The Subject (2020) Movie Script

[eerie music]
Are you...
are you the one
that's been filming me?
[woman] Oh, yeah.
Yeah, I've been watching you
a good long while.
But then you went and robbed
me of my windows, so...
What do you want from me?
[woman] I want you
to answer the door, Phil.
[banging at door]
- [banging at door]
- [doorbell]
- [indistinct chatter]
- [traffic]
I'm Malcolm Barnes,
I'm 15 years old
and I'm SCK.
[Phil] And what is that?
What is SCK?
Stone cold killer.
[Phil] Are you a killer, Malcom?
[scoffs] C'mon now.
[cameraman chuckles] I'm just
asking the obvious question.
Pfft. And I'm just giving you
an obvious answer,
even if I did kill somebody.
I haven't.
Yet. [chuckles]
[Phil] Yet?
Even if I did kill somebody,
you think I'm dumb enough
to say it on tape?
[Phil] You don't seem
to have a problem
publicly confessing
a gang affiliation.
It's not a gang,
it's a brotherhood.
Can't get convicted
of being in a brotherhood.
Plus, this gonna put
SCK on the map!
[laughs quietly]
You'll make me famous, right?
- [Phil chuckles]
- [click]
[Malcolm] It's not a gang,
it's a brotherhood.
Can't get convicted
of being in a brotherhood.
Plus, this gonna put SCK
on the map!
[laughs quietly]
You'll make me famous, right?
[Phil chuckles]
Yeah, I'm gonna try.
- I'm gonna try.
- [Malcolm laughing]
[Phil] But back
to the original question.
Are you capable of killing?
[landline ringing]
- [beep]
- [Phil] Hello?
Jesus, again with this?
You getting off over there?
Maybe I should start
charging for this.
Get a 900 number.
- [footsteps approach]
- [beep]
[Jess] Here you are!
Have you been in here all night?
I couldn't sleep. [sighs]
Um, okay.
So, making the thing
and watching it 306 times
in a year and a half
wasn't enough?
This isn't about
that fucking blog, is it?
[Jess sighs]
- It's one blog.
- [Phil stammers]
By a man who hates that
he doesn't have your career.
It's not the first time
that I have been accused
of exploitation.
And it won't be the last.
What the fuck does it matter?
The Academy doesn't think
you're exploitative.
Sundance doesn't think
you're exploitative.
You do good work, Phil.
You're a good man.
Don't let anybody else
convince you otherwise.
[sighs] Now stop this...
and get to work.
You don't wanna be late
for your first day on set.
Speaking of late,
I better get moving myself.
[scoffs] How can you be late?
You own the joint.
Just remember,
the guy's an asshole
who has shitty grammar.
I mean, fuck,
even I know a comma
comes before a conjunction,
and English
is my second language.
[sighs heavily]
[no audio]
[Phil chuckles] Yeah,
I'm gonna try. I'm gonna try.
[Phil] But back
to the original question.
Are you capable of killing?
Guess we'll find out.
[kids shout in background]
[emotive music]
[newsman] Is this the year
of protests around the globe?
France to Chile
to Algeria to Ecuador...
more than 40,000 protestors...
At least two people in Asia that
have been killed in the clashes.
[newsman continues indistinct]
Hong Kong doesn't currently
have extradition agreements
with either territory.
Hong Kong's
pro-democracy movement
can be traced to the 1980s
when more than 1,000 protestors
demanded direct elections...
But by 1991,
they had secured 18
directly elected seats
in the legislature.
That was only the beginning.
Now, they take
to the streets again,
fighting for their rights.
- [Kwame] What I say?
- [man] Kwame, please calm down.
[Kwame] Bitch, don't tell me
to calm down!
I calm down when you tell me
what the fuck I said!
What the fuck did I say?
What the fuck did I say?
Don't think 'cause
there's cameras around that
you got some kind of authority!
- What's going on?
- The only thing these cameras is good for...
- You already know.
- the ass whooping you're about to get.
You really think Peter-fucking-con
was gonna let a little humanity
get between him and a narrative
gold mine?
[Kwame] I'll let you run up here
and flip the fucking script!
- [man] Kwame...
- [Kwame] I run this show!
Huh? Me!
You hear me?
I'm running the show here!
Me! All right?
I set the rules.
You don't come up here
and try to break the biggest fucking one!
Are you fucking kidding me
- right now?
- Getting this?
- You know it.
- What's wrong with you? Go ahead! Tell me what I said!
- Day one.
- [Kwame] The fuck I told you?
Speak up, nigga!
Don't tell me to calm the fuck...
- [Phil] Hey!
- Oh! Shit!
You lucky it was you, because I
was about to lay your ass out.
What's the problem?
Your boy over here
got memory problems.
I was about to bust him
in his head!
Go ahead, help him with that.
[Phil] What did he forget?
I told y'all from the jump
y'all can't be fucking
with my mom's.
I was real clear
about that shit, Phil.
[Phil] Yes, you were.
Yeah, you were.
And I'm sure
it'll stick this time.
Won't it, Pete?
Why don't you go check out
the sites for a minute?
I'm sorry, dude.
This is a real fucked up way
to start this whole thing out.
Yeah. True talk.
But Kwame, this is our job.
Right now,
our lives are dedicated
to telling your story.
And that,
what's happening
to her right now,
it's happening to you too, man.
It's an important part
of your story.
Maybe the most important part.
So, really, can't blame the guy
for just, you know...
just trying to do his job
the best way he knows how.
He meant no disrespect.
Get what I'm saying?
Yeah. I get you.
Y'all still ain't
coming near my mom's, though.
If I gotta
tell your boy one more time,
I'm a fuck him all the way up.
All right, let's go.
So! This right here,
this the den
of iniquity right here.
Know what I'm saying? Uh...
Anyway, you know,
this where me and my boys
would be chilling,
watching the game,
entertaining the ladies.
This monster right here,
I got this for my mom's
45th birthday.
But, you know,
she actually doesn't come out
here that much anymore, so...
Oh, well.
Gonna have to get her one to put
in her room for her 50th.
Or Christmas, actually.
Y'all wanna meet my boys?
You wanna do that?
Can we meet my boys?
They're right outside.
We could do that.
They been dying to meet y'all.
- Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
- [Kwame] Can we do...?
- Cool! Let's do that.
- Yeah.
Yo! So these niggas right here,
closest thing I got
to fucking brothers right here.
You know what I'm saying?
We fight like brothers too, man.
Hold up buddy, hold up!
I didn't stretch this morning.
Why you acting brawly
'cause the camera's on, bro?
Why you acting brawly
'cause the camera's on?
Nah, I love these niggas, man,
know what I'm saying?
But they can't see me
on the court... [indistinct]
[indistinct chatter]
[dude] Yo! Yo, yo, yo!
Yo, Malcolm, nigga!
This ain't right, brother.
You just gonna let them try
and beat me down like this, man?
- [indistinct chatter, laughter]
- [man] Hey, yo, get off me.
[Kwame] We can go to the court
right now.
You wanna see us ball?
[Kwame] Phil?
You wanna see us ball?
We betting on who's winning?
I mean, if we're betting on me.
I'll cook you too.
I cook him too.
[indistinct chatter]
[man indistinct]
[man] Damn, nice car, brother.
[man 2] Yo, that's some meme
parking right there, brother.
- You like that?
- [men] Yeah!
Yeah, it's all about
spatial perception.
Well, shit! You be percepting
like a motherfucker, then.
[shopkeeper] No refunds. Once
they're printed, they're yours!
I said this ain't
what I asked for, nigga!
Don't call me "nigga."
Why I gotta pay
'cause you got hearing problems?
I said, "PowerBall!"
- I ain't paying for this shit!
- I'm gonna call the cops.
- Motherfucker, what! Man!
- [Phil] Hey, man.
How much are the tickets?
- [customer] This nigga...
- Don't call me "nigga."
This motherfucker
trying to get me to pay $10
for some shit
I ain't even ask for!
This is Mega Ball!
Smaller jackpot!
Hey! I'll take them.
For real?
Yeah, sure. Why not?
Thanks, man. Appreciate it.
You're welcome!
Yo, Imma get my tickets
from up the street from now on,
'cause niggas up in here
is crooked as hell!
- I said don't call me "nigga"!
- [customer] Whatever! Nigga!
[Phil] Having customers leave
feeling cheated...
not a good way
to do business, friend.
I run a liquor store in Harlem.
You don't gotta worry
about my business... friend.
Want something else?
- [traffic]
- [indistinct chatter]
[indistinct laughter, chatter]
- [man] Yo. Check it out, Yo.
- You win, don't forget about me.
- Oh, shit!
- Oh, thanks, brother.
- [laughter]
- Damn! White people crazy!
[Juan] I dunno why
you got rid of the old one,
- it worked fine.
- If you, out of all people,
cannot appreciate
that that old-ass thing
didn't belong in this carefully
curated space,
then you need to find
a new line of work.
- [doorbell tinkles]
- [gasps]
[shrieks, laughter]
[scoffs] Um...
you're joking, right?
Come on, it's just
an internship, mami.
And they probably already know
who they wanna hire.
Yeah, I do like it.
[both chuckle]
[Pilar] Ah! Look at you!
You're gonna
knock their socks off!
[Jess] You're gonna
tell her the truth.
You're gonna tell her
I gave it to you as a gift.
And both agreed
not to tell her anything
because we knew
she would make you return it.
You got it?
Now, go get that internship.
Ragtime right in the house!
How'd it go?
Well, nobody quit
and nobody got shot,
so... success?
Was it weird for you,
being back in Harlem?
Dj vu all over again.
Kind of depressing, actually.
Nothing has changed.
Did you really think it would? It hasn't even
been two years since you were there last.
Yeah, I know, but...
I dunno. I mean, Malcolm...
His death,
I mean, it was huge to me.
[stammers] It's changed my life.
But it doesn't seem to have had
any ripples
in his own community.
Not that you can see
from your car window, anyway.
I saw these kids
standing out on a corner...
- Like they always do...
- [Phil] And I thought...
I wondered
if they had even seen the film.
- [Jess] Film?
- I'm serious.
I wondered if they even
knew about Malcolm, at all.
Or if he was just
some tiny speck
in a massive mosaic of violence.
I just...
I don't know if what I do,
I don't know
if it makes a difference.
Oh, I'm sorry.
I can hear you saying stuff,
but all I can hear is blog.
- Okay.
- Blog. Blog, blog, blog.
- Blog. Blog.
- This isn't about the blog.
It's not just about the blog.
The blog's a catalyst, maybe.
All right, fine!
Fine. Let's say
that I have the potential
to really make a difference.
I don't know that my reach is...
I don't know that I'm reaching
the right people, you know?
I'm thinking...
I'm thinking
of hiring a publicist.
A maid or a cook, probably.
An assistant, definitely.
"A publicist", he says, hmm...
I've been thinking long
and hard about this.
[Jess] Yeah, I know you have.
You think I'm ridiculous.
[Jess] Just a little
around the edges.
Quick! What movie is that from?
Uh... I don't know.
Could be any movie.
Babe, All About Eve!
I mean, really, it's only,
like, the best movie ever made.
Well... a movie that
you haven't made, of course.
You know what I think
we should do?
- What?
- I think we should crack
this baby open,
mix up a little something
and celebrate
a casualty-free first day
of filming of your new project.
Sounds good.
[Phil] All right, Malcolm,
so tell me,
what are you hoping to gain
by joining the ranks of SCK?
[Malcolm] I just like the fact
of knowing
that there's people out there
who got your back,
no matter what.
[Phil] What about your family,
don't they have your back?
[scoffs] Yeah,
they got my back, aight?
Way back.
[Phil] What do you mean?
Man, you know
what the hell I mean.
You know. My mom's at work
all the time,
I don't got no brothers
and sisters...
[Phil] And your father?
[scoffs] He ain't...
he ain't nothing.
He ain't nobody.
He don't even live with us.
[Phil] Do you know who he is?
Yeah, I know who he is.
This ain't no Maury show.
I just mean
he ain't mean nothing to me.
He ain't mean nothing to nobody
It gotta be the same way
for me, though.
You know,
I got a chance to be something.
[Phil] You don't see
that chance anywhere else?
Not at school?
I ain't even going back.
I mean, shit!
Have you seen my school?
[Phil] Yeah, I have.
There are some pretty
bright kids there.
[Malcolm] Yeah, whatever.
See where they wind up
in ten years.
[Phil] Where will you be
in ten years?
Dead, probably.
It's gonna be
a big ten years, though.
[Phil] Oh, yeah? How so?
The fame, man.
The thrill!
The respect.
[Phil] You honestly think
- that joining a gang is...
- [Malcolm] Brotherhood!
[Phil] Sorry, brotherhood.
You think that joining
a brotherhood,
that's the only way
that you can achieve all that?
This real funny coming from you
- [Phil] What do you mean?
- [laughing]
I mean, you don't want
the same things I want?
I mean, look at what you do.
[Phil] Yeah, but I went
to school for this.
- I studied for years.
- Yeah, but, like,
that's what makes this
so funny, though.
Like, you took
the long way around.
You know, took the high road.
And look at you.
You ain't nobody without me.
You couldn't do
none of what you do
if it wasn't for
all the mes in the world.
[Phil] Yeah, but I probably
won't be dead in ten years.
- I plan on living a long life.
- Yep... All right.
[footsteps approaching]
No, it's okay.
Don't bother cleaning up.
I will get it all myself.
I will get dinner, I'll clean...
- I was...
- In a hurry to get back
to flagellating yourself.
Yeah, I know.
You know what?
I'm not gonna do this anymore.
It's so stupid.
I mean,
I know plenty of other artists
who don't even bother to read
any of their press
for this very reason.
Maybe I should adopt that rule.
I mean, after a certain point,
it doesn't
even matter anyway, right?
Yes. Please.
And thank you
for taking
the one thing I've
been telling you all along
and phrasing it as if you've had
some sort of revelation
all of a sudden,
you know, personally,
without any prompt from anyone.
Okay. [chuckles]
I would've taken your word
sooner, but...
you know...
you're biased,
because, you know...
you've had sex with me.
I haven't, actually,
in a while. Hm.
Oh! So, are you...
Wait, was that my cue to...
- Fuck the fuck out of me. Yeah.
- [whispers] Thought so.
[heavy breathing]
[heavy breathing]
[frightened gasp]
- [Phil] What, what? What?
- Window. The window!
Hey! Hey! Hey!
[alarm beeping]
Finally get to sleep
and that fucking thing goes off.
[sighs heavily]
[Jess] Okay, babe, gotta run.
I'm just starting coffee.
I'll pick some up
at the station.
You want me to give you
a ride, just in case?
No thanks, Fruit of the Loom.
Just in case what?
Well, we have a stalker,
Or more a run-of-the-mill
peeping pervert, more likely.
Babe, I would feel
more comfortable
- if you let me give you a ride.
- And I would feel like a fat ass
if I let you give me a ride.
Walking to the station
is the only exercise I've gotten
since opening the boutique.
Hey, a little more ass
couldn't hurt.
You're shooting
in Bed-Stuy today, right?
I called Tony and Pete,
told them what happened.
They're gonna cover for me
for a little while.
I just wanna stay available
in case the police need
to follow up
or anything, you know?
Babe, I really do think this
is more of a one-time thing.
Don't go getting all weird
and paranoid on me.
- See you later.
- Yeah. Okay.
Text me when you get there.
Aw! Look at you.
So cute and bossy
and protective.
Whatever. People are fucked up.
[Jess] Yes, dear.
- Bye, dear.
- Bye.
[landline ringing]
Hey! I'm...
Listen asshole... Hello?
[Jess] This one looks good.
She's pursuing her MFA in film.
- Where?
- Uh...
- Columbia.
- [Phil] Next.
You are terrible.
If I can't find
any fellow Tischers,
I'm not gonna go
straight for the enemy.
How about this one.
Says he's a native Manhattanite.
Hold on. Wait, wait.
Did he actually put that?
is that what he said?
I mean, not "New Yorker?"
- Private school educated.
- [Phil] Hmm.
With a silver spoon
so far up his ass
- it tickles mi nose.
- [laughing]
[Phil] What's next?
Okay. Uh, oh!
Recent Tisch grad.
Says he's more interested
in learning
about the business of filmmaking
without having to sacrifice
his ability to eat.
- [grunts]
- [Jess] Pretty funny, right?
It's in all caps.
It's like he's yelling at me.
It's a form of aggression.
We got 78 responses in 11 hours.
I need to find reasons
to eliminate, not to include.
Yes, master.
Would you also like me to ignore
all the ones in lowercase?
Is that like an e-whisper?
Too meek?
That's very cute.
Next, please.
Ahh! Okay,
this is the one, right here.
Originally from California,
studied Cinematic Arts at USC...
Oh, and then left
to New York City
because he was turned off
by the stigmas of Hollywood.
Says the clincher was watching
a documentary on homelessness
his senior year.
Do you think he means my piece?
Well, the math adds up.
I mean, The Begging Class
came out around his senior year,
it looks like.
"I knew that I would never
be able to produce
anything anywhere near as real
or compelling as that
in Los Angeles."
Marley Reed.
And you were worried about
not making an impact.
Let's find out if Marley
has plans tomorrow afternoon.
[indistinct chatter]
Phil Waterhouse?
[Phil] Marley?
Oh, my God! I...
I cannot tell you
what a pleasure it is
to finally meet you!
- Yeah.
- I...
Yeah, no, nice to...
You too. [chuckles] You too.
- Wow!
- [Phil chuckles]
I dunno. I guess I just...
I guess
I had a feeling about it.
To be honest,
I was really kind of hoping
that it was you
who posted the ad.
Well, that makes one of us.
- Hmm?
- I mean, you.
- I wasn't expecting you.
- Oh.
Didn't think you'd be quite
so... girl-like.
Yeah. [chuckles]
I get that all the time.
Guess that's one of the hazards
of a unisex name.
- [Marley laughing]
- [chuckles] Yeah, I guess. Yeah.
But if you don't have
any more, you know...
Is it all right if we just,
like, talk now?
Of course.
I'm a huge fan.
And I'm not just saying that
to get you to hire me.
Of course not.
[Marley] No, you can quiz me.
I've seen all of your films.
Even the shorts. I've even...
I've even seen your thesis.
- Come on. You've seen my thesis?
- [Marley] Hm-mmm.
What'd you think?
No, it was a little...
predictable in the material
and in the message,
but even then,
you could totally see
the potential.
And here you are. Like...
living up to it.
Exceeding it, even.
I mean, getting people
to uproot their lives
in search
of their better selves.
You know, like... Wow.
I honestly, I can't even believe
I'm sitting
in front of you right now.
- Stop.
- [Marley] No, seriously.
Can I ask you about
your new project?
[whispers] The one with HBO?
Is that okay?
Can you talk about it?
Yeah, sure.
Well, it's a series
about urban youth.
We're calling it Hoods
and it's gonna follow the lives
of four different... kids.
- [Marley] Nice. So...
- Yeah.
Tell me about the subjects,
I mean, the kids.
There's one guy,
totally ruthless.
He's kind of a bully.
Like, recreational hate,
you know?
Dr. Brenner, she thinks...
- Dr. Brenner?
- [Phil] Sorry, sorry.
She's our consultant.
- Or psychologist. Yeah.
- [Marley] Cool. Got it.
So, Dr. Brenner thinks
he's only acting out
- because his mom...
- Yeah?
because his mom
is dying of cancer.
- [whispers] Fuck.
- [Phil] Hm.
[softly] Really?
Well, it'll make
an awesome story, though.
Right? I mean, the lion
with the thorn in his paw?
So, who else?
Well, there's Dereck,
who is the drug-dealing
basketball star.
- Classic.
- [Phil] Right?
And Fernando. Fernando,
he has been sleeping around
since he lost his virginity
at the age of twelve,
but now, he's a devoted father.
Reformed man-whore, perfect.
And what would
a show about urban youth be
without a rapper? That's Omar.
And Dr. Brenner thinks
he might be in the closet.
- Ooh. Wow!
- [Phil] Yeah, so...
- that's that.
- [Marley] Hmm.
So, no girls.
No girls. Huh.
There's your second season
right there.
God, I'd give my left breast
to work on a show like that.
You would?
Well, the left
one's smaller, so...
[chuckles] Really?
Yeah. Really.
[waiter] Can I get you folks
anything else?
[Marley laughs]
[jazzy music]
Hey! I brought Indian!
- It smells so good. Hm.
- Mmm. It's hot.
- Mmm.
- [Jess] Phil?
[Phil] Mm. Hey!
[splutters] Hey, honey.
Look who's come make dinner.
- Marley Reed.
- Hey.
Marley, my girlfriend, Jess.
It is so nice to meet you.
- [Jess] Hmm.
- She's the one you have to thank
for your new job.
[Marley gasps] Oh, cool!
- [Marley laughing]
- Isn't it, though?
What's that you're making
in our kitchen?
She just made sofrito.
From scratch.
How amazing is that?
[speaking Spanish]
Uh... [laughs]
She's not... she's not Hispanic.
[speaking Spanish]
Oh! No, I wish.
But I totally must've been
in a former life.
Like, I have always felt
so drawn to those cultures.
Especially like the food
and spices.
So, I dunno,
just learned a few recipes.
[inhales deeply]
Well, enjoy that.
I will be in the den
with my curry.
- Oh!
- Yeah.
I must've been Indian
in a former life.
[Marley] More?
- [Bill] Hello.
- [Karen] Hi, Bill.
- Hello, Mrs. Richards.
- Hello, Eve, dear.
- Hello, Eve.
- Good evening, Mr. Richards.
[footsteps approaching]
What was that?
What was what?
That was hands down
the most convincing
impersonation of an icicle
that I have ever seen.
Well, I didn't wanna melt from
all the heat in the kitchen!
Please don't tell me that you
didn't notice that she's hot.
- Don't add insult to injury.
- What injury?
You're the one who picked her
out of all those candidates.
Which you couldn't help
but to bring up
very quickly in her presence.
Nice preemptive strike there.
She has everything
that we were looking for.
Experience, education, passion...
Oh! A lot of it, I'm sure.
The only thing she's missing
is a Y-fucking-chromosome.
[scoffs] Okay.
You can't possibly be
this insecure.
- Not after three years.
- [Jess] Three and a half!
And you know what?
I couldn't help but notice
you introduced me, specifically,
- as your girlfriend.
- I did that for you!
So that you would feel
more... I don't know, at ease.
So you wouldn't think I was
just trying to pass you off
as a friend
or a housekeeper or something.
[Jess yells] A housekeeper!
It's just an example.
- You know what I mean!
- [Jess] God!
You see, this is what you do.
You are the king
of manipulating situations
to make yourself
look like the good guy.
- What the fuck?
- [Jess] Yeah! This!
This is why you rewind
that tape of your life
a million fucking times, Philip.
Yeah, looking for, like,
the tiniest hint
or speck to prove
that you are an asshole!
And you're not gonna find it.
Do you know why
you're not gonna find it?
Because you have edited it
all out.
I'm going to bed!
on your shiny new assistant.
Fasten your seatbelts,
it's going to be a bumpy night.
[Kwame] ...and I got this
for my mom's 45th birthday.
she don't really come out here
that much anymore, so...
Oh, well, you know,
Imma just have to get her
a big one to put
in her room for her 50th.
Or Christmas.
You guys wanna meet my boys?
They been dying to meet y'all.
- [traffic]
- [indistinct chatter]
Guys, this is Marley.
She's gonna be working with us.
- Hi.
- Marley, this is Pete, Jake,
- and Tony.
- Anthony.
- Nice to meet you.
- [Marley] Tony. Hey, I'm Marley.
- I'm excited.
- [Pete] Glad you could jump in.
Yeah, but everything
I've seen...
- [cell phone buzzes]
- far looks great.
[Jake] Yeah, we're
excited to have you.
- [Marley unclear]
- Yes. Yep. We're gonna hit
the deadline, Luis.
We're fucking close.
[inaudible conversations]
- Okay. Bye.
- All right. Ciao.
Did you see this email
from Dr. Brenner?
[Phil] Hmm?
This email from Dr. Brenner.
- Oh, yeah, yeah.
- [Jake] Hey, Marley.
- Hey.
- [Phil] Fifth.
[Marley] Cool.
You got a message
from a Kevin Hertzog
from the Association
for the Defense
of Juvenile Offenders.
He wants to know
if you're available
to appear on a panel
on the 24th of next month.
Am I?
Uh... yes!
Yeah. Then yeah, confirm.
I like Kevin, he's a good dude.
Cool. Also, Louise needs
to reschedule the check-in
for Tuesday at 10:00 a.m.
But I went ahead
and put it in calendar anyway,
because we're shooting
with Fernando then,
so I think Tony and Pete
can totally handle that
- without too much trouble.
- Okay.
I mean, unless the baby
decides to join the gang.
What, too soon?
- Yeah! Just. Yeah.
- [giggles] Sorry.
Oh! Also...
I know you're making
a conscious effort
not to follow your own press,
but I came across some stuff...
- [Phil groans]
- ...I think... I know!
And I don't wanna dredge up
any ghosts,
but there've been
some interviews
- with the mother of that kid.
- Seriously?
- [child screaming]
- [Phil] What the fuck?
We don't know. He just refuses
to answer the door.
But he's in there?
As far as we know. Yeah.
Hey, Kwame? It's Phil.
What's going on, bro?
- [Kwame] Phil?
- Yeah, it's me.
- [Kwame] Uh...
- Feeling all right, man?
[Kwame] Imma let you in,
all right,
but I'd... just you.
I don't want the cameras
or nothing.
Yeah, no cameras. No problem.
Just give me a sec.
You look like hell, man.
What happened?
[police sirens]
[police radio]
I just came in
and she was already like that.
I wasn't even in the room
when it happened.
I wasn't even in the room.
[door closes]
I dunno what to do, man.
I dunno what to do.
I mean, I literally,
I don't know what do,
I never had to deal with
no shit like this before.
[Phil] Okay.
I'm gonna tell the crew
to pack it up.
Out of respect.
You've enough to deal with.
You don't need a camera
in your face right now. Okay?
What else do you need?
[exhales sharply]
[sobs] More time.
I just, I thought I had
more time with...
Like, I knew she was...
I knew she was bad...
that I could, like,
brace myself for that, but...
Her medical costs
were, like, mad expensive,
and, like, basic funeral costs
are, like,
seven fucking Gs, like...
you know how many fucking niggas
Imma have to call,
and how many kneecaps
Imma have to bust
to get that kind of money?
Can't even do that for her.
She did all this shit for me.
[exhales sharply]
you are a strong,
resourceful person,
and a loyal, dutiful son.
She knew that.
She died knowing that.
You have to know that
that brought her comfort.
You know that, right?
You might not have been
physically in the room, but...
I can tell you right now, man,
you were there.
- You were there.
- [Kwame sobs]
- [Kwame sobbing]
- It's all right, man.
Is he gonna be okay?
Yeah. Yeah, he's gonna be fine.
I mean, like,
for all his tough appearances,
he's still just a kid, right?
I'm older than he is,
and I have no idea what I would
do if my mom died right now.
Like, of course
I still have a dad, though.
Wait, he has a dad, right?
Does he have a dad?
Yeah, of course he has a dad.
He's just... not in the picture.
- [ambulance siren]
- [Marley] Wow.
So what do we do now?
Did you know there are,
like, 14 funeral homes
just in Harlem?
[scoffs] Must get good business.
[Phil] Funeral homes
and liquor stores.
[Marley chuckles]
You okay?
Kinda like it was your mom
who just died.
[Phil] yeah.
Yeah, I just...
I can't help wondering
what would've happened
if we hadn't been there,
you know?
[Marley] Okay.
And I don't mean that
in like a...
in, like, a self-aggrandizing
"aren't we so great
for helping out"
kinda way, I mean.
What if he hadn't gotten money
from this whole deal,
or I don't know... [sighs]
How would he have
dealt with all this?
How do people
in his situation afford...
[clears throat]
It's like they can't even afford
to die with dignity, you know?
Society doesn't give them
much of a chance...
I'm sorry.
I'm so, so sorry. I, uh...
- [Marley] You're just so...
- [clears throat]
You're just so good.
You know?
I'm sorry. That was stupid.
No. No...
- [Marley sighs]
- It's okay.
[Marley] Okay.
[Phil] Okay.
[heavy breathing]
Hold on.
I wanna show you something.
- Okay.
- [Phil] No, no, no. No. [laughs]
No, something I've...
It's something
I've never shown anyone else.
[Marley whispers] Wow. Really?
[sighs heavily]
This is from
The Price of Brotherhood.
- [Marley] Hm-mmm.
- [Phil] It's footage that I shot
one day when it was
just me and the kid.
It's footage that never
made it into the picture...
for reasons I think...
I think you'll understand.
[exhales sharply]
Sorry. I'm just...
[chuckles nervously, sniffs]
- Nervous.
- Hey...
It's okay.
I'm honestly just flattered
that you wanna show it to me.
I understand.
Yeah. Yeah, I think you do.
- I hope you do. [chuckles]
- [Marley chuckles]
[clears throat]
- C'mon! Why not?
- [Phil] No, dude.
- Why not?
- [Phil] It's not gonna happen.
Just let me hold the camera.
[cameraman chuckles]
No. It's not...
You're the subject. All right?
C'mon, man, it's
not like I'm gonna break it.
[Phil] It's not the camera
I'm worried about you breaking.
It's the rules of documentary.
C'mon, man! It's just us.
We're just playing.
I ain't asking you to put
what I record in the movie.
- [Malcolm laughs] Yet!
- [Phil] Yet?
I'm saying,
what if what I record
is the hottest shit
anybody ever seen?
[Phil] I doubt that.
What's that supposed to mean?
You don't think I got good
ideas when it comes to movies?
[Phil] No, that's not
what I'm saying at all.
[Malcolm] All right.
Because I do.
- I got good ideas.
- [Phil] I'm sure you do.
That's not what
I meant, alright.
I'm just saying,
you'd be shooting me.
- Shooting you?
- [Phil] Filming me.
Recording me, you know?
I don't think I'd make
a particularly hot subject.
[Malcolm] Why not?
[cameraman sighs] All right.
That's what I'm talking about.
- Let's go!
- [Phil] All right.
Okay. Got it?
All right. Just a couple
minutes though, okay?
Yeah, pretty simple.
You just aim and shoot.
[Malcolm] Aim and shoot.
This ain't nothing.
I could do this.
[Malcolm laughs]
How'd that feel?
You don't like that shit,
do you?
You don't like being
on the other side.
If you're gonna be like this,
I'm gonna take it back.
I'm just messing with you.
All right? I'm good.
I'm serious. I'm good now.
[Phil sniffs]
[Malcolm] So...
How'd you get into the business
of making movies?
Well, uh...
I've always been
a big fan of film.
I mean, all kinds.
Right? Like I could
watch any genre movie
and love it.
I mean, horror, comedy,
mystery, whatever.
the ones
that really appealed to me
were documentaries.
How come?
[Phil] Because...
because I like the idea
that art was just happening.
You know?
Like, all around.
Just unfolding.
And I wanted to be
where the art was unfolding.
I wanted to catch it.
Preserve it.
So that I could share it
with other people
and they can be moved by it,
like the way I am.
So, you see me as art?
[Phil] Yeah, I do.
That's cool.
[Phil] I think so.
Could you teach me?
Teach you what?
[Malcolm] How to see art.
Yeah, I don't...
I don't think it's something...
'Cause, like, right now, right?
I think I can see what you see.
I think I can see art.
Even in you, you know?
But I don't know for sure,
because I ain't no expert.
But you an expert,
so you could teach me.
And that's my idea
for the movie.
[Phil] Your idea?
We can make
the rest of the movie
about you teaching me
how to make movies.
C'mon, that shit is hot.
C'mon, man, think about it.
You start out making a movie
about a kid
who wanna join a gang.
- Brotherhood.
- [Malcolm] Right.
But you end up saving me
from a life of crime
with your art and shit.
So then, your movie will become
more than just a movie, man.
It'll become like a...
like a message, right?
A message for people
to help other people.
Man, you'll look like a hero.
And I get to live past 25.
Malcolm, I'm afraid...
doesn't work like that.
Why not?
for starters,
I already told you,
I mean,
I went to school for this.
[Malcolm] What school you go to?
Oh, word?
Man, that's right here
in the city!
What kinda stuff they teach you?
I mean... [chuckles]
all kinds of stuff.
Technical stuff.
A lot of jargon, angles,
cuts, editing...
It took seven years.
And, like, 20 professors.
[Malcolm] Man! I could do that.
It's expensive.
[Malcolm] They got scholarships,
don't they?
Yeah. Okay.
So let's say
you go back to school.
All right? [sucks teeth]
what do you offer
as a candidate?
What are your grades like?
What kind of extra curriculars
are you involved in?
I mean, ones that don't involve
guns and graffiti.
[Malcolm] Hey, man,
I ain't got no gun.
Sure, okay.
But your brothers do.
Right? What are they gonna say
when you tell them that
you're leaving the brotherhood
to go make art?
- You right.
- [Phil] Sorry, Malcolm.
Nah, nah, it's cool.
It was just an idea.
[Marley] Wow.
That was terrible.
Just terrible.
It was?
Jesus. I mean, yeah.
That must've been
so hard for you.
For me?
[Marley] Yep.
I mean, what a mindfuck, right?
Like, having someone look at you
like you're the solution
to all their problems,
like, really complex problems
that were clearly there
long before you...
[sighs] I mean,
what did he want you to do?
You must've felt so pressured.
Poor baby.
You don't think...
You don't think
I was too hard on him?
[Marley] God! No!
You had a job to do.
You were there to capture
a very particular kind
of reality,
and he was just, like, trying
to switch it all up on you
at the last minute.
I'd done the same thing.
You would've?
I'd done
a whole lot more than that
if it meant I got to go
to Sundance, you know?
I mean, I wouldn't have
actually, like,
shot the kid myself or anything.
- Right.
- He wasn't... shot, right?
Right, yeah. He was...
Yeah, was just
kinda hard to tell,
because of, yeah...
Yeah well, I...
I dropped the camera
when I realized that...
Oh God, that must've been
so hard for you.
Could we watch it?
I dunno. I just,
I feel like I could get
a whole new perspective
on it now
with that in mind.
You wanna watch Malcolm get...
beat to death?
Is that horrible?
[inhales sharply]
It's not for me to say.
That's not a question
you have to ask the guy
that filmed it
in the first place, right?
[Marley sighs] Hey!
If you don't want to, it's okay.
Maybe we could just...
get back
to what we were doing before?
Um, no. Sorry, sorry.
Marley, actually, I'm...
I'm not feeling so hot
all of a sudden. [clears throat]
Oh, no. I'm sorry.
No, don't. I... [clears throat]
I had a headache.
I should've said
something earlier.
[Marley] Oh!
I could give you a rub?
These hands, like miracles,
so I've been told.
You know, actually,
I think it would be better
if you just, if you left.
for good.
- Okay.
- Sorry.
It's nothing personal. I just...
No. I get it.
No, I just...
there's been a lot of tension,
and as much as I would love to,
I don't think
this is appropriate.
- It's not professional.
- [Marley] I said I get it.
I'll write you a reference.
["Fireproof" playing]
Hey, baby.
[Jess] Hey! What're you doing?
[Phil] Making dinner.
Making dinner?
Where's Marley?
[Phil] Updating her resum.
You fired her?
[Phil] Yep.
[Jess] Why?
I thought she was so perfect.
You know,
with all her experience
and all her passion
and sofrito.
What made you change your mind?
[Phil] Yeah.
You were a whole other person
when she was around.
A horrible, frightening,
frigid person.
It was like trying to
live inside a refrigerator
the past few weeks.
I was pretty miserable.
[Phil] Yeah.
[in Italian accent] So,
now I fix it with spaghetti.
[in Italian accent]
Well, it's the only plate
you know how to make.
Hey. What I lack
in the kitchen...
I make up for in other rooms.
Yeah, well, you have
a lot of making up to do.
[whispers] Like, a lot!
Ah, yeah.
Fucking Bodega coffee, man.
The best kept secret.
Yeah, too bad
we're fetching it for ourselves.
So, are you ever gonna
replace Marley, or what?
Yeah, mid-production
is not the time
to be concerned
with staffing, Pete. All right?
And since when
did you become such a diva?
Fetching coffee.
It's not about the coffee, okay?
I've getting some pretty
aggressive calls from reporters
who can't seem
to get through to you.
Yeah, I know about
the reporters, Pete. All right?
I'll handle them when I'm not
in the thick of this.
Fetching coffee.
[indistinct chatter]
Thank you. Have a great day.
Jess Rivas?
- Yup, that's me.
- [man] This is for you.
- [Jess] Where's it from?
- [man] Don't know.
Some lady gave me ten bucks
and told me to bring it in here.
[man] She didn't look crazy,
if that's what you're wondering.
- Thanks.
- [man] Just saying.
Oh. Hey!
You are home.
What're you doing down here?
Did you have dinner already?
I was watching a movie.
It was riveting.
Totally compelling.
I feel
really compelled right now.
I laughed.
I cried.
Here, let me show you
the best part.
[Phil] Shit...
- Shit. Look, Jess, I...
- [Jess] You can explain?
- It's...
- [Jess] Not what it looks like?
- She...
- [Jess] Meant nothing to you.
You can do better than that.
No, she did mean something.
- [sighs]
- No. No, no, no.
I mean... Hold on, hold on.
Jess, Jess, Jess. Please?
Please. Listen to me.
I... I thought
she meant something, okay?
She was... she just said
what I needed to hear
in that moment. But...
Oh, that thing
must've been difficult to do
with your tongue in her mouth!
But it was not
what I needed. Okay?
[Jess] That's why
you fired her, isn't it?
Because filling her hole
didn't fill your hole, did it?
[Phil] No, Jess! I didn't...
Okay. All right, look.
I know that you're hurt,
- But...
- No, you don't know shit!
You don't know shit!
You don't know shit!
Phil, okay? You never know.
Jess, please?
Please just listen to me.
I'm trying to tell you, okay?
I only kissed her because...
I don't give a fuck
why you kissed her, Phil!
And honestly, I don't
really think you know either!
Did it ever occur to you
this is something that might
- our relationship?
- [Phil] Please...
Did that ever occur
to you, Phil?
Please. I know
that I made a mistake.
I know I fucked up.
[stutters] Can...
But it is exactly
what I needed
in order to let me know
that what I have with you is...
You have eviscerated everything
you had with me.
You're not even
answering my question.
Wait, wait, please.
Please, Jess.
Jess, hear me out.
Please hear me out. Okay?
After I did it...
[Jess] What about
while you did it?
Did you think about me
at all then?
Did it ever occur to you
that this is something
that might have
some consequences?
Did it ever occur to you that...
it was something that...
might break my heart?
Yeah, I didn't think so.
I'm gonna come back
for the rest of my shit
when I'm feeling
a little less homicidal.
[camera zoom whirrs]
[kettle whistles]
What? No! No, no, no, no, no.
I never said two weeks.
No, I never said two weeks,
because that would
be unrealistic.
Believe me, Luis,
I'm not exactly sitting here
with my thumb up my ass, okay?
I have a very important
personal matter to take care of.
I'm allowed to have
a personal life, right?
- [landline ringing]
- Of course I do. I...
Look, it's my reputation.
All right?
Believe me, I will call
whoever you need me to call
and make whatever statement
you need me to make
and cover whatever asses
you need me to cover,
while I'm at it.
But right now,
I just need a day.
- [ringing continues]
- Yeah, trust me.
- It's fine. Okay?
- [phone beeps]
we're fine. Everything is fine.
All right? I'll call you.
[voicemail message]
- Yeah. Bye.
- [phone beeps]
Greg Starr calling from Variety
to congratulate you
on your big win
and to ask a few questions
about how you got it.
- [phone beeps]
- Thanks.
[woman] I'm wondering
if you'd like to comment
on recent allegations
regarding the death
of Malcolm Barnes.
- [phone beeps]
- This is Colin Jaffe
calling from
- [phone beeps]
- [woman 2] Hoping to get a quote
from you about your complicity
in Malcolm's...
[phone beeps]
Amber Gray from the Star
calling about the...
- [phone beeps]
- [woman 3] Please give me
a call back
so we can schedule...
- [phone beeps]
- Jason here.
- I'd like to speak with...
- [phone beeps]
Get a line or two
about the recent controversy...
[landline ringing]
[phone beeps]
Hello, Phil Waterhouse,
this is Loretta Scott
calling from the offices
of Oprah Winfrey.
Ms. Winfrey is very interested
in the story
of your rise to fame.
[Phil] Hello? Hello?
[woman laughs]
[stammers] Hello?
[woman] Figures.
Only way a black woman
can get any kind of attention
these days is to be Oprah.
I've trying so hard
to get your attention
ever since you won
that damn award, Philip.
It's not been easy,
let me tell you.
I was hoping that if I got you
thinking about me, you know,
you'd take some initiative
and come seek me out.
I mean, I talked
to any reporter who'll listen.
Who is this?
[woman] Oh, Philip.
You don't remember my voice?
I know
it's been a long time since...
Well, no, not really. I've been
seeing plenty of you lately.
It's me...
Lesley Barnes.
I'm sure you remember me,
you murdered my son.
- What? No! No, no, no. No.
- [Lesley] Oh now,
listen to you. No need
to jump on the defense, Phil.
I meant that in the most
harmless way possible.
You're a harmless man,
after all,
just a harmless lil' filmmaker.
Are you...
Are you the one
that's been filming me?
[Lesley] Oh, yeah.
Yeah, I've been watching you
a good long while.
But then you went and robbed me
of my windows, so...
What do you want from me?
[Lesley] I want you
to answer the door, Phil.
- [doorbell]
- [banging at door]
- [banging at door]
- [doorbell]
[knocking at door]
- [doorbell]
- [banging at door]
- [banging at door]
- [doorbell]
Oh, come on, now!
You don't think
I would go to all this trouble
just to shoot you, now do you?
How would that look?
What kind of fucked up headline
would that make?
"Woman devastated
by gang-related death of son
shoots man
who caught it on film."
Phil, you not gonna
invite me in?
Ooh! In the future,
you might wanna shower
for company.
Wow... [laughing]
This is nice. This is nice.
Yes... this is nice.
Did you buy it before or after?
Was it worth it?
Why don't you have a seat,
Mrs. Barnes.
I never married.
But you knew that already.
Why don't you have a seat?
Why don't you answer
my question?
Because I don't think
it's a fair question.
Okay. Then what kind of question
would you like to answer?
How about...
how about I ask you?
How about you kiss my ass?
I don't owe you answers.
owe me.
All due respect, Ms. Barnes,
I am very, very sorry
about Malcolm...
- It's always tragic when...
- No, you not sorry.
- ...a young person loses...
- You not sorry.
If you was sorry,
it wouldn't've taken you two years and
me coming to your door for you to say it.
- You ain't one bit of sorry!
- I don't think you can tell me how I feel!
You must really think
I'm horrible person.
You must think
you're a horrible person.
Then why else
would you let me in?
I pretty much ruined your life.
I thought I could try reason
with you face to face.
- [Lesley] Reason with me.
- But I'm starting to think
- that was a bad idea.
- Because I'm so unreasonable.
- You're clearly still emotional.
- Us people are so impossible
to reason with.
Stop putting words in my mouth!
[Lesley softly]
And I'm the emotional one.
Can I please...
ask you a question?
You gonna stand there
watching over me like that
while you ask it?
Why are...
What is it exactly...
that you think I did wrong?
You kidding, right?
No! No, I...
I wanna know.
What did I do, really?
[quietly] Wow!
I had to identify
my son's body...
with the palms of his hands.
His face...
was something else.
Lumps everywhere.
Was like mountains
coming out of his skin.
Deepest shades of...
purple, red, and blue.
You can imagine.
Even some green.
Colors that got no business
being on a human face.
His eyes were swole shut.
It was like somebody
just stitched him up.
His upper lip
was busted dead in half.
His right ear
was crusted with blood
from where one of them bastards
tried to kick his brains
right outta there.
Tried to kick his brains
right outta his head.
Stomped him into a bloody,
unrecognizable pulp.
And you!
[whispers] You watched it...
You filmed the whole thing.
And you're sitting here
asking me what you did wrong.
- I called 911.
- Oh, when?
When did you call 911, Phil?
Did you call them before
or after they tried to kick
my baby's teeth outta his head?
Did you call them before
or after they busted
his skull wide open?
When did you call them?
Tell me about it.
I wanna know about that day.
Tell me everything.
I wanna know what happened.
You owe me that,
- at least!
- Ms. Barnes...
[Lesley] Call me Lesley.
We becoming friends, ain't we?
[Phil] Lesley... [stammers]
- I don't really wanna...
- Was he conscious...
when you went over there?
You saw the film?
Yeah, I saw it.
Took me almost a year
to see it, but...
Yeah, I saw it.
Was he conscious?
- [coughing]
- [Phil whispering] It's okay.
- It's okay. It's okay.
- [spluttering]
Fuck. Fuck it. Fuck it.
- [Malcolm coughing]
- It's okay, man. It's gonna be...
It's okay.
[Phil] Yeah, he was.
Could he...
Did he say anything?
I don't think...
[Lesley] Did he say anything?
[Phil] Yes.
- What did he say?
- [Phil] I couldn't...
He was incoherent.
I couldn't make it out.
Stop lying,
stop lying, stop lying.
Start from the beginning.
Tell me what happened.
[Phil] No.
Excuse me?
What is this gonna solve?
I'm sure you're aware...
It isn't gonna bring
Malcolm back.
This isn't healthy,
what we're doing.
What exactly is it
you think we're doing?
[Phil] We're...
we're trying to make sense
out of something senseless.
We're trying to reconcile
the irreconcilable.
See, that's interesting.
You being kinda vague,
ain't you?
White folks love to be vague.
All abstract and shit.
See, what I'm trying
to understand,
I'm trying to understand
how you stood by
and watched my son get murdered.
And then,
you got patted on the back,
and you got rewarded for it,
and then got told
what a brave man you are
after you did it.
Please? Please, Phil, tell me,
tell me that you are
as confused as I am.
If you can say that,
if you can admit just that,
I might leave you alone.
[quietly] I am.
- [Lesley] What did you say?
- [louder] I am!
[Phil] Confused. I am.
I don't know how
things got to happen the way...
things happened.
Now we getting somewhere.
Now we getting somewhere.
I've been replaying it all.
[Lesley] Hm-mmm.
In my head, on the screen...
trying to figure it out.
Trying to see
if there was anything
that I could've done
And you know what?
I don't think there's anything
that I could've done
- [quietly] What? What?
- [Phil] Ms. Barnes, Lesley, I...
Your son was going to do
what he did
whether I was there or not.
He was gonna try
to join that gang.
And the consequences
would've been just as disastrous
whether I was there or not!
I was doing my job.
I was there to record his life
as he was living it.
And I just happened to catch
the end of it.
- No! No! No! No! No! No! No! No!
- [Phil] Yes!
- He made his own decision!
- [Lesley] You are not... No!
No, no, no! You are not gonna
weasel your way outta this!
- I'm not! I'm not!
- Not gonna weasel outta this.
Not today. Not today.
Not while I'm standing here
in your face!
You being here
does not make me responsible
any more than my being there
made me responsible!
No, you can't do this.
You cannot do this!
- You can't deny this.
- I'm not! I'm not!
What about the talk you had?
What about the talk you had?
The one where you told him
that he couldn't make movies.
He told me all about it.
About how you put a camera
in his hand,
told him he was a piece of art.
You blew him up like a balloon
just to stick a pin in it.
You ever think about that, Phil?
Like why
you never wanted that footage
to see the light of day.
- Why you kept it at all.
- I...
I didn't hide it.
I kept it out of the film
precisely because
there are people
who don't understand the nature
of documentary filmmaking.
Dumb, regular folks like me.
Who might interpret it
in a way that...
In a way that would make you
look like the monster
you really are.
- Let me ask you a question.
- [Lesley] Here we go.
If you were a doctor
and you had a patient
who needed surgery
in order to live,
but whose religion, let's say,
specifically forbade you
from operating on him,
does it make you a murderer
if you don't operate?
Does it make you responsible
for someone's death
if your very profession
Doctors are supposed
to save lives.
Yes, they're also required
to respect
their patient's wishes.
So if there are conditions
under which the patient
does not want his life
to be saved...
Malcolm wanted
his life to be saved.
But I'm not a doctor!
I'm not a cop, I'm not God!
I am a documentarian,
and my profession dictates...
[yells] You're a person,
ain't you?
You was born human!
He came to you, human to human,
looking for a way out.
Trying to find a reason
not to go through with it,
and you turned him away.
You held him down in his place,
what you thought was his place,
- for your convenience.
- I did not hold him down.
- For your benefit.
- I did not...
- And, oh boy! Oh boy...
- [Phil] No. He...
- ...did you benefit.
- He was already down!
You can't blame me for that!
You can't blame me
for his reality!
His reality?
He was trying
to change his reality.
You coulda helped him,
but you didn't!
[yelling] Well, where were you?
Huh? Where were you?
You were his mother.
Wasn't it your job to make sure
that he had every opportunity
to make something of himself?
Wasn't it your job
to keep him out of trouble?
Don't come at me with this
bad parenting bullshit!
[Phil] Answer the question!
- Answer the question!
- I took care of my boy
- the best I could!
- Wasn't that your job?
I took care of my son
the best way I knew how!
The only mention
he ever made of you
was to say you weren't around.
I'll show you.
I'll show you
exactly where he says it.
I'd like to see
what kind of parent you'd be
working two jobs with no help.
No support from nobody.
- Right here. Right here!
- [Phil on video] joining
- the ranks of SCK?
- Watch!
I just like the fact of knowing
there's people out there
who got your back
no matter what.
[Phil on video]
What about your family,
don't they have your back?
[Malcolm scoffs]
Yeah, they got my back aight.
- Way back.
- [Phil] Way back.
[Phil on video]
What do you mean?
[Malcolm] Man, you know
what the hell I mean.
You know. My mom's at work
all the time.
I ain't got
no brothers or sisters.
Do you see that?
[Malcolm] Man, you know
what the hell I mean.
You know. My mom's at work
all the time.
I ain't got no brothers
and sisters.
[Phil on video] And your father?
[Malcolm scoffs]
He ain't nothing.
He ain't nobody.
He don't even live with us.
You can't blame me.
You can't blame me!
You only have yourself to blame!
Maybe I you gave him
a life worth living,
he wouldn't have made
such fucked up choices!
You ever think about that?
Ms. Barnes, wait.
Wait. Lesley, Lesley, Lesley.
Don't touch me.
Look, I'm... [stutters]
I shouldn't have
said that, okay?
That was a horrible thing
of me to say.
I don't want you
to leave upset, okay?
That's the last thing
that I want. Honestly.
Can you please
just come back in,
and we can sit down?
We can try to start over.
Can we do that? Please?
I need to tell you something.
[Phil] Okay.
Yeah, okay. You can tell me
anything you want.
Can you please
just walk back over...
[barely audible]
I said don't touch me.
All right. Sorry.
Not yet, you ain't.
You about to get
a whole lot sorrier.
I don't understand.
It's a question.
I was surprised
you ain't ask me yet.
It's a obvious question.
Ain't you been wondering why
I was taping you?
Not really. I think
it's an obvious statement.
Turning the tables,
dose of my own medicine.
That kind of thing.
[Lesley] Aight.
Put it like this.
Why'd you choose Malcolm?
I chose Malcolm because...
I thought he would make
an interesting subject.
But why?
Because he led a life
that was fairly...
atypical for someone his age.
A fucked-up life,
according to you.
- I didn't mean that.
- A life not worth living.
The choices he made
was fucked up.
I already apologized for that.
Now, answer the question.
he led a life that was...
Because you knew some fucked up
shit was about to go down,
that's why
you wanted to film him,
and that's why I wanna film you.
Eventful, interesting,
all that is just bullshit
for fucked up.
If it ain't fucked up,
it ain't interesting, right?
Isn't that the rule
you people go by?
The nature
of documentary filmmaking?
I don't see nobody making
no happy-ass movies
about people living
happy-ass lives, do you?
Shit, the best movies I ever saw
was about somebody
getting fucked up.
Well, I'd say
you fucked me up pretty bad...
Or shot.
That's what
I'm trying to tell you.
What are you trying to tell me?
I'm trying to tell you
that unless them new shades
you got is bulletproof,
your life is about to get
a whole lot more interesting
the minute I walk up outta here.
Did you think I was the only one
you pissed off
with that little movie you made?
The little movie that led
to the arrest and conviction
of three members of that gang?
Ah, oops, brotherhood.
Stop. You're not...
You're making this up.
You wish I was making it up.
I lost a son,
they lost they brothers,
we came together
out of our anger.
Out of our mutual hatred
for you.
And now
they just outside waiting.
Waiting for me to come out there
and give them a sign.
I wouldn't do that,
if I was you.
You do that and I'm outta here.
I know the police will get here
faster than they got to Malcolm,
I guarantee
a bullet will get here
before they did.
[cell phone vibrating]
Isn't that convenient?
It's Luis.
You want me to tell him
you busy?
- Hello?
- [Luis indistinct]
- [Lesley] Mm-hmm. Yes, it is.
- [Luis] I'm calling...
No, he's not.
This is his assistant, Peaches.
- [Luis indistinct]
- Uh-huh.
Hold on, let me just get a pen.
He wants me to take a message.
- All right, all set.
- [Luis indistinct]
- [Lesley] Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
- [Luis indistinct]
- Oh, yeah.
- [Luis indistinct]
Those reporters
can be downright dirty.
- Just vicious. Uh-huh.
- [Luis indistinct]
- [Luis indistinct]
- [Lesley] Mm-hmm. All right.
Well, you take care too.
- [Luis indistinct]
- Got it. Okay.
- [Luis] Bye-bye.
- Bye-bye.
[unsettling music]
They cancelling
your show tomorrow.
Seems like nobody
wants to back a murderer.
I can see you upset.
But look at it like this,
five minutes ago this was
the biggest problem you had.
I don't believe you.
No! No! Wait!
Wait, wait, wait, wait. Wait!
I think two years
is long enough to wait.
[Phil] Please!
Don't go! Don't go!
Please. Oh God!
[breathes heavily]
You really...
You're gonna kill me?
You came here...
You came here to kill me. Okay.
There's nothing... What do you...
What d'you want me to tell you?
[stammers] You want me to tell
you that... about that day? Okay.
I will tell you about that day.
Can I tell you about that day?
You so pathetic.
Now it matters to you, right?
You can't hold it against me
for valuing my life.
But I can hold it against you
that you didn't value Malcolm's.
That's why we doing this, Phil.
You made some
fucked up choices too, Phil!
And you know what?
You know what,
you know what, you know what?
Since we raising
the stakes and all,
I think Imma need
a little bit more from you.
Yeah! Uh-huh.
I think you need to tell me
about your life.
Since you talking about...
how fucked up my life is.
You sit up here judging me.
I think it's only fair
that I know about yours.
Tell me about your childhood.
Okay. Great.
Can you please
just come sit down?
Can you come sit down?
I'll sit down
when I'm good and ready,
and right now
I ain't good or ready.
Where were you born?
- Lesley...
- [Lesley] Ms. Barnes.
You done fucked up
your friend status.
Ms. Barnes, I don't know how...
Where were you born?
[Phil] Milwaukee.
[Lesley] When?
When what?
When were you born, asshole?
- When was your birthday?
- June 10, 1978.
We the same age?
I don't know.
I feel so much older than you.
You don't look it.
You so pathetic.
What your parents do?
I talk and you call
them off, right?
Yes, Phil.
Who do I look like? You?
Now, answer the question.
My parents were professors.
Did they make a lot of money?
They're professors.
[Lesley] Don't give me a reason.
You don't go into academia
for the money.
- I never thought about it.
- [sighs]
Then the answer is yes.
If you don't have
to think about money,
then you got a lot of it.
Then, yes.
Yes, they made a lot of money.
- Enough, anyway.
- [Lesley] Enough.
Did they tuck you in,
read you stories,
bake you cookies,
you know, that type of shit?
[Phil] Yeah.
Did y'all go on trips together?
Yeah. A couple times a year
went away.
Only vacation me
and Malcolm went on was...
was to Florida.
My daddy's funeral.
I guess
that's not a vacation, huh?
He died at work.
Loading a truck
full of canned beans.
Guess he wanted
a vacation too, huh?
Malcolm was eight
and he didn't wanna go.
And the only way
I could convince him
was by telling him
that Disney World was...
was close by. It was
much better than Disneyland.
Another place
he never got to go to.
Anyway, I told him that
we might be able to swing by
before we went back home.
And he was so good
the whole time.
Never complained once.
Even when he figured out
that we weren't gonna make it
to Disney World.
Never even brought it up.
He was so quiet
on the plane ride back home.
[Lesley clears throat]
What kind of places
did y'all go to?
Where did we go.
We went to Aruba...
Boston, Cancun.
Italy and Vancouver.
Ah, Rome.
first time we came to New York,
we actually got mugged.
Was he black?
Was he black?
I don't remember...
It's not a trick question, Phil.
Yeah, yeah.
Figures, don't it?
Is that a trick question?
[Lesley laughs]
So, what happened?
I told you. We were mugged.
What happened? Like,
was it gunpoint, knifepoint?
- What happened?
- [Phil] Gunpoint.
[Lesley] How old were you?
Eight. [sighs]
You must've been scared.
Not really, actually.
It felt like I was...
like I was watching a movie.
Is that why
you got into making them?
You sound like my mom.
Psychoanalyzing me.
[Lesley] Huh!
Ain't that some shit.
I coulda been a professor.
Coulda been a professor...
Malcolm coulda been a filmmaker.
Safe behind a camera somewhere.
I'm ready for you to tell me
about that day now.
[Phil sighs heavily]
[sighs] Okay.
All right.
[sniffs] All right.
Well, here we are.
It's just you and me today.
Oh shit!
Here's our boy now.
He was walking home
from school...
He went to school?
[Phil] Yeah. Yeah,
he was going back.
[sighs] Okay.
Ms. Barnes, please, just...
Go on.
Go on.
[sighs heavily] I was...
You know, I tell you
one good thing about the hood,
strong fucking Bodega coffee.
None of that fancy bullshit.
- [indistinct chatter]
- [Phil] All right!
[sighs happily]
Now, I'm ready for anything.
Oh. Oh man.
I almost missed it.
I was putting sugar
in my coffee, and...
one minute he was walking
down the street, and...
I turned away
for, like, five seconds.
It literally could not have been
longer than that, and...
Go on. Go on.
[Phil] At first...
It looked like
he was gonna be fine.
I thought he was gonna be fine.
All right.
This looks like
the moment of truth right here.
[sighs] You stayed in the car?
[Phil] I did.
'Cause I thought he'd be fine.
I thought they were gonna
hold back, you know.
I thought it was
just another routine thing,
another jump in for them,
you know?
And that they would know
where to draw the line, but...
So, I kept... I kept rolling...
[sniffs] ...from across the way.
[Lesley sighs]
Until I...
until I realized...
[Phil] Oh man! Wait, that...
That's not...
What the fuck!
- [beeping]
- [Phil] What the fuck!
Shit! They're gonna kill him!
They're gonna kill him!
[Malcolm cries out]
[Phil] Hey!
- [gangsters grunting]
- [Phil yells] Hey! Hey!
- Hey!
- [gangster] Shit!
Go, go, go, go, go!
[Malcolm coughing]
[Phil] Hello? Yeah. Hi.
Uh, 128 [indistinct].
Get an ambulance here right now
Right now, please!
Hey. Malcolm, Malcolm?
It's okay. It's okay.
- [Malcolm sputtering]
- [Phil] You're gonna be okay.
You trying to tell me
you didn't know?
You didn't tell them
he was quitting the gang?
Tell who what?
You didn't know?
Know what?
They weren't jumping him in,
they were taking him out
because he was
quitting the gang.
Wait, what?
I thought you told them.
You thought I...
You thought
I ratted him out to SCK?
That's what...
That's why
you're doing all this isn't?
Why would I do that?
Why would I do that?
Why did you think
I would do that?
I didn't know. I assumed.
That's a fuck of a thing
to assume, Lesley!
Watch your tone with me, please.
You wrecked my life!
You've wrecked my life!
You violated my privacy!
You destroyed my relationship!
You've robbed me
of my fucking livelihood!
You came swaggering in here
all self-righteous!
Telling me I'm monster,
trying to tear me down,
and you don't even have
the right information!
You don't even have
your fucking facts straight!
- I said watch your tone.
- [Phil] Or what?
Or what! You gonna...
Gonna walk outta here and have
those terrorists take me out?
You being a little dramatic,
ain't you?
No, that's what they are!
That's what they are!
They're domestic terrorists!
Thinking of any reason they can
to take a life!
Scaring the shit
outta decent people
just because they can, and you!
You're defending them!
I'm not defending them,
I'm using them.
Oh! Then I guess
that just makes you
the head terrorist bitch
in charge, don't it?
Finish telling me.
Tell me!
Fine. Fine.
Anybody you wanna call
before I go?
Anybody you wanna make
final amends to?
Nothing you feel like
you need to apologize for?
You ain't sorry for nothing?
I'm sorry
you're such a crazy bitch.
[laughs] How am I a bitch?
How am I a bitch when I'm
trying to give you a gift?
Do you know how many people die
without telling
the people in their lives
what they shoulda told them?
Without getting to do half
the things they shoulda done?
Without getting nothing out
of their lives?
Oh. You mean like Malcolm?
- Fuck you!
- Fuck me?
Fuck you! D'you think I'm just
gonna let you walk out the door?
[Lesley cries out]
Get the fuck off me!
- [ripping]
- [Phil] Fuck!
Shit! Shit! Get...
[both grunting]
[Lesley cries out]
[both grunting]
[grunting continues]
[Lesley groans in pain]
- [Lesley gasping]
- [Phil grunting]
[Phil pants, grunts]
[Lesley gasping for air]
- [cries out]
- [panting]
[Phil panting]
[Lesley gasps]
Look at you.
Look at you.
If you weren't
a murderer before,
you sure are now.
All I wanted...
was to know
what my son's life was like.
His last day on earth.
And you happy to go to
your grave with that, ain't you?
[both panting]
[Lesley] And for what?
With the little bit of integrity
I have left.
You need a microscope
to find the integrity
you got left.
I hate you.
I hate your fucking guts.
So, what is it gonna take
for you to tell me
what I need to know?
Whatever it takes
for you to forgive me.
You want forgiveness?
I do.
You sure got a funny fucking way
of showing it.
What exactly is it
you want my forgiveness for?
you acting like I'm the one
that's doing you so wrong.
You acting like
you the victim up in here.
You just tried to choke me out.
That was self-defense.
You're trying to...
You wanna kill me.
And you ain't wanna die?
- [Phil] Of course not.
- Know who else didn't wanna die?
You know you else
didn't wanna die?
My son!
He came to you
trying to save his life
in every way he knew how.
And you condemned him
to death, anyway.
You know what?
He didn't even get mad.
He didn't get mad.
He trusted you.
He died trusting you!
His death
made an artist out of you.
You profited from it,
you got rewarded from it,
and then you treated us
like we was disposable.
[sobs] Like we was
some broke furniture
that you could just
put out on a curb!
I'm sorry.
- I'm so sorry.
- [sighs]
You should just leave. [snivels]
After everything I've done,
you should...
You're right. [bitter laugh]
You're so fucking right.
I fed him to the fucking wolves.
And now the wolves
are standing at my door.
I mean...
It's total karma.
I deserve it.
I deserve to die.
You know
what would make this perfect?
Is if you filmed it.
I mean, that's...
I'll, I'll...
I'll put up the shades
and everything,
I'll stand right there
so you can get a good shot.
So they can get a good shot.
Look at me.
Listen to me. [laughs]
I'm directing my own...
[crying] I deserve it.
There's nobody out there, Phil.
[crying] It's what I deserve.
There's nobody out there.
I made it up.
I had to get you.
I had to get you to talk
about him, so I lied.
I lied.
I don't even care anymore.
I don't even care.
You don't deserve to die.
[Phil] I don't care.
You deserve to live.
Live with it...
like I live with it.
You still see me as art?
- What?
- [Phil] That's what he said.
[Phil] Before he died.
[Phil] Those were his
last words.
"You still see me as art?"
[Phil crying]
What did you say?
- [sirens blaring]
- [Malcolm spluttering]
[Malcolm coughing]
All I could do
was hold on to his hand.
All I did was hold his hand.
Is that enough?
[sobs] Oh, God. I said nothing.
[sobbing continues]