Painless (2017) Movie Script

Oh My God.
Pain. Suffering
due to bodily harm.
Symptoms can
be sharp. Stabbing. Shooting.
Causes can be cutaneous,
an injury to the skin: somatic,
originating from the bones,
ligaments, or muscle: or
visceral, from the organs.
It's nature's way of protecting
us, of teaching us how to
protect ourselves.
But every once in a while,
nature makes a mistake.
When's the last time you
had your thyroid checked?
Hand tremors, weak upper
arms, brittle hair.
That's all signs of
Your immune system could be
attacking itself right now.
Is that serious?
If you take radioactive iodine
soon enough, you should be fine.
There you go. Keep the change.
There are over a hundred billion
nerves in the human body.
Sensors in these nerves detect
pain and transmit the signal
along the spinal
cord to the brain.
Everyone has a tale.
You just have to
know how to see it.
You're a genius,
Henry, you know that?
Sometimes I forget how
much pain I'm until it's gone.
I don't know what
I'd do without you.
There's this guy I've been
meaning to talk to you about.
He's well connected.
He deals strictly in
No tweaker shit.
I don't have
time for distractions.
Since when is
money a distraction?
In a dream they say to pinch
yourself to know you're asleep.
If you couldn't feel any pain,
how would you ever
know you're awake?
Whoa, sorry. Oh, my
God, your hand! Are you okay?
Yeah, I'm, fine. Thank you.
Are you sure?
The skin can continue to burn
more than five minutes after a
scalding liquid has
been removed from it.
If it is not treated
immediately, it can affect the
underlying layer of the skin,
leading to serious complications.
You sure you're okay?
Does it hurt?
No. It's okay.
It's okay, really.
What, are you some kind
of doctor or something?
You wouldn't happen to have
any aspirin in there, would you?
That's probably the only
medication I don't have.
Don't get headaches?
Not too often.
You know, you didn't
even flinch back there.
It was like
you didn't even notice.
No, I noticed.
Well, like I said, sorry.
No, wait. Wait, wait.
For your headaches.
What is this, like some kind of
Chinese medicine or something?
Something like that.
Good for your shoulder too.
I should go.
I still got three stops.
You know,
I didn't get your name.
I'm Shani.
Maybe I'll see you around.
Aristotle said
"We cannot learn without pain."
It is the single unifying thread
that connects all organisms.
Even fish experience pain.
What does that make me?
Dr. Raymond Parks' office.
Mm-hmm. Okay.
We will see you then.
Okay. Henry, how you doing?
I've tested all the
Naloxone derivatives. Nothing.
You're going to kill
those damn mice. All right.
Get up here and
let's take a look at you.
- What happened there?
- I don't think it's a big deal.
I dressed it yesterday.
It's a coffee burn.
Yeah, it looks good.
So what's with the, uh,
weight shifter out there?
What do mean?
My new patient?
I mean, her inability
to sit up straight
could suggest she's
suffering from sciatica.
Well that is the diagnosis.
Of course, spinal stenosis would
show a lot of the same symptoms,
and be more difficult
to diagnose.
Sciatica is more likely.
It would also explain the fact
that she leans slightly
forward when she walks to
alleviate her pain instead of
stiffly upright like someone
with sciatica would.
You'd just have to MRI her
lower thoracic region.
Actually, that is interesting.
Now, have you given some
more thought to Maine?
do you realize the strings I have
pulled just to get them to talk to you?
The Fall River Center
is one of the greatest hospitals in the
country for children with rare diseases.
You could be a role model.
Look at this.
You can help these kids, huh?
You know
what they're going through.
You talk to them? Huh?
Yeah, fine. I will, I promise.
That's all I can ask. Sit back.
What if we just up the dosages?
What are they currently?
53 milligrams per kilogram.
No, no, no.
That's too toxic.
you came up with a
similar derivative that
could bond with the
receptors at a slower rate.
Naltrexone has a
similar structure.
No. That's for
alcohol dependence.
But I could create a set
of derivatives from it.
All I would need is...
is a... is a precursor.
Henry. Henry Long?
My name is Andrews. Dr.
Stephen Andrews.
You're a research scientist?
I didn't mean to alarm you.
I just needed to make sure
you are the right candidate.
Candidate for what?
Well, as you know, in recent
years we've made great strides
in the field of pain
management, but that's it.
We've reached an apex.
There's no where left to go.
What's this got to do with me?
In all my years, I've never
come across anyone like you.
A body immune to pain in every way,
and a healthy adult body to boot.
Do you realize how rare that is?
How did you...
Well, just because the world has
forgotten about Raymond
doesn't mean I don't occasionally
still keep tabs on him.
I'm not surprised he never
mentioned me though.
We didn't part on good terms.
So what do you want from me?
I want to offer you a chance.
A chance to help thousands,
maybe millions of people.
You want to study me?
I promise you will
be handsomely rewarded.
I don't have
time for distractions.
Think of all the
people you could help.
Doesn't that mean
anything to you?
If it is possible to
dull the body's senses,
then the opposite
must also be true.
If we can take away the
sensation of pain,
then we must also be
able to create it.
Hi, Henry. This is Dr. Lin
from The Fall River Medical Center.
I believe Dr. Parks told
you to expect our call.
I'm sure Raymond mentioned our
facility offers children with
rare diseases some of the
greatest care in the world.
We'd love it if you could find
the time to come by...
Excuse me?
- Uh, sorry. I gotta go.
- But...
Let me... let me call
you back. Yeah.
I'm sorry, Doctor.
It's all right, Paulina.
You know, she
hates it when you do that.
I need Thebaine.
Thebaine is a precursor to
morphine and codeine.
You planning on
getting in the heroin business?
It's also a
precursor to Naltrexone.
Sit down.
All right.
It's an interesting idea.
I'll give you that.
it's a controlled substance.
I can't just write
you a prescription.
Yeah, but you must know
somebody from back in the day.
I can't just call one of my
colleagues out of the blue
and ask for something like that.
I could lose my license.
Worse, I could go to jail.
Now, what you should do,
come up with a proposal.
Submit it to
a pharmaceutical company.
There isn't a pharmaceutical
company in the world
who would put two cents into
a project like this,
and you know that because there's
not enough people like me
to make it profitable.
First rule in being
a good scientist
is not letting your emotions cloud your
judgment. You're too close to this.
You gotta step back.
Get out of your house.
How did it go with, uh,
The Fall River Center?
Who's Dr. Andrews?
Where'd you hear that name?
He approached me.
For what?
A research project he's doing.
And what did you tell him?
I told him I wasn't interested.
Do yourself a favor. Get that
crazy idea out of your head
before you do something stupid.
And Henry,
next time make an appointment.
I need your help.
I'm listening.
I need you to get me
something called Thebaine.
It's a chemical.
You're the scientist.
That's your department.
It's a controlled substance.
So what does
that have to do with me?
You're a drug dealer.
Fuck you. I'm not a drug dealer.
I just deal what you give me.
Would there be anybody
you know who could get it?
The only people I know
are pill popping junkies.
That's about it.
But while you're here, why don't we talk
about something more important
like you getting me more
of my suppl... God damn it.
I'm outside.
Hello, Henry.
I'm so glad you could make it.
This is your lab?
Oh, it -- it's not much, but we
tend to operate under the radar.
This is Jeremy, my assistant.
What kind of tests
are we talking about?
All very standard. Nothing much.
Completely noninvasive.
Thebaine. Schedule II.
We thought we'd come
to some sort of a...
financial arrangement.
That's my price.
Can you get it or not?
It would take some
time but... yes.
Uh, wait -- wait, you're
actually considering this?
So we have a deal?
Yes. We have a deal.
One more thing.
This is a one-time arrangement.
After this you never
contact me again. Ever.
Sounds reasonable.
Now then, let's get started,
shall we?
The hardest part is the waiting.
Not knowing if you're
going forwards or backwards.
Stuck in limbo.
When you're not like anyone
else, everything is a threat.
Especially people.
You don't need them
any more than they need you.
Keep some pressure on that.
When am I gonna
get what was promised?
Soon, Henry, soon.
These things take time.
Look, I -- I recognize how
difficult this must be for you.
You don't know
the first thing about me.
Henry, I've seen
your gift for diagnosing.
You must have come up with
some theories on my predicament.
Indulge me.
Take a guess. Come on.
Your pain is obviously chronic.
It's capricious.
It's not localized. My best
guess is arthritis,
but you don't show any
signs of swelling, so...
You're not trying. You're a
scientist. Push yourself.
I don't know.
It isn't musculoskeletal.
It's neuropathic?
You have allodynia?
A condition not so
unlike your own, really.
Only whereas in your case your
body doesn't receive pain signals,
mine won't stop
transmitting them.
I know how difficult it can be
when you're not like anyone else.
It makes you angry.
I know.
But you see, that...
that's what I admire about you.
You're here, despite your fear.
I'm not afraid.
Everyone is afraid.
Edison was afraid of the dark,
did you know that?
Know what he did about it?
He lit up the night.
Hi. You know what you want?
Uh, coffee?
Pretty sure we can do that here.
Hey, I know you.
Henry, right? Shani.
Right. Yeah.
What are you doing here?
You're not stalking me, are you?
No, of course not. I...
I'm kidding.
Yeah, I know.
How's the hand?
Oh, it's fine.
How's, uh, how's your shoulder?
Let's see what I
can do about that coffee.
You mind?
I could really use a break.
Unless you'd rather be alone?
No, no. I, uh...
It's fine?
So, Henry...
tell me about yourself.
well, I'm a scientist.
A scientist? That's really interesting.
Which field?
I didn't want to burn myself.
That's actually not a bad idea.
I burn myself all the time.
And occasionally others as well.
Did you know that an average
glass of water actually
has 15 different kinds
of medications in it?
- Is that right?
- Yeah.
I mean, most people don't
know that,
and it's partially because of all the
prescriptions that people flush,
but it's also from urinating.
You sure know a lot about water.
I guess.
Well, we've all
gotta hydrate, right?
Well, actually,
coffee's a diuretic,
so you'd be
dehydrating yourself.
You're kind of strange,
aren't you?
What else do you do?
Like, what do you do or fun?
To be honest, I like to read.
Yeah? Like what?
Oh, all kinds of things.
Science and medical journals,
books on anatomy, medicinal
chemistry, clinical pharmacology...
Do you like to go out?
I get it. Um...
I'm kind of focused
on my work right now.
Not exactly a people
person are you?
There's a lot more to
life than work, you know?
Like what?
I'll tell you what.
My number.
In case you want to
find out sometime.
We're going to need
more blood work.
Henry, are you listening?
If you don't mind,
Jeremy's waiting so...
No more tests.
Henry... I've given you
everything you've asked for.
I want what was promised.
You know, for the longest time I
couldn't imagine what you could
possibly want with
something like this,
other than the obvious.
And then it occurred to me.
If one were to play with the
sterics and electronics of an
opioid receptor like Naloxone,
a precursor could allow them to
create a better derivative.
I think you're trying
to cure yourself.
I can help.
I don't need your help.
If it is possible to
dull the body's senses,
than the opposite
must also be true.
If we can take away the
sensation of pain,
then we must also be
able to create it.
Um, hi. Um...
yeah, right. Yeah.
You made it.
Someone told me
I should go out more. So...
Well, I could certainly
use the extra hands.
Aren't you hot?
What do you mean?
We're in a greenhouse.
- I know.
- Come here.
Did you have
any trouble finding the place?
No. No.
Whose place is this?
Uh, it's a community
greenhouse, but
I've been coming here as
long as I can remember, so...
it kind of feels like mine.
I remember when I was a kid, I
would just come in here and
just sit for hours...
just really breathe it all in.
Being around the plants just...
would really help put
everything else in perspective.
Must sound kind of strange, huh?
It doesn't sound strange at all.
What are you
spraying on all of them?
The bugs have been really
persistent this season.
Especially the aphids. This is a
horticultural spray that I made.
I just use it to keep them away.
You made it?
Yeah. It's organic, non-toxic.
The bugs don't
like it and the plants do.
Why don't you just
spray a pesticide
then and get rid of
the bugs for good?
Then it wouldn't be natural.
No. But that's the point of science.
You find the flaws in
nature and you fix them.
Thank you for inviting
me, by the way.
I really enjoyed it.
Do you want a ride?
A ride? Yeah, sure.
That's me.
What's wrong?
No, nothing. I, um...
I just have a lot of work
I have to do, and, um,
I -- I live --
I'll take you
anywhere you want to go.
Come on.
What do you say?
You checked the sodium levels?
Well, you're going
to have to check again.
Henry, you're back.
I need your help.
We're ready.
Are you sure you
don't want any anesthesia?
Kind of defeats the
purpose, don't you think?
Believe me, if this works,
you're gonna wish you had it.
We're in.
Stimulating the
parietoinsular cortex now.
What? What's wrong?
Everything's fine.
We're finished.
The procedure is done.
Do you feel anything?
I'm sorry, Henry.
It's Eddie. I'm out.
Now's not a very good time.
Did you hear what I said?
I need you.
I'll be there in a
of couple days.
A couple...
I need stem cells.
I'm with a patient.
If I can find a way to
convert them into nociceptors...
You can't just
barge in here like this.
You have gout.
It's acute inflammatory arthritis
at the base of your big toe.
Take some Diclofenac and stop eating
foods with such high levels of purines.
I'm sorry. Would you
excuse me for a minute?
What the hell are you thinking?
They have to be embryonic.
Henry, you can't
keep doing this.
Look, Thebaine
was a mistake, okay?
It was my miscalculation.
This can actually work!
Even if it was possible that
what you're saying would work...
- It is.
- Which is highly unlikely...
and you got your hands
on embryonic stem cells,
which you can't, which hardly anybody
can, it would probably take years
to establish a stable cell line.
Let alone the
millions of dollars
for specialized equipment that
you don't have access to.
I can get access.
Jesus Christ. Andrews.
He just did a couple of tests.
I mean, it's no big deal.
Everything is a big
deal with him.
What is it with you two anyway?
He was my research partner...
20 years ago.
We were experimenting with a
drug that was designed to help
alleviate chronic pain.
We were coming up with great
results, and we got approval
for clinical trials with humans.
We thought we were on the
verge of a major breakthrough.
Okay. What happened?
We just weren't getting the
results we wanted, and...
Andrews was convinced
that we needed...
to up the dosages,
way above protocol.
Eventually we did,
and I should have stopped him.
But he kept telling me that I
was too scared to take risks,
that I wasn't committed,
and meanwhile,
a number of the subjects...
developed tumors.
Five people lost their lives.
you have to understand
Andrews is obsessed.
He will stop at nothing
to get the results he wants.
I'm begging you,
let go of this madness
before it's too late.
What the hell happened to you?
Oh, I knew you would
come through for us, Henry.
We need to talk.
I need to talk to you too.
Remember that guy
I was telling you about?
He's well connected.
The drug dealer?
What about him?
I met with him.
- He wants to partner with us.
- Did you tell him about me?
I just told him that I
had to speak to my partner.
I didn't want to leave you out.
I don't want to do this anymore.
Do you want to go for a ride?
You drive.
There is something that I
...I want to tell you...
that Ihaven't told anyone
else in a very long time.
I have this condition...
where I don't feel pain.
I can't feel pain.
I feel everything else.
Just not that.
The ice?
Yeah, right. I, um...
have a hard time distinguishing
hot or cold and I've
kind of hurt myself
badly before so...
I live my life kind of
separate from other people
because I'm not like
other people, and...
you meet someone
like you, and it...
it just kind of reminds
you that, um...
Reminds you of what?
That you're alive.
I've spent my whole life
trying to fix myself.
Now I'm starting to think
maybe that's not the way to go,
you know?
What do you think?
I think life is short...
and you have to do
what makes you happy.
Fuck the rest.
Okay. I like that.
Friends of yours?
Those are actually
very special mice.
they're genetically altered.
Mm-hmm. They're, um...
they're like me.
Yeah? Just like you, huh?
No. Um, those... those
guys are assholes.
do you want to see these?
Yeah, can I?
Can I hold them?
Yeah. Yeah. Um...
- Are... do I need gloves?
- I... I put on the gloves
just 'cause I -- I, um, I
wouldn't feel if they were
biting or scratching.
Not that they will.
They wouldn't.
It's an old habit.
They're not used
to other people.
You don't have
a lot of visitors?
not especially.
- No?
- No.
She likes you though.
Shh, it's okay. It's okay.
Thanks for letting
me say hi to your friend.
No problem.
Go down, sweetheart. Shh.
And this:
Oh, I use the peppers to
make the extract, and then
that's how I test
them for the pain. Yeah.
Chile peppers.
You know, Henry, for someone
who doesn't feel pain,
you sure know an
awful lot about it.
Yeah. I mean, I, uh, I mean,
I've spent my whole life
thinking about it, you know?
I -- I've taught myself
how to see it in others.
It always amazes me, like, people
walk around with so much pain.
Like, take you for example.
I know you think you have
pain in your shoulder,
and I know this
sounds funny, but
actually it's referred from a
completely different area,
and you don't have a
problem here at all.
It's... it's... it's the
surrounding muscle groups.
You can live your
whole life trying to change.
Trying to be
something you're not.
Telling yourself it's
okay to be alone.
That simply surviving is enough.
And then one day
everything changes.
Hello, Henry.
Why are you here?
It didn't work,
did it? The Thebaine?
We knew it was a long shot.
What do you want?
This whole time you've been
focused on increasing the
effectiveness of Naloxone
derivatives, correct?
Has it ever occurred to you to
ask why it's only effective in
such a small percentage
of the population to begin with?
Naloxone binds to
opiate receptors.
People with my
condition have more than most.
Based on the theory that
the cause is due to a
mutation of the NTRK1 gene.
Are you here for a fact check?
What if it weren't?
What if there were another
gene with a similar mutation?
Think about it.
It would explain why Naloxone is only
effective in such a small group.
Every experiment failed.
It was bad science, okay?
It was my fault.
Everything failed.
So you get up and
you try again! That's what we...
You're not listening to me.
It's not science fiction.
- It's my life.
- It's all science fiction until
we prove it otherwise.
That's what it means to be on
the cutting edge of discovery.
I spoke to Ray.
Five people died.
What were they?
A good candidate?
A good subject?
A science experiment?
Do you have no remorse at all?
Yes. I've made
mistakes. I admit.
At least I'm not
afraid of taking risks.
And frankly, so what, huh?
So what if some people got hurt?
We're... we're talking about
profound scientific discovery.
Don't be naive.
That's the cost of
doing business.
The cost of doing business?
I can give you
what you want, Henry.
Yeah? What's that?
Something on your mind?
I just feel good, you know?
There's just...
so much that I want to do now.
Like what?
Like ice-skating.
I've just never been.
I think we can arrange that.
Hey. I thought that was you.
You look nice.
What are you doing here?
Uh, having dinner with a
friend. This is Ron.
He, uh, used
to work at the cafe.
God, you look nice.
I miss those days.
Hey, I'm having a drink over at the bar.
You want to come join me?
Maybe another time.
Come on.
I'll buy you a shot.
No thanks.
It's fine. If you want to
grab a quick drink, I don't...
Look, I appreciate the offer, but...
I'd rather just be alone.
You're serious?
Why are you being like this?
- Being like what?
- A dick.
Hey, you're the one with
the stick up her ass.
Excuse me?
Hold on there.
You got something
you want to say to me?
I do actually.
Oh, yeah? And what is that?
- It's fine.
- It's not fine.
You're being rude to my friend.
That's not okay.
You owe her an apology.
Your friend's a little cock tease.
- Hey!
- Got something to say to me now?
Let go!
Come on, wait.
That guy, he was
being an asshole.
Look, I'm sorry.
It was a mistake, okay?
No. I... I gotta go. Just... just
please leave me alone, okay?
But Henry...
Stand clear of
the closing doors, please.
We need to do a gene test.
You were right.
It is a mutation of the SCN9A.
The problem is with
your sodium channels.
I'll be damned.
This is groundbreaking.
I know what we have to do.
I can't do it alone.
You can do any tests you want.
Yes. Of course.
We'll do it together.
We can use gene therapy to replace
the faulty gene with a proper one.
Inducing your nerve cells to create
normally functioning sodium channels
so they can properly
transmit your pain signals.
We'll just need to select a viral
vector to deliver the gene.
Take the normal
functioning SCN9A gene
and deliver it to the cells.
We let the healthy
cells fix the problem for us.
That's really good.
We could have a sample soon.
Are you okay?
Henry, you're scaring me.
I'm working.
This isn't who you are.
You're wrong.
This is exactly who I am.
It doesn't have to be.
But that's the point. It does.
It does. It was just...
it wasn't real.
It was -- it was just a bad fantasy.
Can you look at me?
I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.
I just don't have
time for distractions.
I'm really sorry.
You gotta go now.
Is the sample ready?
I need you to give it to me.
What for?
I -- I don't have to time
to talk about it right now.
I just need you
to give it to me.
I'm not going to
give you the sample, Henry.
What are you doing?
Where is it?
What would you do
with it if I let you have it?
That's none of your concern.
It is if you're planning on
doing something stupid with it.
Give me my sample.
Give me my fucking
sample! I discovered this!
That's enough!
Do you realize
we're on the verge of
a major breakthrough?
We have a long way to go before we're
ready for clinical trials in humans.
Can you not see that?
Do you realize what's at stake?
What the hell's going on?
Your phone's off.
You haven't been keeping
your appointments.
I've been working.
Take a look.
I did it, Ray.
I -- I solved it.
What makes you think...
Tests confirmed it.
No, it's...
It's beautiful, isn't it?
It's a nice theory.
A theory?
What would you call it?
I'd call it the thing I've been
waiting for my entire life.
You don't know that.
This will take years of testing.
I don't have time for that.
Have you lost your mind?
No! I cured a fucking disease!
You don't have proof of that.
This is all theoretical.
Even if it worked,
you don't know what the long-term
side effects would be.
You need preclinical data,
clinical trials.
You're just jealous.
Just because you didn't have
the guts to finish your work
doesn't mean I don't have
the guts to finish mine.
Injecting untested genes
isn't science.
It's suicide!
life is not just a distraction.
This is.
What do you know about it?
What do you know about it?
What do you know about living
everyday like it might be your last,
and you don't even know
if you care anymore?
What do you know about
never feeling normal?
I don't know.
But what I do know is
this isn't the answer.
I'm trying to protect you.
I don't need
protection, I need results!
- At what cost?
- At any fucking cost.
Henry. Henry, please.
I think it's time for you to go.
Henry. Oh, thank
God. I was worried sick.
Well, did it work?
I don't know. I didn't do it.
What? Why?
I guess I realized that
if I did it, and it didn't work,
I mean, if I died in that room,
no one would even notice.
I mean, it would be like
I was never even born.
I just...
I can't do this anymore.
Well, you can't
just walk away from this.
- Look at how far we've come.
- It's my decision.
Oh, the hell it is!
We're talking about controlling
pain at a genetic level.
That's never been done before!
Can't you see
what's at stake for us?
For "us?"
Yes, for us.
I'm the one
taking all the risks.
This is my life's work.
What gives you the right
to be so selfish?
Did you want me to steal that?
Oh, that's preposterous.
You knew. You knew that I would
never wait for proper testing,
and you couldn't take
another scandal.
Am I right?
You didn't want any more
blood on your hands, right?
Am I right?
Patience isn't either of our
strong suit, and I knew...
I knew it was only a matter of time
before you became desperate enough.
And with the
only way for me to know the true
potential for this type of gene
therapy on my sodium channels
would be to understand
how it affects yours.
And what would've happened
if it didn't work and I died?
It was your decision to make.
Do you care
about anyone but yourself?
How can you say
that? I care about everyone!
Don't you see
that's what all this is about?
I'm done. It's over.
That is your fear talking.
No. It's yours.
Where are you going?
There's nothing out
there for you.
We'll see.
Henry, you... don't go! Henry!
I need you!
That's what you want to hear?
Henry, please!
I've spent my whole
life afraid of taking risks.
Trying to change who I am.
You showed me I can do more.
Goodnight, Paulina.
this came for you earlier.
So I've decided to
leave this city for a while.
There's a hospital in a place
that I've never been and...
apparently they can use my help.
Is everything okay?
I'll see you tomorrow.
Good night.
I don't know
what's out there for me.
I don't know what lays ahead.
But I do know
I need to find out.
It's like you said:
"Do what makes you happy.
Fuck the rest."