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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Too soon?

***Trial in progress***
***Jury to disregard***
I know it's a wee bit early for this, but if the 'Bain Family Massacre' was going to be a TV movie here's how I would play out the scene.

Given that the defendant is the only one who really knows and he will not get in the witness box it allows us to follow a third, more interesting scenario. Since this is a TV movie it does not have to match precisely with all the parts of the evidence that is undisputed - there is some latitude:

David returns from newspaper round - slight chill in the air - he leaves his bike where he always does - a few papers left over from his round, he brings one with him. The birds are chirping, the shadows are long, the family's old rambling Victorian villa is decrepid. In the hills of Dunedin - the most gothic of New Zealand towns - stands this shambolic homestead. A hillbilly provincial eerieness. Under the house where his bike is stowed is decades of entropic social collapse. Edmonds baking tin circa 1958. Old newspapers. An old cot. A cupboard. David pauses. The cupboard is open -strange, he thinks, he looks inside - nothing.

We can just see a box of unopened ammunition in one corner.

On the back porch he pauses again as he catches a reflection of himself in the dusty, cobwebbed old mirror - an already prematurely balding 21 year old delivering newspapers. The newspaper shows an ad for Otago University, he glimpses it and looks down briefly as if in shame. He climbs the back stairs and goes into the kitchen to make a cuppa.

Puts the kettle on. Starts taking off his coat - to reveal the trademark Bain jersey - and walks down the hallway to go to his room.

Blood. Blood on the floor. We do not see his reaction. It's outside his brothers room. His brother his dead on the floor. The room is a mess, a lot of blood. We see the body and not the face of David as he goes to the next room and there's another body and more blood then we see him enter another room and from his view he looks around and sees a computer - it pans up - but out of focus.

Show the police massacre photos first, bits of the first trial, then maybe this scene - and the rest of the movie is explaining why David was the only one who deserved to stay - as the computer said. This will be the vast bulk of time in which the incest allegations are fleshed out and involve other members of the family (not just Robin and Laniet) running all the way up to when David leaves for his paper round that morning. Then maybe back to the courtroom scene that has yet to be played out in real life. And then this flashback from David perhaps at the point the jury retires:

He focuses on the computer - almost in the same style that the police video does. There is a blank screen - it's on, but nothing is written. We hear David's breathing speed up to near hyperventilation. Everyone is dead. He's apoplectic. He's physically affected now - his tall lanky figure crumpling over in a hunch as if in pain. A foetal position sort of response.

In the background the kettle is bubbling. Then a door opening noise. David spins around, startled.

His father Robin, scruffy, unshaven and unkempt, has entered the room and is standing with a rifle in his hands and stares at him coldly. Then David notices he has blood on him. All David can say is - "Stephen's dead". His face is screwed up - on the brink of crying.

Robin lifts the gun and points it at David - a look of infinite anguish in his eyes. Had he been waiting for him to return? Tears now come to David's eyes.

Flash forward to the jury deliberation. The competing theories don't make any sense. The jurors run through the evidence and the timeline but they can't make the jigsaw fit with all the missing parts. In the holding cell David begins to sob. He closes his eyes through the tears, it goes black. Flashback:

David blinks through the tears. "They had to go, David."

"Why?" David trembles. He casts his eyes through the open door and across the hall he can see Arawa's bloodied corpse and a hand outstretched in futile defence. "I had to." Robin is just standing there, leveling the firearm at David. Robin's voice "We all have to go."

David's voice breaking now: "Did you shoot Arawa?" Interrupting on the last syllable Robin's raspy tone is clear: "They're all dead."

The kettle boils away in the background getting louder.

David: "Are you going to kill me?"

Robin's eyes slowly scan the blood trails and over Arawa and Stephen. "We have to go."

Robin takes a step forward. His son, almost choking now says in an almost inaudible voice "I don't want to die, Dad." He has to speak up over the kettle. Robin looks at David, engaged now rather than detached: "This is the end." He opens the breech a shell casing is ejected and he reloads - slamming the bolt forward and takes another step forward so the barrel is almost at David's chest.

Now at this stage it could be teased a bit more with another flash forward to the jury deliberation trying to put it together - especially the incest scenario in which perhaps David makes a choice not to engage in it when the rest of the family has made it a habit. Then again this bit could be skipped to keep the tension all the way through to the denouement:

Robin has a look of grim determination in his eyes. David is a wreck at this point already. The barrel of the gun is at David's chest.

The kettle begins to break slowly into a whistle.

Robin: "I shouldn't be here." He lowers the weapon and thrusts it into David's flaccid arms that are barely able to keep it up. He's close enough to smell him now. Robin drops to his knees. David is confused but clumsily clasps it as his father points the barrel towards himself
[this would be more dramatic and graphic if it was to his head] David looks down at his crouched father - a pained expression and bloodshot eyes look back.

David: "Why?" The kettle errupts into a full sustained whistle but just before we hear:
Robin: "Laniet"

The piercing shriek of the kettle suddenly stops.

Robin, tears down his face too: "You're the only one who deserves to stay." Robin's hands squeeze around David's and around the gun. It slides over the trigger. David: "Don't."

Bang - blood. The body hits the floor with a thud. David: "Dad... Dad." David stands there with a gun having just helped shoot his father. He looks around. The telephone. A moment's pause. It dawns on him that he's the only one left alive in the household and he's holding the murder weapon. He hesitates and looks at the computer.

Then we have the verdict.


At 31/3/09 3:42 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was macabre Tim.

I have always thought that the only person David killed was his father.
As you have hypothesised, Robin snapped for any one of a number of reasons and killed his family, forgetting about David having a paper run. David comes home and discovers one/some of his family dead and then is confronted by Robin. David manages to wrestle the gun off his dad and then kills him.
THEN he freaks out, types the bullshit message on the computer (why not write a note on paper? what the hell can the 14yr old younger brother have done to deserve death?) and calls the police.
The police probably know it's the old man but also know David is acting dodgy and so, having completely fucked up all the evidence and realising that David might spill the beans about one of the very dicey local constabulary's sexual shenanigans with his sister, if he knows, they go after him with a vengence.
And pull off some Arthur Allen Thomas level skulduggery in the process.

What they didn't count on was the near manic persistence of Joe Karam.

At 31/3/09 4:06 pm, Blogger Will de Cleene said...

All that's missing is Brad Pitt playing David Bain.

At 31/3/09 5:24 pm, Blogger Tim Selwyn said...

I was thinking maybe Oliver Driver. And if he wants to masturbate on screen, like he does traditionally does in his motion picture roles, then so be it.

At 31/3/09 8:09 pm, Blogger Gooner said...

Tim, that's outstanding. Loved it.

There is a slight problem with Robin having done it and leaving a note for David and that is the gloves. I cannot figure out why Robin would wear gloves to hide his prints if he then wanted to tell the world (via said computer) it was him.

Nah, David is guilty as. He knew about the incest and thought: "buggar this getting out, it will bring utter shame and ridicule to me, more than I get already as a result of my retard family. Fuck them, They're all dead".

At 31/3/09 10:16 pm, Anonymous Grant said...

A 21 yr old doesn't kill five people because his sister might accuse his father of incest.

The man behind the curtain was Robin, but for some reason David saw him there or whatever and confronted him in a fatal fight.

OR, the fucking Police DS did it in an attempt to shut down the sex ring allegations etc ...and framed David with the lens and the gloves etc. The Police work on this is just too shoddy to be an accident..

At 31/3/09 11:49 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK, so your daughter is going to spill the beans, so you wait a couple of days and then again wait untill morning to kill your whole family while the only "good" child is out.

Disfunctional family - tick
Pyco-nutter dead - blank

Better still have the movie on DVD with three endings.

At 1/4/09 8:34 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Except that, according to his first statement (which has already been read out to the Court) DB told the Police he had only seen his mother and father dead. He was asked repeatedly whether he was sure about that, and was adamant that he hadn't been into any of the other rooms.

Personally, I think Robin Bain should have his own lawyer. It's very easy to malign someone when they're dead and have no one to fight in their corner.

However, imagine if Robin had managed to survive (let's say, for arguments sake, with permanent memory loss so he can't add anything material to the investigation). Now reconsider the evidence and ask yourself what the Crown's prospects would have been of charging him with the massacre of his family.

At 1/4/09 12:42 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Now reconsider the evidence and ask yourself what the Crown's prospects would have been of charging him with the massacre of his family."

Nil chance because there is no evidence at all that Robin Bain did it or could have done it. None.

At 1/4/09 2:40 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 12:42 That's because the police never looked into Robin Bain as a suspect. Remind anyone of the Kahui case?

At 1/4/09 3:52 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where they treated everyone in the family as a suspect?

Err no, not really retard.

At 1/4/09 4:13 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 12:42 According to the evidence heard before the High Court, RB was their prime suspect when they started the investigation. And it would have been much simpler for them if the evidence did point to him being the killer.

This is not a situation, like Kahui, or like Arthur Allan Thomas, where they were under pressure to get a result - the killer could only ever have been either David or Robin and pinning the murders on Robin would have solved the case.

That said, the retrial continues, so we can but sit back & watch it play itself out.


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