Broken Highway (1993) - full transcript

Characters adrift in an isolated landscape collide with the past and each other as they unravel the secrets of a dead man's dreams. A moody meditation on anti-heroism, the film pays tribute to the black and white style of cinema noir.

2 for Jack...

3 for Roger...

None for you...

and 1 for the dealer.

Why do the stakes
have to get this high?

What's that?!

That's not a proper bet!
What's that? That's garbage!

Still playing cards
the way I taught you.

What are you talkin' about...
old man?!

You're supposed to be dyin' or somethin'.

What a waste!

Heard they give you morphine.

Heard you's beginnin' to breathe funny.

Gimme aspirin...
They wore off.

Bets on the table...
Play the game.

Stuff you!
...and your lousy dollar.

I win.

Pair of twos.

A lousy pair of twos!

She smell sweet to you, Angel?

Hey!... tell me...

Is somethin' wrong
with you and Max?

You're like somethin' from...

...from the twilight!


What do you talk about?

Come on, Tatts!

We'll be in port!...
Settle up then.

You drinkin', Tatts?

What's it to you?!

You dancing?


I'll be puttin' on my cowboy-boots,
to save you a dance.

Come on, Tatts. Stop now!

You find a nice shirt to wear, Angel...

Coz we're gonna be dancin'!

You keep on lookin' out there.

What do you see?

Big black ocean.

Nothing out there can help ya.

But you'll learn...

When its loneliness
takes over ya heart.

How come you're so philosophical?

Oh, I can smell the land.

My home... as a dying man should.

You're not dyin'...

You've just had one too many binges.

You can't see
outta your own head.

You never seen glory.

How can you 'ope to see
a lost soul?

I seen glory.

Mist floating over the Sarkett Canal...
all the way from the Indian Ocean. (*)

Red moons on the water.

The ones that you got me
out of bed to see.

That was the act
of a desperate man.

I could smell my land.

The water...

Forest covered in...

...little yellow flowers.

Like fields of hope!(*)

And the sun!

Hot... stinking in the mangroves.

The light in the morning...
like paradise...

...Honeyfield, Queensland.

Why didn't you ever go back there?

I was angry.

And stupid.

I was your age
when I joined the ships...

"Hennessy"... out of San Francisco.

"Empire" out of Glasgow...

Well, just to say their names...

'd make you feel
you were halfway there...

halfway across the ocean...

Halfway to the next adventure...

But dying's the big one!

Max, this is bullshit!

Oh, I can hear 'em calling me!

"Max... Max..."

"Here, and some of 'em
have got soft skin..."

"Nice tits..."

I've seen all sorts in me time.

You can come with me!




The last voyage of the lost souls.

Here... for you.

Saw you buyin' 'em
for yourself.

I made a mistake.

I got 'em your size.

Remember that little girl
in Panama?

You nearly got yourself killed
over her.

It was her pimp I was after.

The way he was using her.

I'd seen it before.

There's a man in Honeyfield...

Whose soul's just as cold...

Like a hole in the ocean.

I called him the Dead Man.

I want you to take this... Honeyfield.

You can take it, Max.

I've seen death.


I'm not going to make it
off this ship.

You take this to Dead Man.

Tell him...

Tell him... it's what
he's been hungry for.

Tell him...'s the sweet dreams...
money can't buy.

There's something else...

There's a... hotel room, I....

I use to keep things important.

Didn't know you had a room.

I've had a lot of things.


... you...

...teach yourself different.


...the lost souls.

Remember me.

Get to the honey field.

Get to Dead Man.

Nice boots!

He give them to you, did he?

Well... they fit
you just fine.

So "Hi-ho Silver!"

Him being dead...

It makes me feel funny.

It makes me feel clean.

I got a clear conscience.

A bit more of this world
has made room for me.

Max O'Donnell's room.

The privacy of guests
is what they pay for.

Got a key.

Then you've got the room.

You want light?

It comes with the room, doesn't it?

That's the last bloody time I come home
and see this bloody mess round the house.

Well fix it yourself.
I'm not doing anymore...

- Want to come?
- No.

Where's Max?

This is his room...
What are you doin' here?

What are you doing here?

I always come up
when I see the light on.

Well, he's not here.

Max is an old friend of mine.

I sailed with Max for 6 years...

He never said anything
about a woman.

There's one on here for every time
he came home.

He put 'em on the chain
for safekeeping...

His safekeeping.

There's a lot more
than 6 years worth here.

Where is he?

I don't know.

He in trouble?

I don't know.

What are you doing with his stuff?

Put it back!

It belongs to Max!

He's dead.

Three days ago.

That was easy to say to me,
wasn't it, sweetheart?

What's the matter?

You want someone to do
some crying for you?

I'm taking some stuff
back to his home town.

Yeah? Well you better get a move on.
This is no home town.

What did he tell you about it?


Place by a river...
A lot of flowers.

Said it was paradise.

We're all tryin' to get there, honey!

You sure paradise is waiting for you?

Maybe this is as far as it goes.


What else is there...?

...for men like you...

Women like me!

He sent you here, didn't he?

What's keeping you, sweetheart?


Oh... time to go, is it?

But I know that look...

Like a child that's never been fed.

Guests is extra.

I'm not stayin'.

Not this time.

You want anything...

...You can get keep.
(You think'd keep) (*)

There's nothing special about the room...
you can have it.

It's the same as they all are.

It's only him I wanted to see.

Looking for a cowboy.



Grogan checked his chamber.

He looked at Mary...
checked it again...

One left.

He knew how to use it.

I think it suits me.

A shirt for faggots!

Max was straight.

Max is dead!

I want Angel!

Nah this's bullshit, Tatts!

Oh, very valiant of you, Roger!

We been ashore 4 hours already...
What've we done?!

You guys are so... dumb!

You got no dreams!

Well, let's get some beers...
and some Chinese.

And find some females.

Angel can wait.

Worry about me!

Are you still here, cowboy?!


This is some sort of bullshit
you're into, Tatts.

- You hurt 'er...
- You hit 'er!

I mean I think you broke her nose an'...
Jesus, Tatts!

Too late, if you're after work.
Season's nearly finished.

Give you a lift down the bay?

Yeah... that'd do.

Nowhere else to go.

Unless you can walk on water.

You look like you was expectin'
somethin' else.

Yeah... it's Queensland,

On all the posters, it's blue
water, palm trees...

Nice girl in a bikini
smilin' at me.

I been 'ere me 'ole life.

Nothin' but prawns and mud.

Into the cowboy stuff, are ya?

Ever been on a 'orse?

Oh, it's a great idea... all that
stuff about bein' young and tough...

Heart fulla hell!

Bang bang!

Whadda you do...
build fences?


Somethin' valuable in there?


Are you Kidd?

My name's Wilson.

You know Max O'Donnell?

This his place?

That's his place...

Where's he?


Sad place for an old cowboy
to be.

What are you doin' 'ere?

Just on holiday.

Just the fishin'?

That's right.

Supposed to be a big port built 'ere.

Didn't 'appen.

Moved up north instead.

Took most of the people with it.

You didn't go?


No one livin' here?


What 'appened to 'em?


That was the old man's.

He'd 've been Empire Champ,
'cept for the war.

Max had the gift...

But he wouldn't give it a go.

You respect men that'd 've
given it a go...

They got a bit o' fight in 'em!

Bit of a disappointment.

That's one way of hurtin' your
old man, innit?

Were you ever in the ring, Wilson?


But my father wasn't nearly champ.

What's over there?

Kidd's place.

He can't sleep at night.

Likes to walk up and down.

Like a dead man.

He own all the land?

Yeah. All of it.

And the house?

Nah... not the house.

He didn't want the house!

I can hear music from near the house.

You hear what you wanna hear.


That house is a...
a wasted grave...

Everything's dead...
Nothing's buried there.

10 years is enough.

We'll have to get some money together.

Bay's almost fished out.

Have to keep the boat payin', somehow.

Where ya goin' today?


The United States of America.

America's full of broken Cadillacs.

I've seen pictures of 'em...

Rubbin' their noses in the dirt.

Half the whole place is desert.

Some of the blokes are talkin' about...
changin' tackle...

Going up north.

Dredgin' for scallops.

We shoulda done that last year.

What I'm sayin' is, uh...

The way things are...

Men and women...

Man and a woman...
what it's all about.

Are we havin' another
"I'm-not-talkin'" day?

I can hear music from the house.

Just a drifter.

When did he get there?

Last night.

He makes you nervous.

You make me nervous.

He's nothing special.

Why are you still wearin'
that woman's things?

No one to miss 'em.

You shouldn't 've taken anythin'
from that house.

You want that sort of stuff...
I'll buy it.

I can buy 'em myself.

It belongs to a dead woman!

That whole house.

Geez... this one's got
you scared, Wilson.

Scared for you...

He'll hurt ya...
Just like the others...

They use ya like a whore.

I use them like a whore.

A new no-hoper comes along...

Meaner the better,
just so's you can...

So's what, Wilson?

It's not real what you're after,
what you're lookin' for.

I love ya!

And I love you.

You wanna tough guy's love,

I can be tough.

Then who's got you so scared
at the house?


Someone from Max!


I own all the land
beyond the fence.

What's your business here?

Are you Kidd?

The last Kidd. Two D's.

Are you the one Max called
The Dead Man?

You know Max?!

He sent you something.

Found it hard to get in.

Why are you staring at me?

Something wrong with your eyes?

No... you look healthy.

What's in it?

Max said it was... something
to give you dreams.

What does that mean
to a man like me?

What's wrong?
You scared, boy?!

Little dreams... whoo-hoo-ho!...

What do you think'd give a man like me
things to dream about?

You open it for me.

Open it!

From Max to me...

We can open it together.



He's dead?!

Max sends me my own death?

By an errand-boy!

Let him bring it himself!

Dog fight... fish hook...

Barbed wire, cigarette...

What are you doing?

Marking the sky. (*)

Let me.

Why do you always draw arrows?


Coz they're the best things.

Ashley... (*)

Come on home...
Your dinner's on.


Wilson says he's from Max.

Please tell me if he's gone.

What's the matter?

You think I'm gonna jump you,
or somethin'?


You know Max?

No... but I knew his mother.

She used to read me the postcards
he sent her.

Oh, yeah?

What'd he write about?


Where'd you get the boots?


You from America?


The boots are.

Mail order.

Where'd you come from, joker?

Down south.

Must be tough down south...

Comin' all the way up here
for some laughs.

I'm just lookin'.

Long way to come, just lookin'.

What are you lookin' for?

Sunshine and bananas.

Sun gives you cancer...

And you can buy bananas
for the right price anywhere.

I'm sorry to hear it.

There's a lot o' junk 'round here.

Place'd be nice,
if you cleaned it up.

You like cars?

Nope... I been on the sea
since I was 17.

Been livin' on the water
since you were 17?!

I like it.

But I couldn't live there.

Lot of monsters out there,
never seen the light of day.

Looks like it's been
in the water or something.

It was.

Dad drove it in there.

Ten years ago.

Didn't find the bodies for 2 days.

Police said they were drinking.

Had a car accident.

Grave just says they drowned.

Do you like her music?

The record was just on the player.

It's the prettiest thing
that woman ever had.

First time I saw Pauline...

She's sitting in the kitchen,
with Max's postcards...

piled up next to 'er.

Her music...
played it all the time...

And read the postcards
over and over.

All the time crying the thinnest little tears
I've ever seen.

He never said anything about women.

I'm Catherine...

Her name was Pauline,
and she was my friend.

Women are always crying.

They think it makes things better.

What happened to the sign?

Wilson shot it...

Couple of hundred times.

Why'd he do that?

Ask him yourself.

Cathy... it's so long since I saw you...

...I miss the fresh prawn,
straight off the boat!

The sight of you, so young and
strong, bringing it to me.

So silent...

Never saying a word.

Get away!

You watch the house...

As if she was still alive.

As if something of yours
was still breathing there.

My special memories.

Get away!

This is my land.

Everything on it, I own.

When you find Wilson, tell
him the fences are down.

What memories?

'S'tho' something bad
you bring up in the nets.

That's some dance you're doin' there.

Ought to get some grease on those boots,
before they cripple ya.

Magic place, innit?

Worth livin' for.

Is this the honey field?


Been a lot of things.

Used to be an airstrip over there...

Bit o' grazin'.


Buried treasure.

Yeah... that'd made a good story.

How long you been here, Wilson?

It's an all-purpose wreckin' yard.

The way that Max
used to talk about it...

It was somethin' beautiful...

Nothin' was sweeter
than the honey field.

"Nothin'", eh?!


He told me about the beaches.

About the seaweed goin' black
in the sand.

The water like satin...
The flowers.

- Flowers?
- Yeah, flowers.

So yellow, looked like
a field of hope.

Only stinkweed comes out yellow in summer.

Been a while since he's seen that.

What are you driving?

Debonair... Gold Star...
Royal DeLuxe.

Toyota Crown.

Useless... too 'eavy on the
steerin'... Gutless!


Yeah, better...
Big V-8.

They'd come outta the pits
before they get into 'em.

Just as well we left it all be'ind.

Nobody could touch us here.

Smell o' petrol...

Nerves in everyone's bellies.

Engine's missin', radiators hissin'.

"Get your hot-dogs from the ladies at
the kiosk, ladies and gentlemen!"

These yellow flowers
are just stinkweed.

He said there were dead people
out on the water.

D'you see 'em?

Oh, yeah...

Little green ones!

When he talked about the river...

It seemed as far as he could see.

Everything about the place...

...nothin' about the people
that live here.

That tell you somethin'
about the man?

His father...

...was the only lost soul
I ever knew.

Always hittin'...

Wantin' to be hit back.

Puttin' up punchin' bags
all over the place.

Always hittin' Max around...

Tryin' to make him... "mean".

Everything was about the war.

Men killin' and dyin' on the water.

The old man was crazy.

He thought hittin' somethin'd
make everything alright.

What about Pauline?

She told Max to wear his bruises
like medals.

Never said what she did
about her own, though.

Why did everyone leave?

Kidd bought all the land...
Closed it down.

And Max just left?

All the dreamin' in the world
couldn't get rid o' Kidd.

He burrowed into that family...
sucked 'em dry.

Where you are now...

'S'the last time I saw Max.

This is how the last race ended.

They started over there.

On a line...

Started movin'...

And Max starts walkin'... he didn't even see 'em comin'!

Slow as a Sunday stroll.

Right across in front of 'em!

Cars saw 'im...

Whole race broke up...

Fellas hittin' each other...

Hittin' the walls...

Throughout the whole circle.

Everyone's screamin' at 'im.

Max ignored 'em.

Just walked right across
in front of 'em.

And he turned...

Looked straight at me.

What did he want?

Whatever it was,
he didn't tell me.

You start off, thinking life is... a straight line... a big highway.

I think it's broken an'...

...all over the place.

You think Max remembered you
that way?

Prob'ly never thought about it.

Just a whole lot o' cars
going 'round in circles, Wilson.

You could've all gone for a long
slow drive up the highway.

The speedway was family.

Someone had to look after it.

You could've all broke loose from here.

Into what?

It's me 'ome.

The whole thing.

I want a big blue Thunderbird... get me out of here.

And I'm going, Wilson.

One foot in front of the other.

We're leavin' soon...

Maybe in a couple o' days.

Better get your things together.

Wilson, you're never gonna leave here.

And if you do,
it won't be me with you.

You're kiddin' yourself!

Ya head's full o' dreamin'!

That cowboy won't look after ya.

No one's comin' for you!

Look around...

This is it.

You and me!

You're right about one thing, though...

No one's leavin' here.

I was lookin' for you.

You'll see a lot of things
looking in people's windows.

You saw Wilson crying
in his wrecking yard.

I think he buried his brain
out here somewhere.

I worked for the government... the days when it meant something.

"The Queen's Public Service".

Northern Territory.

I was there in exciting times.

Coast trade... whores, cheap as whisky.

Anything for whisky.

What is it you did, exactly?

Trades and measurements...
buying, selling...

You can buy and sell anything.

Not always.

Is what you want worth
whatever you got?

That's what it all
comes down to.

Makes me ask what a young buck like you
is hungry for.

What about the opium?

Why ask me?

'S'not mine!

It's not my dreams you're dealing with...

It's his... His family... them!
Sickness in all their bodies!

I didn't make anything happen...
It was already here!

The land out there's nothing!

What'll make him
bring the opium to me?

He said your soul was cold.

Like a hole in the ocean.

So, he had one nightmare too many.

He's lucky he could sleep at all.

Journeys like mine at night
are the loneliest.

I know men like you.

You come from the ocean...

From what never changes,
never grows old.

You come to places like this...

You need something.

What is it you value here?

We're creatures of hunger...

We can feed each other.

Where is Max?


For what?

What does he want?

What do you want?

...the ocean is your place.

The opium's mine.

It has fed me more
than any god!

And you blame me
for it. Get out!

Get out!

Get out!

Was it worth it?

Did you find what you were looking for?

You like this?


What's that?

Burning a car...

Probably stolen.

Why burn it?

I don't know.

Maybe they didn't like the music
the radio was playing.

You got a boyfriend over there?


- Somewhere?
- No.

I bet you aren't lonesome.

You like secrets?


I think you do.

Other people's.


You got secrets,
Angel. I can feel 'em.

Jesus Christ!

You want me to tell you about Wilson?

I don't give a shit!

You want me to tell you about me?


Are you scared?

Does it hurt?

Nothing's hurt.

I'm not scared.

It's alright.

It's the same here.

Everything about this place
is waiting for Max to come back.

Ghosts are the price of love.

You love someone...
they never leave you.

Pauline told me that.

Why... are you waiting here?

You've never even met him.

I sailed into Venice...

"on a mist tide..."

"It was so beautiful..."

"Made me frightened of God..."

"And glass in the windows shone..."

" the tears in the eyes
of our angels."

It's the kind of stuff he wrote
on postcards.

My whole life
I've been hearing him.

Max... Max...

He'll come back one day.

If I'm not here...
How's he gonna find me?

I feel like...

...a baby that's never gonna get born.

How'm I gonna leave,
if I've never seen him?

You can make the move yourself.

I will.


When this little bit
of something I've got is gone.

You'll be here forever.

I already have been.

Max isn't coming back.

Why not?

Why would anyone?

You saw the boy.


And Catherine?


He half looks like Max,
doesn't he?

That cowboy shit again.

Not to her...

It's no different to you
and your swamp, to Catherine.

You leave her out of it!

I always did...

Didn't I?

But the boy's got a young man's body...

A young man's arms.

Don't you think she feels them already?

What is it?

What's in it?


I know this stuff.

Kidd knows it's here.

It'd kill 'im.

And Max sent it!

It's not about dyin'...

The last time I spoke to him...

he was talkin' about...

...bein' lonely.

It's more than loneliness...

It's more...

It feels lonely... the heart.

But I know that.

I'm lonely all the time.

No, you got things... you connect.

Ghosts being the price of
love makes sense.

I feel I've brought him with me.

A little bit I got o' him...

You think I look like her?

You're prettier.

I know what I am.

Don't try and scare me anymore.

You wanna dance?

I can't dance.

I'll show you.

I don't need it.

No, you don't need it...

...It's extra!


You figure that out yourself?

Who taught you?


Where's your family?


Thought you might like a drink.

With a mate.


Looks like you're already taken care of.

What's she been tellin' ya?

Talkin' about her family.

Family?! She got no one!

She's a whore's daughter,
from the caravan park.

Look at her!...

Wearin' a dead woman's clothes!

He just said I was pretty, Wilson.

He's laughin' at ya!

That's how Max got out!

Left me to do the lookin'-after.

All the sweet words...
and nothin' in it for anyone!

Not me, not nobody!

I was the one who used to come around...

Be here for her!

Max didn't want to know!

Kidd was always laughin'!

I never knew.

I didn't know what was goin' on!

She was so beautiful.

I never heard you say
she was beautiful.

You know she was!

Always standin'... waitin'...

Bein' nice, surprised to see me...

Wantin' me to hold 'er!

Wantin' someone... anyone...
to hold 'er!

She was just lonely, Wilson.

So was I!

I thought she wanted me!

I swear to God...

Sometimes, I think you're her,
standin' in front of me.

Wilson... stop!


And Max was the light.

When he left,
the light left her.

Left me!

She loved me.


What did she ever give you?

Loved me.


She never loved anyone but Max.

Wilson, you're wrong.

I used to watch 'er
movin' around inside.

Never comin' out.

She didn't need me anymore.

Left me burnin' outside.

I'm the only one
that ever loved you.

You smell... and your love smells.

You're like cannibals.

How much longer... can you stand this?

I told you, cowboy...

Until this little bit we've got is gone.

What are you tryin' to do?

The highway.

If I can get on the highway,
I can leave.

Pretty close now.

Stay away.


I'm lookin' for a
friend of mine... Angel.

You're no friend.

He got money he owes me.

Oh... what else?!

You're from the ships!

Same as Max.

You know Max?


Me and Max... great friends!

If y'can be friends
with a corpse, that is.

Max O'Donnell.

He's been dead for days.

You see?!...

The weakness...

The soft voice, faying in their bodies.

In this place, nothing changes.

Anything can change.

We're all caught in a tide...

...everything buried,
but it all comes back in time.

After Max had gone,
I did what I pleased...

...and they did what they liked.

Pauline liked dressing up,
like a hostess.

A man telling everybody what it was like
to be almost a champion!


You think they know what it was
that made Max run?


I took his father first...
and then Pauline!

It took a lot to get her!

And it was me, not Wilson,
gave her real kisses!

Lot of reliable stuff here, eh?

Really worth havin'!

It was all good in its day.

I remember this.

My old man had one.


Come in, ya galah...

...and I'll sell you a car
with a free bumper-bar!


...the opium... you can take it.

Max is dead!

Max is dead!

Why didn't you say it?

How could I?

Same old Angel...

I'm not gonna fight you, Tatts...
I don't wanna.

Yes, you do...
I do!


You got my money!

I've spent my time...

...and there must be
at least 27 reasons for it.

You're too pretty!

You're too pretty...

You got dirt on our boots.

Everything about you
irritates me, Angel...

...and I got no patience
to deal with it.

I'm sick o' hurting, Tatts.


I been practisin' that
my whole life!

Who am I?

Who am I?

You still here, cowboy.

Come on!

Come on!


Come on!

Come on!

Come on... get up!

Fight me!

So, who are you now? Eh, Angel?!

Big man!

When yer on yer own...
who are ya?!

Finish it!


What for?!

Finish it!

It's not enough.

Feel for me.

Not him... me!

Feel me.

Feel me!

Subtitles by FatPlank for KG