Shelter in Solitude (2023) Movie Script

[Irish folk music]
[indistinct shouting]
You shut your mouth
before I shut it for you!
[gentle music]
[birds chirping]
[engines rumbling]
[distant horn honking]
[fly buzzing]
[country blues]
[indistinct announcement on PA]
[keys clinking]
[door closing]
[indistinct chatter]
Sir, room service today.
They got the cafeteria
shut down, taking precaution.
-Warden's all pissed off.
-[distant clanking]
I got your favorite now,
this here's sausage
and potatoes.
-My date still the same?
-Yes, sir.
Uh, still ten days away.
They're changing up
everything now.
Yard time, rec, cell, meals,
because of the virus.
-Warden just wants
to keep you guys safe.
Pretty soon,
we're gonna be like New York,
so we're doing what they call
"lockdown from the lockdown."
Gotta practice
what they're calling
"social distancing."
Warden's moving
all those prisoners out of here
'cause he, he doesn't
want you getting sick.
He says, once one prisoner
gets it, you all gets it.
No, no. He's just afraid
I'm gonna get sick
for the big day.
You tell him I'd much rather
go down with the virus
than getting fried.
Yes, sir, will do.
Your letter ready?
[indistinct chatter]
[distant coughing]
I would expect there
to be a lot of press.
Well, that's why I put in
a request for more security.
I need help with that.
I don't know
what to expect, sir.
[man on phone]
Yeah, we do expect...
Sir, with all due respect,
an execution is an execution
and people love it,
so there could be
a huge crowd here.
I know they do, warden,
but the budget is the budget.
You'll have to make do
with the local police.
-Yes, sir.
-[call ends]
[tense music]
Fucking politicians.
["Heartache Rodeo"
by Justin Biltonen]
And they'll
be talking about me
From Calgary to San Antonio
-If heartache was a rodeo
-If heartache was a rodeo
[engine rumbling]
If heartache was a rodeo
[horn honking]
If heartache was a rodeo...
Breaking news on the COVID-19
lockdown updates.
All churches across
northern states are closed
until further notice.
And in local news,
state penitentiary warden,
Dwayne Fagan,
said the execution
of Jackson Marcus
will go on as scheduled
in just ten days,
despite the virus
rapidly heading south.
-And in entertainment news--
-[soft click]
[birds chirping]
[indistinct chatter]
[door opens and rattles]
[soft chuckles]
You alright?
You are a man.
-Yes, sir. I--
-Say it.
I'm a man.
Yes, you are.
Keep your head up.
You're a man,
you're gonna be alright.
Don't you ever, ever come back.
-[warden] Okay, let's go.
-Get your fucking hands off me.
-[warden] Alright, son.
-Fuck off, man.
There you go, sir. I'll be back.
[door closes]
[country music playing]
[crowd cheering]
I'm gonna miss hearing him sing
for the next two weeks.
Two weeks shut down,
doesn't that seem
a little excessive, Clara?
They shutting you down, honey?
-[Clara] Oh, yeah, honey.
I'm all shut down.
-[Val] Mm.
I thought they was keeping
essential businesses all open.
That's what they're saying, hon.
You mean to tell me
a hair salon isn't essential?
[Clara giggles]
That's right.
You gotta be kidding me,
it's essential to me.
And my minister
just sent out a text alert.
-"No more Sunday services."
-[Val] Well, I'll tell you what,
Catholic Church,
they're all gonna keep open.
We've been open 2000 years,
we'll never shut down.
Dwayne, you want
something to drink, sweetheart?
Coke. No ice.
And can you believe
we're related?
He likes cokes
and I like the wines.
Guess what, brother?
I had it all set up.
[cash register rattles]
Dwayne, what about
the execution?
-Is that essential?
-Don't try to ruin
his night, Clara.
I heard on the radio
this morning,
they're letting
some of the prisoners out.
-That true, Dwayne?
-We're letting some of
the parole violators out early,
but the execution's
going on as scheduled.
What? Why are they
doing that, Dwayne?
Worried about that Wuhan virus.
If they get it,
it's gonna run up
the state hospital's bills.
[Val] And I'm glad
we're shut down, because
I don't want that trouble.
What's the first thing
a parolee wants to do
when they get shut down?
They wanna come over here
and get all fresh
with the ladies.
-[Clara] And you love it.
-[glasses clink]
Mm-hmm. I'm telling you
the plain truth. Go, Kevin!
But they're still executing?
Yeah, virus or no virus.
Can you believe that?
Execution's essential,
but my hair isn't.
Tell you what,
my roots start to come in,
y'all have permission
to execute me.
Hey, y'all, listen up.
I think we need to hear
a song from Miss Valerie,
who made this big night possible
for this two-week lockdown.
Val, why don't you come on
up here and sing
that song we've been working on.
Come on now, girl.
-[crowd clapping]
-Hey, y'all!
Let's give it up for Kevin.
I'm gonna sing a song.
-Come on, give it up.
-[crowd cheering]
[soft buzzing]
"Dear Evelyn.
-[distant clank]
-There is no fear in love.
Perfect love drives out fear.
Fear is punishment."
[echoing clinking]
[tense music]
[echoing indistinct chatter]
No, seriously, y'all,
I just want to say,
whoever heard of this,
I'm gonna miss you all so much.
Two weeks
without seeing your faces.
And I wanna tell you something.
I love y'all,
and I will say God bless you
during this time we're all be
shut down in our homes.
You boys ready? Hit it.
[crowd cheering and clapping]
["Heartache Rodeo"
by Justin Biltonen]
Another kick to the chest
Another reason to drink
Another real tough draw
That ain't new to me
'Cause I've been here before
-And I'll be here again
-And I'll be here again
If they gave a prize
for bad goodbyes
You know that I'd win
-And if heartache
-And if heartache
-Was a rodeo
-Was a rodeo
"My dearest...
I understand
you can't come see me.
But know
that I'll always love you,
my beautiful,
beautiful daughter.
[echoing chatter]
Please find... of my favorite...
-[country music playing]
-[crowd cheering]
-Watch out, youngen.
-[moaning] Oh, yes.
[indistinct laughter
and chatter]
Enough of you, Cassie.
You're making me look
like a total asshole.
Oh, have another drink, Chrissy.
Is this the way you speak
to an officer of the law?
[mumbling] Could throw
your skinny ass in a cell.
Yeah, okay.
Right after you walk the line.
And you, Kevin. Singer boy.
You're not even supposed
to be here in no bar
out on parole.
You're supposed to be
in no bar out on parole.
What are you doing here?
Wha-- what are you
talking about,
Officer Christopher?
I'm working tonight.
My parole officer says
I got to have a job.
-Hey, Cassie,
aren't you underage?
-[fly buzzing]
Oh, Chrissy, relax,
she's old enough to love.
She can have a drink,
be in the bar. Come on, man.
I'm reporting you
to your parole officer.
Now, easy, cowboy.
Yo, Cassie, why don't you
head on back to the bar, baby?
-I'll meet you
in a minute, okay.
-Oh, whatever!
[crowd clapping]
Let me have Cassie
and I won't report this
to your parole officer.
[softly chuckles] Mm-hmm.
[crowd cheering and clapping]
[footsteps approaching]
-Hey, you.
What are you doing
hiding over here in this corner?
I ain't hiding, you know.
We got so many
compliments tonight.
-Oh, really? Mm.
-On our song.
-I just...
I was just looking for you
to tell you something.
Yeah. What do you
want to tell me?
I want to tell you that
we belong in Nashville,
the way we sang tonight.
That's awful nice
coming from you, Miss Valerie.
I felt like we was...
-...Johnny Cash and June Carter.
You better knock it off
with them compliments.
I'm gonna have
to take advantage of you.
I know you and me,
we don't even need to be
in no lockdown.
-You and me,
we can take it on the road.
Oh, you think so, do you?
Yeah, I know so.
-[door opens]
-[deeply sighs]
[Val moaning]
-Mm. Oh, Dwayne.
-Hey, boy.
Listen, I lived my life,
I got no problem taking you out.
Don't come around
my sister no more.
Can't fault a guy
for appreciating
-a fine old wine.
You hear
how he's talking about you?
You wanna be talked about
like that
by a piece of shit parolee?
Relax, Dwayne. We were
just having a little fun.
You remember the words
your daddy taught you?
What words my daddy taught me?
Let me refresh your memory,
Your daddy said, "You hang out
with shit long enough,
shit gets on you."
Is that right?
Yeah, boy, that's right.
Yeah, well, you know
what my daddy told me?
No, 'cause I didn't know
your daddy could speak English.
He was always on meth.
You never can trust a junkie.
[country music playing]
Well, see if you can
understand this.
[crowd cheering and whistling]
Go shit in a hat, old man.
Stop trying to protect
your baby sister,
for she ain't got no mojo left.
Just like you.
Is that all you got, boy?
Yeah. Word is,
your wife took off on you
'cause you ain't got
no mojo left
-in that little
limp dick of yours.
-Is that right?
-Is that-- [grunts]
-Shit! Dwayne!
-[people gasp]
-[Dwayne laughing]
-You always gotta
ruin everything.
[laughing increases]
[birds chirping]
[softly snoring]
-[phone beeping]
-[softly grunts]
[beeping continues]
[cheerful music]
Call Kevin. No, stupid thing,
call K-E-V-I-N.
Ugh! Fine.
[man on radio]
...state will see
its first execution
-in 27 years.
-With the COVID-19 virus--
-[turns off radio]
Call Clara.
God, Clara. It's me, hang on.
Oh, that was a riot, wasn't it?
You wanna come over tonight
and maybe I'll make some
of that beer batter shrimp
for you and Tom?
[sighs and whisper]
I don't think so.
Chris has taken this
real serious.
All worried about me
getting it with my asthma.
Get your ass out
of the way of the TV.
-I can't see a goddamn thing.
-Dad, those are current events.
You gotta get in tune
to these things. Come on.
You looking
all dissipated, honey.
And you missed a button.
But you know, we could be safe
on the back porch
if we're drinking out there.
I don't think so, sweetheart.
Uh, Chris is just too nervous
about me catching this thing,
and you know him,
he goes by the book.
Alright. Be good, sweetie.
I love you. Uh, bye-bye.
See you two later.
Gotta head to work now.
Call food bank.
[mumbling] Oh! Have we--
sorry. I just got
a cracker in my mouth.
I was thinking to ask you.
[in normal voice] Is there,
um, any volunteer hours?
'Cause I'll tell you what.
Me shut down,
I need something to do.
I know.
Flatten the curve.
Flatten the curve.
Alright, sweetie, be good.
[engine rumbling]
[siren wailing]
Chrissy, what are you doing?
Turn that thing off.
Can't you just see
that it's sad enough
I gotta close my tavern
after 29 years?
And you come on my property
blasting that siren.
It's like an acoustic assault.
It's gonna be even sadder
after I ticket you with no mask.
Chrissy, I can't understand
what you're saying
with that mask on, sweetheart.
Yeah, and it's gonna be
even sadder
when I ticket you with no mask.
That is ridiculous.
I'm just going in my tavern
and getting my mail
and my cash.
[bird cawing]
I'm not skedaddling, Chrissy.
Skedaddle, Valerie.
Are you staring me down?
If you wanna play games,
I'll play games.
I'm getting my cash.
-[radio chimes]
Officer Sullivan here.
Okay, Chrissy!
If you wanna play
Gomer Pyle today,
I'll play Gomer Pyle today.
I'll tell you what.
I'm gonna get my mail,
I'm gonna get my cash
somewhere, somehow.
Oh, Chrissy. Between me and you,
you look like an idiot
with that mask on.
So I won this one?
I won this one. Alright.
[engine revving]
Miss Valerie,
would you slow down!
Gomer Pyle!
[horn honks]
[tires screeching]
Jesus, Sam. I got
an execution in nine days.
Doctors' orders
and my wife insist.
I don't like it
any better than you do, sir.
How the hell am I supposed
to replace you, Sam?
After 32 years.
We go pay check to pay check.
[groans and sighs]
[deeply sighs]
You ain't gonna have
to worry about that.
The word is that
the government's gonna be
handing out money.
You just gotta...
You gotta get on the computer
and apply for it.
We don't own a computer, sir.
Well, you're gonna have
to get your hands on one.
I'll deal
with the logistics of it all.
Thank you for...
[light melancholic music]
...32 years of service.
Thank you, sir.
Yes, sir?
Call the governor's secretary.
Have her post a position
for a death row prison guard
and mark it urgent.
-[Jessica] Sweet Jesus.
[gate closes]
[soft buzzing]
My execution moving up?
Sam's out
and I'm down a few guards.
You're gonna be stuck
in solitary
'cause of this
new mandate and all.
Governor passed it down,
I take the orders
from the state.
Is that what they did
in Germany?
You're trying to ruin my week?
I'm just making a living.
I'm not Sam.
[distant clank]
[clock ringing]
[indistinct mumbling]
Won't you stop! My--
[sighs] Oh, God.
[sighs and mumbles]
Blessed Brother. Please,
I ask you, Lord Jesus,
to please, please, please
help me be a better person.
Also, bless Dwayne.
My poor brother, Dwayne,
please help him to not be
such a bastard.
And also bless his wife
and help soften her heart
and not to be such a bitch.
whispering prayers]
[cheerful music]
...and also, bless...
[whispering continues]
Left me alone
Left me alone
Got him on your seat
Got, who cares?
I shall love...
Call Kevin.
You have a guitar?
As a matter of fact, I do.
[rock music playing]
What? You a little singer
or something?
-I can sing.
I bet you can.
Hold on, excuse me.
-Hey, sweetheart.
It's Valerie.
-What's going on?
-How you doing?
Yeah, I just wanted to...
...I just wanted
to call you and tell you
how sorry I was about my big,
my big brother the other night.
Yeah, he's just
a miserable prick.
Hey, he's still my big brother.
He is pretty smart.
Listen, don't you pay no mind
to what he said about you.
He just gets all--
hang on. He gets all pissy
when I'm drinking.
Y'all, I got a cougar
on the line there.
-You like that?
And anyway,
let me ask you something.
How do you know he's so smart,
Mr. Grand Ole Opry?
Yeah, he's smart,
just like his baby sister.
How's that?
Yeah, because, didn't he say
you hang around with shit
and shit gets on you?
Ain't that what he said?
Ignore him, sweetie.
He's probably just jealous
you're such a good singer.
No, sweetheart, he's right.
You hang around with shit
and shit gets on you.
How you know that's true,
Mr. Grand Ole Opry?
'Cause you're shit.
You couldn't make it
down in Nashville,
so you moved to a shit town,
opened up a shit gin mill
where everybody knows you,
so you think you're somebody.
But you know what you are?
[laughs] You're nobody.
You ain't holding no candle
to no Patsy Cline
or no Bonnie Raitt.
You're just old as shit,
singing all off-key
in an old piece-of-shit bar.
Shit, with that voice,
you're lucky if you get karaoke.
...why you talking to me
like that?
[melancholic music]
[clock ticking]
And let me
tell you something, Kevin.
I sang in Nashville once.
And you never sang
in Nashville your whole life.
[softly] Don't you dare
talk to me like that.
[birds chirping]
[engine starts]
Hey, Chrissy. What's going on?
Oh. How you doing there,
-What's all this?
-Just hold up on there a second,
-I'm putting up here
a barricade.
-That's horseshit!
-I'll talk--
At least wear your mask
in downtown.
It's closed 'cause of COVID.
-[bicycle bell chimes]
[country music on radio]
I ain't giving up
my throne...
Hey, what's
the problem, Chrissy?
Warden, I'm not
gonna say it again.
It's Officer Sullivan.
[chuckling] Okay, Chrissy.
-What's the problem?
-Uh, yo-- your sister here,
she, uh, doesn't know
what a pandemic is.
And the downtown's closed.
It's what this barricade's for.
All downtown's closed.
Okay, son, I'll handle it.
All right, thank you, Warden.
Appreciate it.
-Turn your rig around.
-You betcha, Chrissy. Take care.
-[engine revving]
-[music playing on radio]
My fucking cones, goddamn it!
It's Officer Sullivan. Sullivan!
[birds chirping]
[bird cawing]
[door creaks]
[tense music]
...beautiful Miss Valerie Fagan.
[shakily breathing]
[door creaks]
[door creaks]
-[Dwayne panting]
-Damn it.
Get in.
What the hell are you doing?
Just get in the damn truck.
You know, Dwayne, I don't need
your shit today. I really don't.
I came down to my tavern
to get my mail.
You know what was in my mail,
Dwayne? My mortgage.
My mortgage that I can't pay
because I had a leaky roof
last month,
so I didn't pay it last month.
But I don't have any husband
to pay my mortgage,
Dwayne, okay?
So I don't need your shit.
Especially after the shit
you pulled the other night.
The shit I pulled?
Oh, that's rich.
You should be ashamed
of yourself.
I should be ashamed of myself?
Let me tell you something.
Who the hell
do you think you are?
"I should be ashamed of myself."
You think you're so perfect
'cause you're the warden?
Let me tell you something.
You're nothing but a Coca-Cola
sucking prick.
But I'd rather be a sleaze,
picking up thief musicians
than some prick
sucking Coca-Cola,
treating everybody like shit.
Have you ever thought...
...for one second,
what it's like
to be in my shoes?
I got 41 prisoners
sitting up there in jail.
I got one guy
on solitary confinement,
-on death row
and in eight days--
-Wah, wah, wah.
You think I get, you think
I get a wink of sleep at night
knowing that in eight days
I gotta put him to his death?
You ever think about that,
Yeah, I think about it.
You don't think it makes me
sick to my stomach
that I can't pay your mortgage,
fix that roof over your head
'cause I gotta make them
child support payments
for kids I don't even get to see
'cause my goddamn wife
took them away from me?
You don't think
I miss those kids?
You ever think about that,
Yes, I think about it.
And then, sometimes,
I just wonder why.
Wonder why what?
Why mom and dad were so normal
and we're so effed up.
What's so funny?
It's not funny, it's sad.
It ain't sad.
You wanna know what sad is?
Yeah, what's sad?
Sad's being on death row
and the only person in the whole
wide world you trust
can't work on account
of this China virus.
So what are you gonna do?
Take your foot off
my damn glove box.
You're a pain in my ass.
I'm a pain in your ass?
Can I borrow 200 bucks?
I ain't got 200 bucks
to give you.
-Come on, Dwayne.
-You know I'd give you every
last damn red cent I could.
["Soul in These Boots"
by Todd Cameron]
I know you would.
Wait a minute,
what happened to all that money
you had from the party
the other night?
How much did he take?
How much did he take?
I'll give you $200.
You aren't never
gonna learn, you know.
You ain't never gonna learn.
Somehow broken
Turned into broken down
This road
I've been travelling
Gets rougher every mile
And I don't know
if I'm too far gone
To turn back now
Scuffed up on the pavement
And tore up in the mud
Caught up kicking
through the pain of
Trying to find out who I was
Started walking my own way
And Jesus
that's where I lost you
[soft buzzing]
[tense music]
[grim white noise]
[echoing indistinct chatter]
-Morning, sir.
-Morning, Jessica.
Good news, bad news
this morning, sir.
Sam's son called up early
and Sam's come down
with the COVID.
His wife had
to take him to the hospital
on account he's all disoriented
from the high fever.
You kidding me?
Now, the good news is
they cleared a guard
this morning.
[birds chirping]
-[phone rings]
-Office of the warden.
Governor's on the line.
Tell him, tell him I'm having a,
a COVID protocol meeting
with the guards.
I can't talk to him.
[door opens]
[exhaling] Hello.
Good morning, Warden.
Good morning, Jessica.
I am a state employee
and I am reporting for duty.
You gotta be shitting me.
Is that any way to talk
to a state employee, sir?
Good God.
[sighing] You are
your mother's daughter.
Let's go.
[loud clanks]
Let's go.
[tense music]
[deeply exhales]
Watch your fingers.
[loud clank]
[keys jingling]
[loud squeak and clank]
Good morning, Mr. Jackson.
Well, let's try this again.
Good morning, Mr. Jackson.
I got your new guard here.
I have got your new guard here.
Taking over for Sam.
Her name is Valerie.
[Jackson sighs]
Sam won't be back?
Well, if I may,
he very well could be back.
Could, he could just be gone
for two days or so.
He might-- it's a flu that's got
a fancy name and seems scary,
but he could be back,
but I'm not saying
I'm gonna fill his shoes
'cause I know you've been
with him a long time,
but I'm just gonna do
my best to serve you, sir.
And I just wanna say,
for myself,
I'm gonna go forward
with the cup half full
and not half empty,
and I think if you do that too,
we'll get along just fine.
I'm, uh, I'm gonna let you two
get to know each other.
I got some paperwork
to push through
for a new employee.
You can stand there
or you can sit there.
That's it.
Yes, sir.
[loud clank]
The warden said my na--
Do you mind if I take this off?
I can't even,
I can't-- it just--
Breathe with it on.
Um, as the warden said,
my name is Valerie,
but my friends do call me Val,
and so, if you'd like
to call-- we're not--
I'm not saying we're friends,
but if you would like
to call me Val,
you can call me Val
because that's my preference.
[deeply exhales]
I was just thinking
because we're spending
all this time together,
we might as well know
each other's name preference.
If you'd like to tell me
your preference?
Okay, you know something?
I'm a people person
and I get social cues,
but I just wanna give you
something that I did bring
for you that I thought through,
and it's from Matthew 6:34,
and I thought-- I know you're
going through a very hard time.
Um, therefore, "Do not be
anxious for-- about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will be anxious
for itself."
So, if you'd like,
that's all yours.
Would you like that?
I'm catholic and I really
never read scripture either.
We don't really read
the scripture, but I have a lot
of born-again Christian friends
because t--
of the area. So,
I understand if you don't like
to read the scripture.
My daddy told me that
I always come on
a little too strong
and I don't make a very good
first impression,
so I apologize,
I was just a little nervous
and I probably just talked
a little bit too much,
so... [deeply inhales]
...I'm gonna shut up.
And I'll sit...
...where the warden
told me to sit.
I'm, I'm sorry.
I'll sit a bit.
But I just wanna say,
if you do need me,
you could just say "Val"
and I'll be at your service.
[clears throat]
[distant dripping]
[soft snoring]
[gentle music]
[grunts and pants]
[phone ringing]
-Hey, Clara.
Oh, my gosh,
you can't get over it.
He did not say one word
the whole day.
Solitary would make
any man crazy.
Doesn't he have family?
Let them do the talking.
I can't sit there
another day not talking.
I'm gonna go batshit crazy.
[chuckles] Gotta be rough honey,
you not talking.
I told him, I said, "I cannot
sit here all day in silence."
What'd he say?
He didn't say a word.
Not a word.
-[country music playing]
-I went through the crying
-But it's time to feel alive
-Time to feel alive
-I know I could be
a movie star... a movie star
[indistinct singing]
...could be
the sparkle in someone's eye
-I'm back to claim
what's mine
Kevin, everybody.
Put your hands together.
I'm tired of being lonely
And I'm sick of being lost
The price you pay
for happiness
It, oh, that's such a cost
But I don't care
I'll pay the price
To have someone for my own
I'm tired of being alone
Tired of being alone
[engine rumbling]
Come on, y'all.
Go back up to the bar
and buy a drink.
Good morning, Mr. Jackson.
I made you something special.
And they're warm.
I actually made them last night.
And they wouldn't have been warm
if I'd used the ones I made last
but luckily, I burned them
'cause I drank too much wine.
So I got up this morning
and I needed an aspirin,
and I said, "My gosh,
there's still batter left over,"
so I just quickly whipped it up.
I could only make three cookies
'cause I screwed up
the rest of it,
but I hope you enjoy them.
Oh, and I also brought you this,
a passage from John,
and I thought this is really,
really important,
and gives a lot of hope.
I always eff up scripture,
so if you don't mind,
I'm gonna read it,
so I don't eff it up.
"I'm the resurrection
and the light,
and the one who believes in me
will live, even though they die.
And whoever lives
by believing me
will never die."
My daddy had me read that to him
when he was dying,
and it gave him a lot of hope.
And I think you have
to have hope,
especially in your situation.
I'd say the silence in here
is deafening, wouldn't you?
That's what my mom always said,
silence is deafening.
I remember when I'd bring
girlfriends over,
with the quiet ones,
she would say, "Why do you hang
around the quiet ones?
I feel nervous when I get
around the quiet ones."
[deeply exhales]
My momma's name was Jane.
She always said,
"I'm plain Jane."
But she really wasn't plain.
She's perfect.
And she'd say,
"Valerie, if they bring
that quiet one over again,
you're gonna turn on the radio,
'cause when you leave
to go do your thing,
you leave me alone with her.
She don't talk."
So she'd turn on the radio.
Wouldn't it be nice
if they did allow you
to have a radio in here?
Christ, be his guide
Shine on my life
The acoustics are
very good in here.
Shine in the darkness
Christ, be my guide
Shine on my life
Gather today
Longing for love
My heart was lonely
Longing for hope
Many despair
la, da, da, da
My God! The acoustics
are good in here, sweetheart.
I'm sorry, I didn't mean
to call you sweetheart.
Christ, give Jackson hope
For he is lonely
And he should not despair
oh, Christ
Shine on Mr. Jackson
Shine on his life
Shine on his heart
"When I'm afraid,
I put my trust in you."
That's pretty good.
[clock ticking]
-[alarm ringing]
Morning, Dwayne.
What the hell are you doing?
What the hell are you doing?
I mean it, Valerie.
What the hell are you doing?
Going to work, just like you.
-This ain't a night club.
I couldn't help but notice.
You ain't wearing them shoes.
[clicks tongue] See, now that's
where you're wrong, Warden.
I read your manual last night,
cover to cover.
And in the dress code,
it says, "comfortable shoes."
And I feel very comfortable
in these shoes.
And I feel very uncomfortable
in those manly,
black, prison flats.
So, now, if you'll excuse me,
I need to tend to a prisoner
who has five days left to live.
-I wrote the damn manual.
-Need to specify.
I feel comfortable!
I love my shoes
-My shoes love me
-Holy shit.
And when I go to work
you see
I wear my shoes
'Cause they're so nice
They make me feel twice
Twice, twice, twice
twice as nice
Good morning.
[sighs] I made you a biscuit.
Could we not do this today,
where you...
...don't talk
and I do all the talking?
I just think it's kinda rude.
[softly groans]
[groans] Oh, God.
[breathing heavily]
[softly] Could you get me
some water, please?
I'm sorry, I'm parched.
[grunts and softly mumbles]
Okay, okay...
A little more.
[deeply exhales]
Mm. Mm.
Thank you. Thank you.
[mumbles] Thank you.
Yes, yes, I'll take it.
Oh, my head.
Why'd I drink that wine?
This is like when Jesus
was headed up the hill
in Calvary and Veronica
put that cloth on his head.
When my momma used
to read me that story
about Veronica putting on
the cloth on Jesus's head,
I always wished my name
was Veronica, not Valerie.
I always thought Veronica
was such a beautiful name.
Valerie is so stupid.
I like Valerie.
[footsteps receding]
[gentle music]
[Jackson sighs]
You do?
Do you believe in all that?
What? About your name?
No, about the cloth
on Christ's head
that Veronica put on.
Well, you know what?
You ought to start
believing in something,
especially if you've had
friends or family
that you wanna see again.
And you'd also be at peace
and you'd have hope.
-Especially if you have family.
Do you have children?
Normally, the way
a conversation goes is,
"Do have children?
Do you have kids?"
"No. Do you, Valerie?"
"No, I don't, Jackson."
"Why don't you, Valerie?"
"Oh, because...
...I never married."
Why not?
I don't know.
My daddy always said
it was 'cause
I intimidated the boys
'cause I had unearned
You think that's funny?
You probably think
the same as my daddy.
So what's the deal,
do you have kids or not?
Boy or girl?
Not a boy.
That's a weird way of talking.
"Not a boy." Why wouldn't you
just say "I have a daughter?"
So you have a daughter.
So what's her name?
That's a beautiful name.
She ever visit you?
If you wanna have peace,
you're gonna see her again.
If you make peace--
Your daddy was right.
I got it out of him.
He has a daughter.
Well, you shouldn't be
getting involved.
The less said, the better.
That man is a violent prisoner.
I remember his trial
and we all cheered
when they gave him
that death penalty.
Jackson Marcus stabbed his
ex-wife's boyfriend 87 times.
Maybe she pissed him off.
Just count your blessings,
and stay the hell away from him.
He'll slit your throat
when you're not looking.
[gentle music]
[deeply exhales]
[woman on radio]
...Jackson Marcus'
execution crowd,
where 100 were expected
to attend the execution,
but it appears,
because of the lockdown,
it will be a quiet one
here at the penitentiary,
under the leadership
of Warden Dwayne Fagan.
[soft buzzing]
Morning, Alex!
Valerie. What you got there?
Oh, you didn't hear the news?
It's Dwayne's birthday.
It's his 60th.
He only drinks wine once a year.
So I could get him a little wine
on his birthday, he loves it.
And I make his favorite
cupcakes, a little meal.
So I did it, I thought
I'd bring it to work,
make it special
'cause I don't know what time
I'm getting out of here tonight,
and I just figured,
make it easy, right?
Well, he, he didn't say nothing
about that, I'll tell you.
I'm sorry, Miss Valerie,
but birthday or no birthday,
I can't let you in.
No alcohol, no exceptions.
Did my brother not call you up
and tell you that I was bringing
this birthday basket?
You know what I'm gonna do?
I'm gonna call him up
and I'm gonna get you permission
so you don't get yourself
in trouble.
Hey, birthday, boy.
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday to you
Happy birthday, dear Dwayne
Listen, sweetheart.
I told you to call old Alex
and tell him that I was
bringing in your surprise.
Well, now he won't let me
bring it in because he said
there's no alcohol, right?
Yeah, no, no exceptions,
no alcohol.
So, um, what?
What? You cannot fire
his old ass.
Listen, sweetheart,
he's been w--
Oh, boy.
You know what? I'm just--
um, put it in the car
because you can't make
an exception, right?
It's time to wake up.
Kind sir.
Not hungry?
Maybe you'd like
a little cabernet.
You said you haven't had wine
in quite some time.
Now, if you would be a gentleman
and pop
that fine bottle of wine,
I would love a glass.
Would you?
Who the hell are you?
I'm your guard.
Please, sir.
[laughing increases]
-Give yourself a nice pour.
-[wine pouring]
-I'd like to make a toast.
To Jackson Marcus.
Thank you, Valerie.
You're welcome, Jackson.
[glasses clink]
We had a rough start,
but I'd say
this is a highlight.
[gentle music]
[chuckling] Mm.
-How's it taste?
-Oh, my God.
It tastes like...
...18 years...
...of freedom.
[clicks tongue]
Oh, uh--
Go ahead and try
one of my sandwiches.
They're a specialty
at my tavern.
That's cheese?
Pimento cheese.
It's my mom's, Jane.
You know I could get fired
for fraternizing with the...
You better be thankful
of my plan.
On the day,
we're gonna have a...
a bunch of reporters here,
but I don't really expect
a lot of people here
with this COVID thing.
[officer 1]
If people happen to come,
I suggest they enter here
-and exit there.
Right over there.
-[Dwayne] Where?
I got you, Warden.
I got it under control.
Like you were saying
about this whole lockdown.
People are just too afraid.
Or I would take
care of it, Warden.
Most people are compliant.
-Most people.
-Most folks are, sir.
[birds chirping]
Make the governor proud.
Can I ask you a question?
Well, if I said no,
would that stop you? [chuckles]
I don't think it would.
I read an article
and I was wondering.
Why did you stab
that guy with...
[Jackson sighs]
...a glass bottle so many times?
[sharply exhales]
[ominous music]
[deeply inhales and exhales]
[crowd cheering and clapping]
[indistinct chanting]
Normally, Evelyn came
to all my games.
But it's the one day
she had to stay at school
that shit happened.
[echoing men laughing]
They said you was the hero.
-How old was she?
-[sharply exhales]
Just a little girl, just--
Evelyn was only 16 years old.
And she... [stammering]
she'd been through a lot
with the divorce and all that.
And that damn boy, that boy...
Why didn't you pick her up?
To be honest, I just--
I, I lost track of time,
I got caught up in the--
[music continues]
Dad was supposed to come,
but, but he's not here.
Please, mama.
Listen, that's
the only option right now.
I'm gonna have Randy
come get you,
he gonna run you home.
Please, not Randy, mama. Please.
I was, I was late.
My ex-wife started seeing
this young drifter.
She was doing
a lot of drinking with him
and I told her...
[echoing rumbling]
...he was not to go near Evelyn.
[music continues]
[echoing] Evelyn!
[echoing thud]
I called her and I called her
and I called her and she...
...she never picked up.
[water splashing]
[music continues]
[echoing thud]
That damn boy's car was there
and I didn't feel good
about that at all.
[echoing Evelyn screaming]
[glass breaks]
[echoing Evelyn screaming]
[screaming and yelling]
-[mumbling] It's okay.
Daddy's here, daddy's here.
-[Evelyn crying] Daddy!
-Daddy's here.
I don't remember nothing else,
I just remember
my baby screaming
like I never heard her
scream before.
-[muffled] Daddy's here--
-[Evelyn crying]
Daddy's here.
And she was in there by herself
with that animal.
And, man, he wouldn't--
like the devil himself
had come up out of him.
And he was in there.
My baby girl was in there
by herself with that man.
And I couldn't
think of n-- nothing--
that's all I remember.
That's all I remember--
I don't know.
[echoing siren wailing]
[music continues]
-[Val] You were protecting
your baby girl.
And that's what God
put you on this Earth for
and you are not
gonna be judged for that.
I asked your lord, Jesus,
to protect my daughter.
And he did not!
[echoing thud]
-I'm so sorry.
-[Dwayne] Valerie,
get your things
and get the hell out of here.
Dwayne, we were just
having a picnic.
Get your stuff
and get out of here.
-You heard me.
-[sighing] Oh, God.
I'm sorry.
Should've had my head examined
the day I let you in here.
Let's go.
Give me this. Let's go.
[melancholic music]
[indistinct prayer]
[softly sobbing]
[softly sobbing]
[mumbling prayers]
[wind blowing]
[engine rumbling]
[dog distantly barking]
[siren wailing]
Miss Valerie, it's a lockdown.
COVID, what don't you get?
You can't pass county line.
Chrissy, do we have to play
police movie today?
Where are you going,
Miss Valerie?
-To the motor park.
-The mo--
Miss Valerie, there was
a homicide there last week.
I'm aware, Chrissy.
But I'm doing God's work.
I'm bringing a meal to a shut-in
who's 89 years old
and very, very sick.
You telling me she's got COVID?
No, sir, officer.
She's loaded with the syphilis.
Can you imagine that?
She didn't contract it
until she was 84 years old.
But sex addict or no sex addict,
you gotta eat during the panday.
84 years old,
contracting syphilis?
That's right.
You go out there
and you save that old sleaze.
Go do God's work, Valerie.
I'm here with you on this one.
Thank you, Chrissy.
You're an angel from heaven.
[engine starts]
Thanks for the break,
Of course, Miss Val.
I don't want the COVID
now the Aussie going
high vacant
I'ma get money
I'ma ball out a lot
I'ma go load up a piece
and I'ma heat up the spot
That, that got a jingle to it.
[indistinct prayer] ...Jesus...
-I think that's a hit.
-Yeah, as me.
-I bet--
-I think it's out of all
the trailer parks with this one.
-I think too.
-I think it's a hit.
-[man 1] Million dollar idea.
-[man 2] Mm-hmm.
[man 1]
I think it's out
the trailer park.
[man 2]
I think so.
You wanna buy me
that one right there?
That one right there?
[man 3]
Yeah, whatever.
Like the Chevy. Who's that?
-Middle finger to the enemy
Me and you are not the same
I see no symmetry
They took my brother
out the game
career ending injury
I could pray
for all the things
I really have the energy, oh
The energy I need
to deal with
I'm off to shoot, I'm about
to go on a field trip
She might be
one of them tourists.
She been out here before?
Jesus! Excuse me.
-[man 1] I've never se-- it in the streets
He's no doubt about it
Well, I reckon
you can knock all you want.
But he ain't gonna answer.
You in the wrong neighborhood,
...hand up, I need you
I need the Molly...
Um, um, hello.
-Damn, she--
-[Val] I'm looking
for the Marcus house.
I've-- I'm here to deliver
letters to the daughter, Evelyn.
She live in this home?
[man 2]
Ain't seen you
around here before.
No, I know, I--
I've never been here.
I'm, I'm a prison guard.
-Looks like a liar.
[man 1]
You look like a liar.
Like a damn snitch.
I'm not a snitch,
I'm a, I'm a guard.
And I'm here
'cause I have letters
that her daddy's been trying
to deliver to her.
And he's a very good man.
And he just wants to make sure
that the letters get delivered.
Hmm. We'll only let you in
if you buy some weed.
You buy some weed,
buy some,
buy some percs or something.
[man 2]
I'll buy a perc.
[footsteps approaching]
...wear the mask.
The grins and lies... hides our cheeks
and shades our eyes.
[hip-hop music]
Who are you to my daddy?
I'm your daddy's friend.
If I gave you something,
you make sure my daddy get it?
Sure. Yes.
Give him this.
I wrote him a letter.
I wasn't allowed
to give it to him.
And I...
...I never figured out how--
And this was daddy's
favorite picture of me.
You're beautiful, Evelyn.
He's gonna love this.
Thank you.
[engine rumbling]
[car door closes]
I went and saw
Jackson's daughter.
And there's evidence,
right there, in the letter.
For when she-- first happened.
It's enough to get him off.
It t-- it tells all about--
she was d--
he was defending her.
[crickets chirping]
"Hi, Daddy. I'm sorry
I never came to see you.
I know, Daddy, you don't
deserve this and this is all
my fault. I love you, Daddy."
Because it was all her fault,
because he was defending her.
So tha-- you show that to them.
Show it to the governor,
show it to everyb--
anybody you have to,
-but just show it to them.
-No, it's not enough.
It's not enough.
-What do you mean,
it's not enough?
-It's not enough.
And even if it was enough,
He's out of time
and these things
take a lot of time.
And he ain't got no time.
[dog distantly barking]
Okay, well, then--
what about...
What about good behavior?
You can get him off
on good behavior.
E-- everyone says
he's a good prisoner.
It's not enough.
Then you let me come back.
You had a goddamn picnic
in a state penitentiary
with a death row prisoner.
You spread out
a fucking tablecloth
and had a picnic...
...with a man
condemned to death.
So what if I told you I'm sorry?
I'm sorry.
Well, how many times are you
gonna say you're sorry?
Don't give me
that "Dwayne" shit.
You are a major pain in my ass.
Well, you're a major pain
in my ass too.
But I'm telling you right now,
you let me come back.
If you don't let me come back,
I will never, ever
speak to you again.
Do you understand me?
I swear on our mother's grave,
I will never, ever...
...speak to you again.
Is your mother my mother?
You think about that.
Well, don't be tempting me
with a good time.
[melancholic music]
Sir, with all due respect,
we have some new evidence
that needs to be considered.
[man on phone]
Warden, you ever hear
the expression
"A day late and a dollar short?"
-Yeah, I've heard that.
-Now, you're smart man, Warden.
One less mouth to feed
is frankly
one less mouth to feed!
[hangs up]
[melancholic music]
[sharply exhales]
[birds chirping]
[phone ringing]
[phone ringing]
[engine rumbling]
[footsteps approaching]
-[Val] Morning.
I know you probably thought
my brother shitcanned me
for good,
-but truth is...
...he has a very soft side.
And he didn't used to be
such a hard ass.
He just changed a bit
after his gold-digger-bitch wife
left with the kids.
-Can't see his kids anymore.
-W-- wait.
Little brother?
-[stutters] Are you
shitcanned or not?
-I'm working.
-Well, where's the uniform?
Oh. Well,
I had a really
big day yesterday.
That's what I wanted
to tell you about.
And my brother
didn't tell me
until late last night
that I wasn't shitcanned.
So I went home.
I forgot to put my uniform
in the wa-- washer.
Well, I did put it
in the washer and I forgot
to put it in the dryer a--
doesn't matter.
Well, you look nice.
Thank you.
Can I tell you
about who I saw yesterday?
If you promise not to get mad.
Go ahead.
I went and saw Evelyn.
She told me to give you this.
She also wanted to be sure
you got this.
[heavily breathing]
[melancholic music]
[shakily breathing]
[music continues]
"Dear Daddy,
you said love has no fear,
but I've always been afraid.
Mama wouldn't let me testify
and I was too afraid.
I've always been
too afraid to come.
I love you, Daddy.
I wish I had the courage
to see you."
[softly crying]
-It's out of my hands.
-Nothing's out of your hands.
If you have intent
to commit a crime,
that means you plan
in going through with it,
and that man planned
on raping that little girl.
Are you a lawyer now, Valerie?
I've been working
for the government for 33 years.
If there's something
I could do, I'd do it.
But I can't.
Well, then, you need
to let her come tomorrow.
I can't. Not without
a formal request.
Oh, come on, Dwayne,
"a formal request."
She knows not--
anything about submitting
a formal request.
Neither would I.
She has to have
a formal request.
Dwayne, me and you were raised
to bend the rules.
And you're the boss
and you can bend those rules.
Now you bend them.
Valerie, I'm retiring
in nine months.
Everything I've worked for,
if I let that girl
attend this execution
without a formal request,
I will lose everything,
everything that I've worked for.
I'll lose it all.
I'm gonna tell you something.
If you don't bend the rules,
he's not gonna have
anybody at that execution.
That daughter needs to be there.
Now this is bullshit,
Dwayne, and you know it.
You can bend those rules.
And I'm losing
a friend right now,
and I'm sick of your bullshit.
[crickets chirping]
[engine starts]
[tires screeching]
[whispering] What's going on?
light switch turned on]
What are you doing here so late?
You are scaring me.
I'm scaring you?
There's a man who's being
put to death tomorrow.
For protecting his daughter f--
from a really bad man.
And I never had
a daughter, Clara.
But if I did,
and a man did to my daughter
what that man did to her,
I'd have done
the same damn thing.
I would.
That's crazy.
He's going
to the chair tomorrow.
I know.
That's why
I'm gonna need your help.
[woman crying]
It's Sam.
Sam passed last night.
I'm so sorry.
-[hangs up]
-[shakily exhales]
[soft rattling]
[melancholic music]
[deeply exhales]
"Dear Jackson,
I wanted to thank you
for the honor
of being able to serve you
for these last few days.
I want you to know
that I think you're a brave
and courageous man.
I wish you and send you peace.
And I know you'll be
surrounded with love.
Your daughter is beautiful.
And I thank you for the honor
of being able to meet her.
Go in peace.
Your friend, Valerie."
[music continues]
[softly cries]
[people shouting, echoing]
Set him free! Set him free!
Set him free!
Set him free! Set him--
[sharply exhales]
Show us your hands.
Take a step back.
Unlock it!
Come on out.
[tense music]
You're walking
to the gates of heaven.
And when you get there,
the horns of angels will sound.
[sharply exhales]
Let's go.
[music increases]
[echoing thudding]
[crowd chanting]
Set him free!
Set him free! Set him free!
Set him free!
[somber music]
-Jackson! Jackson! Jackson!
-Set him free! Set him free!
[chanting continues]
[horn honking]
[music continues]
[sharply exhales]
[tense music]
-[echoing indistinct chanting]
-[horns honking]
Honk your horn, sir.
Honk your horns!
[horns honking]
[horns distantly honking]
[softly crying]
[music increases]
-[electricity buzzing]
[horns honking]
["Soul in These Boots"
by Todd Cameron]
I grew out of a few pair
By the time I turned 16
Finally found some good ones
That felt right on my feet
My steps
they were so certain
Sure of everything
I wish they were
the way they used to be
Scuffed up on the pavement
And tore up in the mud
Caught up kicking
through the pain of
Trying to find out who I was
Started walking my own way
And Jesus
that's where I lost you
Wearing out the sole
In these boots
Somehow broken
Turned into broken down
This road
I've been travelling
Gets rougher every mile
And I don't know
if I'm too far gone
To turn back now
Scuffed up on the pavement
And tore up in the mud
Caught up kicking
through the pain of
Trying to find out who I was
Started walking my own way
And Jesus
that's where I lost you
Wearing out the sole
In these boots
Yeah, the leather's
still the same
But the sole inside
has changed
I was lost
until I found amazing grace
Scuffed up on the pavement
And tore up in the mud
Caught up kicking
through the pain of
Trying to find out who I was
Couldn't keep walking
my own way
And Jesus
that's where I found you
Wearing out the sole
in these boots