Deep Cut

Julian Winter

508-904-8319

julian@julianwinter.com

Note: Due to the nature of a web page some of the standard screenplay formatting is lost. Updated 01/31/09


FADE IN:

To a brilliant diamond inches away, beautiful, exquisite. Through a facet, to the mystery therein, its sparkling enigma beckons...

INT. AIRLINE CARGO HOLD - DAY

A PRIVATE SECURITY TEAM places velvet boxes into a safe. GIL FORD, 54, FBI, observes passively off to the side.

A MAINTENANCE MAN, 60's, bearded, scruffy, walks in oblivious to the security situation. He eyes an overhead pipe.

SECURITY CHIEF
Whoa. This area is secure. You can't enter.

MAINTENANCE MAN
That there toilet's on the fritz. 'Til
I fix it the plane sits here. No never
mind to me, I'm paid hourly. .

The chief eyes him, glances to Gil who shrugs, then directs two staff to frisk him and his beat-up toolbox.

MAINTENANCE MAN
What you shippin', Queen of Sheba's jewels?

SECURITY CHIEF
Just fix the toilet.

The maintenance man ascends his step stool to loosen a bolt, releasing a stench, driving the others out onto the tarmac.

LATER, AT THE CARGO HOLD DOOR

The maintenance man appears, all smiles.

MAINTENANCE MAN
Fixed.

The chief motions his men to frisk the man. The chief enters the hold to close the safe, then secure the cargo door.

Gil watches the man amble away, just the hint of a limp.

INT. ONBOARD THE AIRBORNE PLANE, COACH CLASS - DAY

Gil reads a Bible.

IN THE FIRST CLASS CABIN

A GENTLEMAN, 50's, glasses, moustache, looks like he answers to no one, reads a thick book. Thief plays on the movie screen.

LILLIAN, late 40's, attractive, sips wine, seated beside him.

LILLIAN
(to no one in particular)
Always liked James Caan.

The man glances to the screen then back to his book.

LILLIAN
Ah, my favorite scene.

The man looks to the screen, James Caan, lighting a cigarette from the oxy-lance after busting the safe.

He glances to Lillian and they hold gaze a moment.

GENTLEMAN
An oxy-lance, capable of piercing two
hundred forty centimeters of steel.

LILLIAN
What's that in inches?

GENTLEMAN
A lot.

She notes his book, Greek history.

LILLIAN
Serious material.

GENTLEMAN
The Trojan Horse was ingenious. A
beautiful example of misdirection.

LILLIAN
All's fair in love and war.

He eyes her now more attentive, taking in her features.


GENTLEMAN
Shakespeare?

LILLIAN
Actually John Lyly in 'Euphues'. His
work on the use of wit influenced
Shakespeare and became known as
euphemisms.

He closes his book.

GENTLEMAN
So if I asked to buy you a drink it'd
be a polite, indirect way to indicate
I'm attracted to you.

Lillian smiles, Cheshire cat-like.

LILLIAN
If you were to ask, yes.

GENTLEMAN
I just did.

Lillian realizes his deft use of euphemism.

LILLIAN
Touché.
(noting first class)
We're in- ... of course.

The ATTENDANT brings each a red wine. Lillian sniffs hers.

GENTLEMAN
Lovely nose.

Lillian eyes him.

GENTLEMAN
The wine.

LILLIAN
Right. How do you know of an oxy-lance?

GENTLEMAN
Thief is one of my favorites, also.
How do you know of John Lyly?

LILLIAN
Literature background. I'm a
language translator.

GENTLEMAN
Which is your favorite tongue?

She catches an errant wine drop on her glass with her tongue.

LILLIAN
French, of course.


LATER

The gentleman enters coach. Passing Gil, he spies a bookmark in the aisle and hands it to Gil, noting his passage, Matthew 7 Verse 6

GENTLEMAN
Neither cast pearls before swine.

Gil nods thanks, then watches him continue toward the rear.

INSIDE THE TOILET

The gentleman urinates into the toilet.

GENTLEMAN
Lest they trample them under their feet.

He zips his pants, then smoothes his moustache in the mirror.

GENTLEMAN
And turn again and rend you.

INT. AIRPLANE CARGO HOLD - DAY

Gil watches the SECURITY TEAM open the safe. They stack several of the velvet boxes on top of each other.

A MAN opens the last one. It's EMPTY. In panic he opens the others, all equally empty. The man clutches his head.

MAN
Search the area.

Gil shakes his head and walks away in the drizzle.

INT. GIL'S HOME, HIS STUDY - NIGHT

Wistful, Gil opens a file and spreads newspaper clippings of heist headlines and bits of random evidence on his desk.

On TV, a magician performs the lady in the box sword trick.

TOM, 30, eyes his father's melancholy. Rain taps overhead.

TOM
Dad, you shouldn't be alone. We want
you over for dinner tomorrow.

Gil nods, holding a picture of himself and ELIZABETH.

TOM
I miss Mom, too.

GIL
I'm proud of you, Tom. I'd never
trade my years with the FBI, but
there's a cache to the Secret Service.

TOM

(noting the file contents)
You're always working on this.

GIL
Just an old side project.

RUTH, 29, end of seven months pregnant enters, eyeing Tom.

RUTH
Did you tell him?

TOM
We settled on a name, going to name
him after his grandfather, Gilbert.

Gil looks up, he should be happy, but his smile doesn't come.

GIL
Sure you want to saddle him with that?
I like Tom Junior.

RUTH
We already decided.
(she eyes Tom again)

TOM
I'm working a dinner for the President.
I got Ruth in. Why don't you come? I'm
sure with your pull you could get in.

Gil absent-mindedly eyes the magician on TV, then a clipping.

GIL
It's always been about misdirection.

TOM
What?

He notes the rain beading into drops on the skylight

GIL
Nothing. I need to step out.

TOM
The Presidential dinner?

GIL
Don't think I'll make it.

INT. AIRPLANE CARGO HOLD - NIGHT

JACK HORN, 52, athletic, extracts diamonds from the overhead pipe. Jack was our maintenance man and man in first class.

From the rain, Gil enters, gun drawn, peerinng into the darkness. He locates Jack.

GIL
Neither cast pearls before swine,
but hide your diamonds in sewage.

Unruffled, Jack notes Gil's entrance.

JACK
Took long enough.

Jack hands him the pipe wrench, as he extracts another bag.

JACK
Thought you were slowing down.

GIL
You went to the well too many times.
Paris, nine years ago. You hid diamonds
in the sewer.

Jack pulls out another bag and tosses it to Gil.

JACK
Actually I was counting on your
attention to detail. I'm retiring.

Gun pointing, Gil motions for Jack to raise his hands.

GIL
Permanently, finally.

JACK
Not that way.

GIL
Your only future is federal prison.

Jack acknowledges the comment.

JACK
I owe you more respect than a bullet.

GIL
Respect. You talk about respect?

She's been dead five years, this week.
She never got over it.

JACK
My condolences.

GIL
The boy is thirty.

JACK
Boy?

GIL
Yeah, boy.

Jack pauses to assimilate the comment, eyes distant.

JACK
Hmm, thirty years. Seems like yesterday.
(eyes back in focus)
I don't take pleasure in this...

In a flash, too quick for Gil to react, Jack flicks his wrist. A dagger slides into his hand which he tosses into Gils chest, buried to the hilt. Gil slumps onto his back.

Jack walks over to push Gil's gun away. Gil gasps for air. Jack props Gil's head up.

He extracts the knife and cleans it on Gil's shirt. Jack inspects the knife for cleanliness.

JACK
I can't retire looking over my
shoulder. You're too tenacious.

Gil coughs blood. Jack squats beside him, serious.

JACK
Ironic isn't it?

Gill looks at him. Jack packs some of the diamonds.

JACK
Life. You're lying here breathing your
last and I'm holding a bag of diamonds.

You wanted a family, I had no interest,
yet I'm the one that fathers a son.

Your wife dies, leaving you alone.
Alone is my preferred state.

You won't understand, but I respect
you. A man should have a mission in
life and you accepted yours.

Jack holds up one of the diamonds.

JACK
The value of a diamond is all in the
cut. Too shallow, it lacks brilliance.

Too deep, darkens the luster. All potential
lost, it's nothing more than a black diamond.

Elusive is the ideal cut, resulting in
unparalleled brilliance.

You're like that. An ideal cut. A man
of integrity, derived from within,
never without.

Jack packs the rest as Gil fights for his last few breaths.


JACK
Would you like me to stay with you?

GIL
I'd rather die alone.

Jack pauses at the door, buttoning his rain coat.

JACK
Yea, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death I will fear
no evil, for You are with me.

Gil's breathing comes in labored gulps.

JACK
Is your son a good man?

GIL
(coughing blood)
Go to hell.

INT. FANCY HOTEL BAR - (SAME)NIGHT

Jack, sans moustache, enters and notes a woman at the bar.

AT THE BAR

The waitress brings a wine to the woman, Lillian, then motions to where Jack stood, but he's gone. The waitress leaves. Jack sidles up beside Lillian. He lifts her wine to the light.

JACK
Great legs.

Lillian draws his eyes to her.

LILLIAN
And the body?

Jack catches his breath, then closes his eyes to take a sip.

JACK
Full. Rich, intense, fragrant.

Lillian slips the glass from his hand to take her own sip...

LILLIAN
A seductive aftertaste, no? A sense of-

JACK
Honeysuckle-

LILLIAN
-in heat.

INT. LILLIAN'S CONDO, THE KITCHEN - (SAME)NIGHT

Jack stands ready with tongs beside a pot of boiling water. Lillian deftly cuts salad. The way she wields a knife draws his attention. She motions to the pot.

LILLIAN
They're ready.

Jack extracts two lobsters. In short order she carves them up, then slams the knife into the butcher block.

JACK
You're good with a knife.

LILLIAN
Hours of practice.

JACK
In the kitchen?

LILLIAN
Where else?

She discards the livers.

JACK
I thought tomalley was a delicacy.

LILLIAN
When it's not poisonous. All of the
Maine lobster this year is contaminated
with the red tide. The meat is fine
but the liver concentrates the toxin.

Paralytic Shellfish Poison may not kill
you, but it would ruin your evening.

Loss of judgement, hallucinations,
paranoia, blurred vision.


INT. LILLIAN'S CONDO, DINING ROOM - NIGHT

Jack and Lillian dine on lobster. Candlelight draws romantic shadows on their faces. Rain peeks in outside the window.

Lillian cuts a piece of her tail and extends it to him.

LILLIAN
What do you do?

He leans in for the bite, she pulls it back subtly.

JACK
Retired.

She places the lobster on his lips.

LILLIAN
Before that.

JACK
I re-sold diamonds.

She cocks her head, thinking.

LILLIAN
How do you obtain them?

JACK
That's the tricky part. You need
to find low-cost sources, otherwise
the business model fails.

LILLIAN
Ever worry about getting robbed?

Jack eyes her a moment, looking for more in her eyes.

JACK
Curious, never considered it.
Guess it could happen.
(pause)
Tell me more about your work.

LILLIAN
I'm like you, but I resell language.

JACK
Do you meet interesting people?

She teases lobster from her fork, eyes intent upon him.

LILLIAN
Occasionally.

He smiles at her sly wit.

LATER

The candles burn low. The rain taps against the panes, seeking attention. The two linger over wine, exchanging glances.

She sips his wine, teasing with her eyes, leaving a last sip and lipstick on the rim.

He slips his glass from her hand to swirl the wine. He notes the proximity of her lipstick on the rim, inches from his lips.

She eyes him, waiting.

LILLIAN
Well?

He glances to her over the rim, questioning.

LILLIAN
Are you going to finish it?

Eyes to hers he finds her lipstick on the rim and drinks.

She smiles and leans in close, shadows soft upon her face.


LILLIAN
Tell me more about this oxy-lance.

JACK
It can pierce the most the resistant
barriers, to penetrate deep within.

Excellent way to crack a safe.

Lillian slides a bit closer.

LILLIAN
And steal the jewels therein?

JACK
Do they want to be stolen?

LILLIAN
Perhaps. Perhaps just coveted.

He notes her necklace, lovely against her skin, over her heart.

JACK
Every diamond has a story inside.
You just have to look
.

LILLIAN
What do you see in my diamond?

He holds the diamond in his palm, his hand brushing her collar bone. She catches her breath, only candlelight separating their lips.

It steps aside to let them kiss. He unclasps her necklace.

They lean back to eye each other, panting panthers.

JACK
(noting the necklace)
Any sentimental value?

LILLIAN
(eyes still unfocused)
What?

JACK
Any attachment?

LILLIAN
None.

He holds it before the candlelight, eyeing the brilliance.

JACK
I'm a bit old-fashioned.

Lillian cocks an eyebrow in question. He twirls the diamond

JACK
First date, a kiss is lucky.
Any more is...

LILLIAN
Are you turning me down?

He closes his fist around the necklace.

JACK
Could I work on this?

LILLIAN
I won't ask again.

JACK
You won't need to.

INT. LILLIAN'S CONDO, INSIDE HER FRONT DOOR - NIGHT

Lillian leans back against the door, her fingers tracing her neck where the necklace had been.

LILLIAN
You just have to look...

INT. GIL'S HOME, HIS STUDY - DAY

Sad, Tom sits at his father's desk reviewing the file. Ruth escorts in RAY, mid-50's, then exits.

RAY
Sorry about your father. Anything?

TOM
Nothing. No prints, no physical
evidence. Knives don't reveal much.

No idea why he was even there.

Ray walks around to pat his shoulders. Tom notes the file.

TOM
It's got to be related to this. He
was studying this and mumbled something
before he left.

RAY
You can pass on the President's dinner.

TOM
Ruth is looking forward to it. I'll
still work it.

Tom indicates the file. Ray bends closer.

TOM
What was he working on?

RAY
Chasing a ghost. Over the last
twenty-five years there's been
a variety of jewel heists, some
making news, others not.

He felt there was a common thread
The problem was no consistent MO.

Often the jewels were replaced with
fakes that weren't discovered for
months leaving the trail cold.

He works alone and when he uses
cohorts he typically kills them
after the job, eliminating leaks.

Never caught on tape, never left
prints. We wouldn't know if we were
standing beside him at the coffee shop.

TOM
Why dad's obsession?

RAY
Never did say.

Ray exits. Tom picks up one clipping from thirty years ago.

INSERT CLIPPING:

"Rape During Bank Heist

Elizabeth Ford, 22, was raped during a bank heist. The robber escaped leaving no clues."

Tom lowers the clipping to look to the picture of his parents.

INT. LILLIAN'S CONDO - DAY

Lillian sits at last night's dinner table, on the phone.

LILLIAN
Could you nose around on something?

VOICE (VO)
Sure.

She lifts Jack's goblet in the v between two fingers, eyeing several finger prints.

LILLIAN
I'll send you something with prints.

She hangs up and taps a fingernail to her lipstick on the rim.