the right.
- To the right.
He's not stiff anymore.
STEPHEN: That's what happens
after a day and a night have passed.
Cover him up, Stephen.
Stephen, cover him up.
You know a lot about death.
- So does Stephen.
- Stephen was a soldier.
This one doesn't strike me
as a veteran of any war.
The first plague hit my village hard.
Those of us who were spared
saw to those of us who weren't.
He's a liar.
That fucking lad is a liar.
That's it.
Tobias is right,
we need a cartwright.
( tranquil harp theme playing )
MARTIN: Good people,
we give you our play
of Adam and Eve.
We pray you,
give your ears and eyes.
See Eden lost by Satan's lies.
How woman led her man to fall
from holy grace and with him, all.
I, God,
great in majesty,
in whom no first
or last can be.
Heaven and Earth are made through me.
And at my bidding
now... be light.
( audience member chuckles )
With breath and body...
him to bless,
above all creatures...
both great... and less.
The serpent...
( hisses )
...came with song...
and smile, but Adam slept,
free from his wiles.
And while he slumbered,
thus alone,
I drew from him a single bone...
and fashioned forth
a human mate...
that mankind might itself cre--
( clears throat )
( dog barks in distance )
( Tobias shouts ):
Ghostly paradise...
I was in.
But thence I fell,
and through my sin...
( hisses )
...Earthly Paradise, my God's gift,
men and women dwell within.
I have tried my all, but in vain,
by my wiles to bring them pain.
( hissing )
By my wiles to bring them pain.
By my wiles to bring them pain!
Or must I say that line again?
If the world belong to thee,
lord of all things thou wouldst be.
If the world belonged to me,
women all would ready be
to harken
to the devil!
( roars )
I'm-- I'm sorry.
( cries )
Two measly shillings.
We used to make ten.
Not exactly a fortune, is it?
Well, it is enough to bury
Brendan and be on our way.
Oh, Brendan, Brendan.
Who would have thought he would
end up in this hellhole?
MARTIN: Father?
We'd like to have a word with you.
There's a friend of ours
we'd like to have buried.
Dead, I trust?
PRIEST: As you can see,
we're a little busy here.
( woman shouting indistinctly
in distance )
A child's grave.
Thomas Wells.
MAN: Come now.
The boy murdered by the woman?
MAN: Aye.
She, uh, strangled him.
- Six shillings.
- Six?
Six shillings.
Are you, by any chance,
related to the innkeeper?
I am not some tinker
to be bartered with.
We'll bury him in a wood
out of town.
I promised him hallowed ground.
We have no choice, Martin.
You understand?
What kind of God
inflicts such suffering
on his loyal servant?
Or, indeed, his own son?
( Nicholas speaking Latin )
- Amen.
- ACTORS: Amen.
Goodbye, old friend.
Nicholas, thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you, Father.
( attempts to speak Latin )
- It's just you, a priest.
- Martin, shh. Please.
What did you do?
A priest on the road,
traveling incognito.
A man's secrets are his own, Tobias.
No, no, no, it's fine.
I should tell.
I lay with a woman from my village...
another man's wife.
I thought that went with the job.
- MARTIN: Enough said, I think.
- No, no, no, no, no.
I want to know every
sordid little detail.
Get off.
Get off of me.
It's been so long.
You're the devil, my guest.
- TOBIAS: Stephen!
- Tobias!
( grunts )
( laughs loudly )
( soft romantic theme playing )
What are you really running from?
I see it in you.
Not the woman.
Some darker secret.
As long as you're with us... force us to carry it too.
( light snoring )
( bird flutters )
( distorted scream )
( woman vocalizes )
( groans )
Where will you go?
The traveler's friend.
Saint Christopher.
It was my mother's,
and her mother's before her.
Where is she now?
Who did you lose?
A sister.
I begged to be taken with her.
And God had another purpose for you?
I think he's given up
hope on me by now.
Without you,
a good man would not have
received the burial he deserved.
You've earned our thanks,
I daresay.
Our friendship will follow.
It may not be much...
but it's more than lies out there.
( rooster crows, dog barks )
Nicholas, would you have paid
good money to have seen
our play last night?
You're not alone.
No one comes to see us anymore.
Our purse is always empty,
our stomachs rarely full.
In Wakefield and York
the guilds put on cycles
of all of the mysteries in a week,
everything from the fall of Lucifer
to the Day of Judgment.
In Coventry, I saw Christ
resurrected from the tomb,
hoisted up to the heavens
on a cord not visible to the eye.
- How can we match them?
- You can't.
Not unless we change our stories.
You can't change stories,
they're written in the Bible.
I'm talking about new stories.
Ask yourself--
What matters more
to the people of this town,
Eve's temptation of Adam,
or the murder of a young boy
who's lived among them for years?
( pig squeals )
Feast of Saint Lazarus.
Bad day for pigs.
I'll settle up with the cartwright.
It's a gift.
( Stephen clears throat )
STEPHEN: That ass-faced
innkeeper and his poisonous ale,
I'll be glad to see
the back of both of them.
Bad news.
The axle can't be repaired.
It has to be replaced.
TOBIAS: How much?
We must perform again.
I can barely stand upright,
let alone prance about
a yard on stilts.
You may not have to.
I have a proposal.
We change our play.
Oh, please, please,
not the Crucifixion.
All that hollering.
A new play.
A play about greed,
temptation and mortal sin.
A tale in which
virtue and vice contend
for the soul of a young woman,
and justice prevails as she must.
- Thomas Wells?
- STRAW: Thomas who?
He's the young lad
who sleeps beneath Brendan.
I knew it.
The one that girl murdered.
STEPHEN: Who dares play things
that happen in this world?
It was just a question of time.
I believe this is the way plays
will be made in times to come.
Ah, so you've been saying
for years.
But what did your father
think of your ideas?
By naming me as his successor,
I believe he was condoning them.
Lies! Lies, Martin.
Even at the last.
Lies, and you know it.
Your father'd turn in his grave
if he could hear you now.
I don't know about that.
It's a tight fit in there.
Martin, it's just a killing.
So was Cain and Abel,
and we've played it often.
Cain and Abel is in the Bible.
God has not revealed to us
the meaning of this story.
So much of God's meaning
remains hidden to us.
Why does he visit blights
upon our crops,
plagues upon our people?
The priests spout empty words
from the pulpit,
but we can show the people
God's hand at work
with real stories,
in events that touch us directly.
Why did she kill him?
You've no voice in this.
But I have.
Greed. The boy was carrying
his father's purse at the time.
She lured him off the road,
then strangled him.
Then the road is the way of life.
- The path of righteousness.
- MARTIN: Yes.
And by turning aside for temptation,
the boy found death lurking for him.
Don't you see?
It's a morality play.
Only the figures are different.
So where are the words for this play?
We can do it in mime,
speak words as we think them.
The minds of men may change...
but we have no authority
from God on this.
Aye, yeah.
- I'm still against it.
- So am I.
Well, why not?
We are stuck here till tomorrow,
like it or not.
Three for, two against.
The deciding vote is yours.
An equal split
goes against the proposal.
Remember, you're a priest.
God hasn't given us
this story to use.
But he is everywhere,
even in this story.
Martin's right,
it's for us to find him.
Aye, aye, aye.
Just as I thought.
An ally to swing the vote your way.
( Martin chuckles )
We'll perform this afternoon...
...and use the morning to find
out more of what happened.
NICHOLAS: Jack Flint?
MAN: Yeah?
Uh, um...
You're the man who found
the body of Thomas Wells.
- Are you from the castle?
- No.
- Because I've already--
- No, I'm a player.
We plan to tell the story
of the killing.
( ominous theme plays )
Worse than I feared.
De Rougement.
Ampleforth, even Vilius.
( horse whinnies in distance )
Where are you going?
What did you find out?
He wouldn't speak to me.
No one would.
It's a feast day.
They've got other things
to think about.
Come on.
Half a shilling?
See into her heart.
The heart of our play.
( door unlocks )
- MAN: Did you hear?
- NICHOLAS: Who are these people?
JAILER: Guests of Lord de Guise.
There's one who left his lands
to work for another.
Another who preached dissent!
( bangs on wall )
( chuckles )
Hey, wha--?
It was he that gave me the money.
You can stay here and watch.
Beware her touch.
They say...
she has the power.
- What power?
- Well,
you've paid dear for the pleasure
of hearing your own crowing.
She's deaf and dumb!
JAILER ( in distance ):
What you looking at?
( door slams shut )
( chains jangle )
My name is Martin.
That's Nicholas.
We're players.
- What am I doing?
- She can't hear.
You can see my words?
We're to tell your story
on our stage.
( grunts )
( whimpers )
Why did you do it?
What possessed you?
A young boy, a child.
The monk saw you
near the woods at dusk.
- He's lying.
- Why?
But the sheriff and his men
found the boy's purse in your house.
The monk.
The one at the trial?
That-- That monk?
The monk's purse.
The boy's purse.
The monk...
grabbed the boy's purse and...
...hid it under your bed.
You saw him do this?
You weren't there?
So the--
The monk was with them...
when they searched your house?
And they arrested you
when you returned.
Silence in there!
( cackles )
You didn't do it.
( mouths words )
Got it.
She didn't do it.
She wasn't even there.
So she says.
So would you.
She wasn't there.
What would you have us do?
Declare her innocent
based on a few snatches of mime?
You're a player, a master player.
And you know how to read people.
Tell me she was lying.
Look at me.
For heaven sakes, man,
we're actors, not judges.
Well, that's exactly
what we have become.
Just tell me she was lying.
Look at me.
I'll hear no more of this.
( suspenseful theme plays )
The lad went with his family
to a village just near here
to sell his horse.
It was a cow.
A horse, a cow, it doesn't matter.
The point is,
his father went straight
to the nearest alehouse
with the money, to drink it all away.
And he would have done so--
If his wife
hadn't slipped it to Thomas,
sending him home with it.
Which is why he was on the road.
It's why he got strangled.
Yes, all right,
we know the rest of it.
Good work, Springer.
We'll open with the alehouse.
Tobias, set up the table here.
Stephen, you play the drunken father.
Straw, you'll have to double.
You'll play both
the mother and the woman.
Her name is Martha.
And you, Nicholas,
shall be Good Counsel,
urging Thomas to stay on the path,
the way of life.
STEPHEN: Right. Right,
where should we start from?
From over there.
( sniffs )
What troubles you?
Ask your brother.
MARTIN: You're free to leave.
If I do, does my precious vote
go with me?
I will put on this play
with or without you.
The first are arriving.
Well, take your place.
Thank you.
Thank you.
( speaks indistinctly )
Thank you.
( crowd chattering )
( shouts ):
Good masters!
- We beg your patience.
- MAN: Yes, sir.
And also to give
good audience to our play,
which is also yours.
It's a new thing to make a play
that belongs to a town,
and this play does honor
to your town, for it shows
that wrongdoers are punished here
with great speed of justice.
MAN: Aye.
Gentle people, we give you our play
of Thomas Wells.
( audience murmurs and gasps )
The family have just sold their cow.
Their purse is full.
They pass an alehouse.
( audience chuckles )
( slurps noisily )
He tries in vain for half a day,
to drink that precious purse away.
( burps )
( yawns )
Are you ready?
As daylight fades, so does he.
( whispers ):
Straw, take the purse.
For his wife, an opportunity.
( yawns )
...each and every man
to keep well upon...
( whispers ):
Take it now, Straw.
The purse recovered, she must stay,
and so dispatches Thomas on his way.
...of Christ, Good Counsel
is my name.
MARTIN: The shadows lengthen,
night draws ever near,
- ...he's tired and cold,
- TOBIAS: Martin.
his young heart gripped by fear.
He quickens his pace,
still clutching his precious load,
recalling the words of...
Straw needs more time.
Pas de deux it as best you can.
Use your Latin.
You never know.
- Go on.
- Good Counsel is my name,
and some call me Conscience.
My task it is...
Come on, come on, come on.
- Head.
- Come on. urge each and every man
to keep well upon the way of life.
Which path was opened to us
by the sufferings of Christ.
Uh, ah...
( Nicholas stammers )
Come on, come on, come on.
Heed well my words, Thomas,
for as everyone here is aware,
it's in the contrary nature
of the young
to be drawn to the very thing
from which they are warned,
convinced that
their elders conspire...
- It's a disaster.
- keep some...
( crowd murmuring )
...hidden fruit that must be tasted.
( mysterious, seductive
theme playing )
( woman vocalizing )
MARTIN: Sin, in the beginning,
may seem full sweet,
but the reckoning comes,
be you never so fleet.
The die is cast,
his fate now sealed...
WOMAN: It wasn't like that!
MARTIN: Thomas to temptation yields.
- WOMAN: No. No.
- MAN: Shh. Shh.
- Shh.
- What did you say?
My Thomas was a good boy.
Too young to know who holds his hand...
I know my son, I know him.
...and draws him to the shady land.
He wouldn't have gone with her,
I tell you.
I'm sorry.
He wouldn't have gone with her.
NICHOLAS: Listen, what happened
to your boy was tragic.
He wouldn't have gone with her,
I tell you.
- I'm sorry.
- MAN: His mother should know.
( audience dissent intensifies )
- The Reaper...
- Martin. a guise so sweet.
But he must have gone with her.
His body was found in the woods.
She wasn't strong enough to carry him.
No, not strong enough
to wring his neck, neither.
Well, now, he was just a boy.
Big beyond his years, he was.
And strong as an ox.
( audience clamoring angrily )
Get me the sheriff!
Get off the stage.
Get off. That's it.
Please! Quiet!
Quiet! Maybe she hit him
before strangling him!
No! There were no marks
on the body! Just his neck!
MAN: Yes.
That's what I heard
from Jack Flint.
The man who found the body?
MAN 2: He's the only one
to have seen the boy dead.
Even his own mother
weren't allowed to see him!
Is this true?
A mother has a right
to see her own son.
Is this how you repay
the charity of your lord?
The man who gave your son
a proper burial?
Clear the yard!
Come on! Clear the yard!
Let's go.
Clear the yard.
Get word to the Lord de Guise.
WOMAN: Show us a play
about the other boys.
- What other boys?
- SHERIFF: Get a move on!
- SOLDIER: Out of this square.
- There were other boys?
Four in a year.
Disappeared without trace.
SHERIFF: Come on, come on!
I've never seen anything like it.
Neither have I.
You wanted meaning...
you got chaos.
He got truth.
( door slams open )
Sunrise finds you on the road
or in my jail.
The axle's broke.
It won't be ready in time.
Your axle, boy,
was ready this morning
at first light, as well you know.
It's only by the grace
of the Lord de Guise
that you lot still have your freedom.
You lied to us.
A broken axle,
just to put on your play.
Master player?
You're not worthy
of your father's title.
( festive medieval music plays )
( crowd cheers )
( chattering and revelry )
Forgive me.
Grave robbery.
That's a capital offense.
Help him dig.
That's not a boy.
It's a man, my lord.
It's a friend of ours
that we buried here
just to save expense.
And who performed the service?
I did.
turned player.
Take him out.
( strains )
( coughs )
Well, uncover him.
That's why you came here,
to examine him,
see what his parents
were prevented from seeing, yes?
Do as the king's justice says.
The king's justice?
Uncover him.
Remove his robe.
Except the bruising at the neck.
Bite marks.
Oh, God.
Oh, God.
- Oh, Christ!
- What? What is it?
A swelling, in the pit of his arm.
If he hadn't been killed,
the plague would have taken him.
It's all right, there's no danger.
He's three days dead.
There's no danger.
Help me.
Help me.
You'd be wise to move on
with your friends.
Are they gonna hang her?
She's innocent.
No woman could have done this.
Are they going to hang her?
And you, too, if you reveal
what you've done here tonight.
What does the king's justice
want with a dead peasant boy?
I'm sorry.
I'm sorry.
I'm sorry.
The sun isn't up.
They waited as long as they dared,
then they left by the north gate.
You might just make it.
( chuckles )
You mean you dug Brendan up?
I had to, to get to the boy.
He'd been violated.
She didn't do it.
She couldn't have.
We have to help.
How? And why?
You said yourself the king's justice
has shown some interest.
you gave her hope.
You gave her hope!
You can't walk away.
Why are you doing this?
I got no choice!
I have nothing else to lose.
Except your life.
It's just a matter of time
before they find me and hang me.
What, for bedding another man's wife?
Come back with me.
Oh, Christ, Martin.
Come back.
( stammers )
( pushes roughly )
( somber violin theme plays )
( metal clanging )
( grunts )
How much were you paid?
( struggles and grunts )
- What?
- How much were you paid?!
I don't know what
you're talking about!
How much?!
I found the boy and I brought
him back, that's all.
He'd been missing for two days!
I don't believe you.
Found him in the clearing,
by the big oak!
I thought he was asleep, resting,
and then I saw the marks on his neck!
- What were you doing there?
- I was collecting firewood.
I'm a potter, you can ask anyone!
And then I loaded him onto
the horse, and that wasn't easy
- because he was stiff as a board!
- He was what?
He was stiff!
But he'd been dead two days.
Well, so what?
Rigor mortis?
Come on.
Good boy.
Good boy.
( sighs )
I wish I were half the man
my father was...
and half the father you deserve.
I shall see you all in Durham!
( suspenseful theme plays )
MARTIN: I went to the jail
to see your daughter.
I have no daughter.
You don't care
that she's to hang tonight?
It is God's will.
But she's innocent.
No one is innocent.
Then what's her sin?
For it wasn't murder.
She lays on hands and claims
that God himself speaks through them.
She's a healer?
God is the only healer.
Man's nature is corrupt.
It has been since the fall of Eden.
We can be redeemed,
but God is to be found
nowhere in ourselves
as she and her followers claim.
What followers?
Who are you that brings
a message from my daughter
yet knows nothing of her repute
in these parts?
She's scared.
I warned her.
Warned her they would find a way
to bring her before the judges.
- They always do.
- Who?
The monk? The Benedictine?
A minister of hell,
Simon Damian.
The lord he serves, the judge.
They are as one.
And as one,
they will face the flames...
with their hounds, their horses,
and their whores...
that they feed and clothe
from the blood we sweat.
You talk of divine justice.
What of human justice?
You're not from these parts,
are you?
Else you would know,
those who seek justice...
fall prey to it.
( indistinct chattering )
( knock at door )
There is a brother of yours
who wishes to speak with you.
Well, have him come in.
( door closes )
I know that the woman
didn't kill Thomas Wells.
She wasn't even there
the night he died.
What is that to me?
I've seen the body.
Wounds no woman
could have inflicted.
No, the body is buried.
and is once more.
( scoffs ):
So this is your proof?
Evidence you dare not reveal.
I don't have to.
The king's justice
was with me when I dug him up.
It's only a matter of time
before you're taken.
Why tell me this?
Because I'm giving you your life.
Your freedom.
But in return, I want hers.
A written confession,
to be found after you're gone.
( scoffs )
I will not confess to a crime
I didn't commit.
( door opens )
Brother Paul is leaving.
( suspenseful theme plays )
Get that one.
( goat bleats )
( door opens )
Have they caught him yet?
Is it not enough that
an innocent woman should die?
Must I die too?
There is more at stake here
than you will ever know.
How do you sleep?
Daniel! Leave him!
Leave him! Leave him!
The monk's dead,
found hanging in his chamber.
Dead by his own hand.
Out! Out!
I'll have no gropers here!
Gentlemen excepted, of course.
You went to see him.
To ask for his confession,
and if you'd just--!
In return for his freedom?
He wouldn't have got far.
His confession, if there
was one, will never be found.
This is his confession.
Why else take his own life?
He didn't.
When a man is hanged,
the rope rides up
behind the jaw, the ears.
The weight of the body
drags it up.
He was throttled.
Because of you, all is lost.
It's over.
Before they hang you too.
No, no, no, no, no.
No, no, no, no, no.
No, no, no. No.
No, no.
Our horses, fetch.
Saddle them.
How long have you known?
How long?
There was talk
of other boys in France
while Lord de Guise was
on campaign with King Richard.
We needed him then.
At what price?
The greater good of the nation
is a strict mistress to serve.
Oh, I'm sure she is.
And does she now demand
that de Guise is brought down?
Yes, if many more are not to die.
He's planning a rebellion
against the king.
They're gathered in the castle
as we speak.
So, to you, the children
were just a detail?
They were a reason to arrest him.
Our only hope
was to get the monk
to turn king's evidence
against de Guise.
You see now what
your interfering has done?
You should have told me.
A player?
Affairs of state?
You soothe your conscience
with grand phrases.
But it's a weak, contemptible man
who trades in the lies of others.
De Guise is beyond my reach,
and certainly beyond yours.
Tell the people the truth.
They have a right to know the truth.
You think they don't know?
Thanks to him, they have
food enough and shelter.
In these times,
how many can say the same?
Theirs is the silence of consent.
( solemn theme plays )
( drums beat in cadence )
( sighs )
( drums beat in distance )
I'm not sure I can do this.
( woman calls out indistinctly )
We are come here to execute the sentence
passed down by our lord's court
upon this woman,
found guilty of the murder
of Thomas Wells.
She is to be raised
from the ground by her neck,
and her body drawn until she be dead.
Let her death be a lesson to all
who would stray from the paths
of righteousness.
( priest speaking Latin )
WOMAN: She is so brave.
WOMAN 2: God bless you!
( woman vocalizing )
( panting )
NICHOLAS: Stop this!
SARAH: Stop!
Arrest them!
( indistinct chattering )
We came here in ignorance and poverty!
Poverty drove us to claim
your story as our own!
And ignorance blinded us
to its truthful telling.
For both, we beg your forgiveness,
and in return we offer you...
the true story of Thomas Wells.
Yeah, tell us the true story!
Get word to the castle!
Let us begin.
( somber theme plays )
NICHOLAS: It was dark,
someone was watching him.
But it wasn't this woman
stood here before you.
It was the monk,
Brother Simon Damian.
Think of it.
Imagine it!
Thomas would have gone willing,
trusting that a man of God
could not possibly have designs
upon the money he was carrying.
But a night,
a day,
and another night passed...
and Thomas was dead,
with his life wrung from him.
He had already been missing
for two days...
when he was found at daybreak
by Jack Flint.
Flint had difficulty,
and this is important.
He had difficulty loading
the body onto his horse
because it was stiff with rigor mortis.
Now, he took that poor dead boy
back here to the town.
And bad news travels quickly.
Thomas Wells is dead.
- Thomas Wells is dead.
- NICHOLAS: You people...
- Thomas Wells is dead.
- became angry.
- Thomas Wells is dead.
- And the monk...
The monk was frightened.
So he lied.
He said that he had seen this woman,
Martha Lambert,
near the woods
the night Thomas disappeared.
And his word was enough...
( crowd chatters angrily )
...because he was a man of God.
Now, he acted swiftly, and he,
the sheriff and his men
went to Martha's house to arrest her.
But Martha wasn't there,
and she hadn't been
the previous day, either.
Where was she?
She was away.
She was away healing the poor.
Giving her time to people like you.
They broke down her door.
( grunts )
They searched
and they ransacked her house.
TOBIAS: There, down!
And remember,
the monk still had the purse.
And when he was alone,
in her room,
he hid it under her bed,
where it was then discovered.
He took this evidence
that would hang a woman with him,
and he placed it there,
a man of God!
Lies, I say!
She killed the boy!
- How?
- With her bare hands!
- She choked the life from him!
- Why?
- The money he was carrying.
- When?
The night he disappeared.
Then why was the body still stiff
when Jack Flint found him
two days later?
( crowd shouting indistinctly )
The rigor mortis
would have gone by then.
MAN: Speak up, then!
You have an innocent woman
standing on your scaffold.
My Lord de Guise?
Now, you all know Martha!
You know her!
She doesn't have much,
but what she has, she gave freely!
Do not let her pay for it
with her life!
You can stop this!
You can stop this
because you have the truth.
And the truth has power in it.
Thomas was not killed
that first night.
No, he was taken away
and he was held hostage
till the following day...
during which time he was subjected
to the most brutal, unspeakable acts.
( crowd gasps and cries )
Unspeakable acts.
( cries )
But it was not the monk
that violated
and killed Thomas.
Nor did he kill himself.
He was murdered by the very man
whose hunger he only served.
The man for whom
he procured the boys.
Lord Robert de Guise!
Lord de Guise!
De Guise!
He killed Thomas!
And he killed your other boys!
De Guise!
( horses whinny )
MARTIN: Stephen!
You dare to accuse Lord de Guise?
I dare to tell the truth!
Just the truth!
You ask yourself who had Thomas
buried so quickly...
This way.
...not even his mother
could see the body!
MARTIN: Get Nicholas out!
Get out!
( crowd shouting indistinctly )
SARAH: They're coming!
MARTIN: Martha, quickly!
Point the way!
Go, go!
SARAH: Come on!
( soldiers shout in distance )
- SARAH: Quickly!
- MARTIN: To the church!
MARTIN: Tobias!
Get in! Get in!
Close the door!
We'll be safe here.
We changed them with our play.
You changed them.
May I ask who you are?
May I see the face of the man
who wishes to know?
I'm Nicholas de Vilance.
Of Norman blood, like myself.
Well, houses become
somewhat diluted over the years.
Hmph. And why have you come here,
Nicholas de Vilance?
No reason.
No, fate.
Do you believe in fate?
I believe in a fallen bridge
that drove us westward.
But that's not fate,
but poor workmanship.
We create our destiny.
Fate is the religion of the weak.
And you don't strike me as weak.
Foolish, maybe...
and headstrong, yes...
...but not weak.
( snorts )
So it seems I'm accused by you
of unnatural acts and murder.
- Do you deny it?
- Not only deny it,
but defy you or any other man
to prove otherwise.
Well, you know I cannot.
And therein lies
your foolishness and your ruin.
No, don't threaten me.
We're protected by the
holy sanctuary of God's house.
Your threats mean nothing here.
( chuckles )
Do you really believe
that your God has the power
to protect you?
No, nor the inclination.
Well, what kind of God is that?
The kind who allows his innocent
children to be murdered.
Well, since the beginning of time,
your God has had us killing
each other
under his various banners.
So I'll ask you again,
what kind of God is that?
I don't claim to understand.
But I do believe.
Ah. The triumph of blind faith
over reason, huh?
But what you fail to understand...
is that between faith and reason
lies the only true god.
You mean the power of evil?
To murder without conscience?
We are taught that God
bears no responsibility for evil.
That evil springs not from him,
but from the freedom of choice
he has granted
to us.
Well, then, that freedom
is a thankless gift
if all the suffering in the world
is the price we must pay for it.
Sacrilege to the ears of a priest.
Sacrilege from the mouth of a priest.
( chuckles )
And what crime drove you
into the arms
of traveling actors, Father?
How disappointing.
( yells )
And murder.
And you dare lecture me?
You and your companions
are free to leave.
You have my word
you will not be harmed.
And if we refuse?
Are you prepared to die?
Are you?
( chuckles )
Thomas Wells was taken
with the plague.
It is the one consolation
in all this.
He was dead before
you so much as touched him.
What did Brother Damian tell you?
Not the truth.
He dared not tell you the truth.
That he brought you a boy
touched with the plague.
You want to know why I did what I did?
because I wanted to.
( inaudible )
because I...
( sighs )
( door opens and shuts )
( crowd gasps )
Arrest them all.
( panting )
Hold me.
( gasping )
( cries )
( gasping )
( sword clatters )
Get him!
( crowd shouts indistinctly )
( gasping rapidly )
( gasping stops )
Godspeed, my friend.
His death was not in vain.
King Richard shall know of
the great service he rendered.
He didn't do it for you...
or your king.
Stephen? Straw?
Load up the cart.
We have to be off...
to Durham.
To perform our new play.
( slow, meditative theme
playing softly )
( crowd whispering indistinctly )
Let's go!
( slow, meditative theme
continues playing )