Budapest Noir (2017) - full transcript

A murder mystery set in Budapest, 1936. Just as Hungary was preparing to allign itself with Hitler, a young beautiful girl is found dead and no one wants to investigate - except Gordon a crime reporter who has a gut feeling that t...

Prime Minister Gyula G?mb?s


For some it's the city of death,
for others it's the city of lights.

On the crime beat I've seen
my fair share of death.

Housemaids chewing matches.

Barbers cutting their lovers' throats.

The means are endless.

But depressingly similar.

But the end is always the same.

How are you, Mr. Reporter, sir?
What can I get you?

Just a pack of smokes.
The usual.

We have to watch out.
All stores have to close by twelve.

Forget it then. I don't want
to get you into trouble.

Me? Trouble?

Look at me!

One arm and decrepit.

What else could happen to me?

You're smart, Kov?ch.

You ought to go into politics.

Me? Never.

Why not?

Like you said, I'm smart.

I remember Prime Minister G?mb?s
bragging to G?ring last spring.

That with the fascist know-how
he learned in Germany...

he was going to transform the country.

And install himself as dictator.

Well, you really screwed that up...

G?mb?s, old boy.

Forgive me.

It's closing time, sir.

What's the big hurry?

Everything has to close
because of the funeral.

Eight peng?, twenty.

For a coffee and a bourbon?

And the lady's lunch.

What lady?

The one that you just said good bye to.

She said you were going to pay her check.

Pretty slick.



- Good afternoon, Mr. Reporter, sir!
- Gell?rt?

The Chief of Police is in a meeting.

No problem, sweetheart,
I'll wait in his office.

Don't get up on my account.

I've got five minutes.

The minister of the interior ordered every
officer and detective to be on duty.

To secure the funeral procession.

What's so urgent?

My boss needs an invitation.

To the memorial service?

Don't you need one too?

I'm a crime reporter.
G?mb?s died of renal cancer.

And that's not my beat.

You're a hopeless cynic.

Just a realist.

Don't you believe in anything at all?

Yes, of course.

I believe in headlines.

They don't have to be true.

No matter what they say.

There is no such thing
as objective truth.

I'm interested in a person's fate.

And death is the last stop on the road.

What I care about is how he gets there.

- What time do we start?
- What about the curfew?

Who cares about that?
It's a private club, right?

Far as I'm concerned, we can get started.
The opponent is already here.

So what are we waiting for?
Miska, you ready?

He'll never be ready.

You should've seen this kid.

He could've been a champ.

But the half-wit went
to America instead.

To America?

Baron Andr?s Sz?ll?sy.

The new club owner.

A round of Champagne for everyone!

On the house.

Come on, Miska!

Is it really so fascinating to watch
two men beat each other to a pulp?

Depends on how they do it.

Isn't there some way I
could get your attention?

Depends on how you do it.


What did I tell you?

Imagine if he could actually box, too?


Rise and shine, kid!

I have to leave in ten minutes.

What's your name again?

I'm Mira. But last night
you called me Princess.

Let's stick to Mira for now.

Maybe later I'll promote you.

Get dressed, sweetheart.

Five minutes.

You look great.

Can I come in?

I just got back.

After six months in Germany.

Six months?
How could I forget?

How about some tea?

I'm in a hurry.

You seen my shoes?

Last night you were drinking
champagne from them.

Oh, yeah.

I'm Mira.


Careful, you'll catch your
death in this weather.

All I want is some tea.

The train stopped at every station.
We waited at the border for hours.

I'm freezing.
- Found it!

You mind if I don't wait for you?

When you finish your tea,
just put the key...

under the doormat.

Give it to the Super.



I'm broke. I need to
find some kind of work.

What's it to me?

You're a newspaperman.
I'm a photographer.

You can't be serious?


This works.

This one too.

What is this?

Uh, I thought a happy
picture wouldn't hurt.

G?mb?s is dead.
He's not stepping out.

Lose that one.

The G?mb?s articles from the
German and Italian papers.

But let's not make a habit of it.

Val?ria, you are an angel.

I swear I'll love you forever.

Too bad you're too young for me.

You're fresh. But don't
let me stop you.

Hello? Evening News.

Zsigmond! It's for you.


Kalm?r. We found a woman.

What kind of woman?

What do you think?


I'm the first to know, right?

I always call you first.

As long as I get my five peng?s.

Give me the address.

On Nagydi?fa Street you'll see the cops.

On my way.

Val?ria, I need a photographer.

- When?
- Right now.

Turcs?nyi sent everybody
to cover the funeral.

How the hell am I supposed to
work without a photographer?!

When will they pay me for the photos?

You're really that broke?

I left everything in Berlin.

I had to leave in a hurry.

You pissed off another man?

Yes, his name is Adolf, and he's
got a moustache under his nose.

Friend of mine was taken to a camp...

where they lock up dissenters.

I used fake papers to get a job there.

And did you find him?

No, but I took some pictures, and
tried to publish them in Berlin.

That was a bad idea.

You still have it?

A souvenir from an old friend.

Still works.

Why throw it away?

Sorry, this area is off limits.


She's with me.

Can you handle this?

I've seen worse.

When did she die?

She's still warm.

Maybe half an hour ago.

And how did she die?

How should I know?
I don't see any blood.


Nothing in her purse,
just an empty wallet.

And this.

A Miriam?

What's a Miriam?

A prayer book for Jewish women.

Maybe someone will report her missing.

If anyone even bothers.

She won't be the first hooker to
be buried in an unmarked grave.

The means are endless.

But the end is always the same.

- How are they?
- Good.

Very good.

It's odd.

Well groomed hair and
nails, nice clothes.

She sure doesn't look like a prostitute.

I've met her before.

She invited herself to lunch.

Pay the check.

Mr. Reporter, sir!

What do you want, son?
I'm in a hurry.

Someone left this for you yesterday.

- Who?
- I wasn't there.

Thank you, sir.

I was only borrowing the money.

Forgive me.

You got one minute.

I see you didn't sleep last night.

You can say that again.

They mustered the entire
police force for this funeral.

And unless the communists
blow up the Chain Bridge,

I don't want to deal with anything else.

They want to blow up the Chain Bridge?

You got thirty seconds left.

- One quick question.
- I'm waiting.

Yesterday they found a dead
girl on Nagydi?fa Street.

On Nagydi?fa Street? Great.

It's been a while since we
found a dead whore there.

How do you know she was a whore?

Next to Klauz?l Square?

If she had been a nice girl,
I would've heard about it.

But since I haven't,
she must've been a whore.

Take a good look.

You sure you've never seen her before?


Gell?rt, I need a word with you.

Yes, Minister, sir.

I'm done here.

Bon appetit, Mr. Vogel!

Getting ready for carnival, Vogel?

No, I have to write about
that Smile Club again.

Ever since the Crash they've
been my cross to bear.

They think their smiling will
make the country happier.

You know all about the
city's love life, right?

If I don't know about it,
it didn't happen.

I'm looking for someone.

Who isn't?

Who takes naughty pictures in this town?

You want a list?

The girl I saw in the
picture was wearing a hat.

Oh, a hat...

Very exciting.

And why do you care?

Because she just got murdered.

And if I don't dig up more on her,
it'll only be half a column on page 7.

And you want it on page 2?

The front page.

And if I help you,
what do I get in return?

I'll walk your dog for you.

I don't have a dog.

Then I'll buy you dinner.

At Gundel's.

Out with it already.

I only know of one guy
who takes photos like that.

His name is Skublics.

And under what rock do
I find this Skublics?

Give me a bit more smile.

Seductive. More.

Now take a puff from the cigarette.

That's it.

That's it.
Push your hair back.

Who are you?

Don't you know how to knock?

You took a picture of a young girl.

She had a birthmark
on her breast that is unusual.

You know how many girls I shoot here?

- I don't remember.
- Of course you do.

What are you, a cop?

What's this girl doing here?

I'm taking her portrait.

A portrait, right?
Get out of here.

Leave me alone.
I want to stay.

Let her go!
Come on, let's go.

Here's five peng?.

Go home.

You think you're some kind of hero?

Tomorrow she'll be back on the streets.

With no papers the cops will
take her to the workhouse.

Does the Vice Squad know
about your business?

I don't know what you're talking about.

I'm an artist.

You call that art?

I do.

I've got one here, too.

You recognize her?

I've never seen that girl in my life.

Take a good look, Skublics!

Want some?

No, I already ate.

Who did you come to see?

A young girl. They brought
her in yesterday.

Pretty, black hair?

That's the one.

Let me see.

Here it is.

It's strange that they
already did the autopsy.

The Minister of the Interior rushed
it through. I don't know why.

And I don't want to know.

Let's take a look at the girl.

Here we go.

I don't understand.

This has never happened to me before.

She is supposed to be here.


You left the front door
open again, Grandfather.

Who would want to come in?


In this town they'll kill
you for a few peng?s.

Nonsense. You see
murder everywhere.

Next time lock the door.

Are you taking your medicine?

Medicine? Who needs medicine?

Forty years as a doctor,
I know what medicine will get you.

This is the best medicine.

Simply divine.

Have a taste.

Your last batch of jam put me
out of commission for two days.

Yes, it was a mistake
to put chestnuts in it.

But this is really amazing!
Grape-rhubarb jam.


You didn't take the seeds
out of the grapes?

Damn! The one thing I forgot.

And sugar, too.

Hey, Grandfather, can you stop cooking?

Come, I need your help.

Another murder?

They killed a girl on Nagydi?fa Street.

There's something wrong about it.

There's something wrong
with most of the girls down there.

It's not the girl that's the problem.

Her body disappeared from the morgue.

What do you mean, disappeared?

Somebody took it.

'Cause of death is severe
internal bleeding...

of the epigastric region resulting
from a severe contusion.'

In plain language?

Someone punched her in the
stomach so hard she died.

Someone wanted to make sure...

she was never going to have that baby.

She was two months pregnant.

I've been on the crime beat so long...

that I've developed a sixth sense.

I get a feeling in my gut.

Like it is telling me...

things are not what they seem.


I'll have one.

You look pretty bad.

This is nothing.

Just goes with the job.

I see, now you're running a circus.

Nah, it's just business.

I saw this in America.

I do more business in one night
than I did in a month.

Why did you leave America?

I lied in an article once.

You wouldn't be the first.

Andr?s, a moment, please.

Yes, Minister.

Excuse me.

And if he can't pay you back?

It's an investment.

I own the largest coffee import company.

I've also got four businesses in Germany.

Getting pretty nasty up there.

I import coffee.

Not fascism.

Excuse me, Minister.


Have you seen my husband?

He's sitting over there.

Andr?s, please.


What are you doing here?

- You didn't come home, did you forget?
- What?

About the birthday.

I arranged everything so nicely.

We even baked a cake.

Allow me to introduce my wife.

- Zsigmond Gordon.
- I love this music.

Chopin's sonatas are so soothing.

It's time for you to rest.
I'll take you home.

I slept all afternoon.

And you have to take your medicine.


You still working on the obituary?

- What's that?
- An article.

They found a dead girl
on Nagydi?fa Street.

Are you kidding me?
I told you to write the obit.

You mean this?

- And who is this dead girl?
- A whore.

Did they at least chop her up?

- No.
- Then nobody cares.

Chicago was where I saw
my first dead body.

She had long red hair.

They said she'd jumped out the window.

But I had the feeling she'd been pushed.

I was so green that I believed the cops.

Ever since it's bothered me
that I didn't dig deeper.

What do you want?

I'm writing an article about the girl...

they found dead on Nagydi?fa Street.

I don't know nothing about no girl.

If I were you, I wouldn't either.

The problem is everyone
else knows about it.

And they also know that you run
half the whores in this town.

I thought, before I write the
article I'd talk to you first.

So I can write that you deny it.

You're writing what?!

How about this?

'Tibor K?nk?ly, alias Csuli,

denies that the dead
girl worked for him.'

And I won't forget to mention
that she was pregnant.

Sit down.

The article will come out anyway.
I've already seen to that.

You're bluffing.

Maybe I am.

Maybe I'm not.

You're messing up my business.

After so many years...
Gordon I didn't expect this from you.

Did you really come hereto
write an article about me?


All I want to know is who
killed the girl and why.

I'll tell you all I know about the girl.

But keep your mouth shut, or
I'll rearrange your pretty face.

No thanks, I like it this way.

She was my girl for a spell.

J?zsi Labor?ns found her on the streets,
he recruited her.

She was classy, not like the rest.

Her clients adored her.
She earned quite a reputation.

Then someone showed up here.

Told me we need to talk.

The next day the girl had disappeared.

That's all I know about her.

And who was this man?

I never said it was a man.

I know J?zsi Labor?ns.
I'll ask him myself.

Unfortunately, J?zsi
is no longer with us.

You know Skublics?

Who doesn't?

How can I get him to talk?

He's got his weak spot, too.

One of my guys saw him
going to a meeting.

What kind of meeting?

It wasn't the Boy Scouts,
that's for sure.


'Work awaits you in the night.'

'Your life is about to start.'

'Learn to entertain, my boy!'

'Learn to laugh,
to cry, if you must!'

'Learn to smile in
times of trouble!'

'Look out for yourself,
and no one else!'

I've got a job for you.

Who do I have to shoot?

A Commie named Skublics.

All right.

Why not?

'Because everything,
everything is theatre!'

How dare you play that
Jewish crap for Hungarians.

'I wasn't always a poor boy.'

'My dear mother
raised me well.'

What, are you deaf?

I asked you a question.

How dare you play Jewish music for us?

Stop taking photos!

Don't touch her.

What's going on here?

Your place is...

a Jewish rat's nest.

Get out! Get the
hell out of here!

Please, continue.

Get out!

'Learn to entertain, my boy!'

Get out!

Let's go.

'Learn to smile in
times of trouble!'

'Look out for yourself,
and no one else!'

Skublics is going to
come out of that door.

The streetlights are off,
you can't take a photo here.

I'll tell you what I can or can't do.

Go over there and give me a signal,
when Skublics is coming out.

Then what?

Just wait and see.

All right.

Please, get in.

- What's your name?
- Cz?vek, ma'am.


Roll down to the corner
with your lights off.

No problem.

Turn on the lights!

Hit the gas!

Hey! What are you doing?

Give me that!


Stop them!

After the turn jump out
and I'll keep going.

Was I too far away?

Distance is pretty relative.

When you left six months ago, I thought
you were just going to the store.

Did you miss me?

It's hard to find a good photographer.

This one is from that camp?


I didn't think this kind
of thing was possible.

These will never be published here.

I know.

But I got a telegram from London.

They asked me to send more.

Maybe they'll put them in an exhibition.

So you're leaving again?

At least someone cares about it there.

And when would that be?

It depends.

On what?

Do you want me to go?

That's not what I said.

Do you want me to stay?

And what do you want?

I'll make some tea.

You opening a pet store, Vogel?

Gossip is my beat.

That lady is getting divorced,
and she wants half the dog, too.

Do you know this guy next to Skublics?

If I did, I wouldn't be here.

Come with me.

He was arrested in 1923.

But was sent to the USSR
in a prisoner exchange.

All we know is that he
became a member of the NKVD.

You know what that is?

The Russian secret police.

Pretty much.

He hasn't been seen for 12 years
but it seems this Commie is back in town.

You want to tell me his name?

Ger?. Ern? Ger?.

If you show this picture to the police,
Skublics is finished.

Taking a trip?

So it was you.

I should've known.

What do you want from me?

Last time I asked about a girl.

Tell me what you know about her?

Why should I trust you?

If not, I'll send this
picture to the authorities.

Would you rather talk to them?

I don't know her name.

- Marg? V?r?s brought her here.
- Who's that?

She's out of your league.

Why, who's this Marg? V?r?s?

She's running a high class
brothel on Miksa Falk Street.

Why take photos of the girl?

For the catalogue.

That's how the politicians
pick the girls.

You mean she was a
callgirl for politicians?

Actually, just the Upper Chamber.

The Lower Chamber is
full of riff-raff.

She was plucked by Marg? V?r?s.

Marg? took her from Csuli.

Csuli let that happen?

No one can touch Marg?.

She's protected.

Who's protecting her?

Skublics, you hear me?

Who's protecting her?

Get in!

You're running a taxi service, too?

We're giving you a ride home.

Why pay for a taxi?


You look like shit.

The beauty parlor was closed.

I heard you're pretty busy these days.

Since when does a lowlife reporter...

mess with a police captain's inquiry?

Three years ago.

When your corrupt predecessor went down.

Thanks to the help of this reporter.

It was team work.

We did it for the good of the city.

This isn't where I live.

Let's take a walk.

Oh. Need a light?

How did you get that?

We found it next to a corpse
by the name of Skublics.

I could lock you up for this,
Zsigmond Gordon.

You know I didn't kill him, right?

Convince me.

What do you want from me?

No. No. No. The question
is, what do you want?

Start at the beginning. What were you
doing at Skublics' place?

And why did you go talk to Csuli?

The dead girl. The one
from Nagydi?fa Street.

What's that dead girl to you?

The question is:
what is she to you?

You're getting old, Gell?rt.

Losing your memory.

I saw a photograph of
that girl in your office.

Now listen to me, you shithead!

Forget about that girl.

If you keep sniffing around,

I'll have you locked up for murder,

and thrown in the clink and let you rot.

I wouldn't, if I were you!

Isn't it a bit early for it, pretty boy.
What do you want?

I'm looking for a girl.

Everyone who comes here
is looking for a girl.

Come back at night.

Can I come in?

Looking good.

If this girl pulled something shady,

I've got nothing to do with it.

Everyone here answers for themselves.

She didn't pull anything.