Affliction script
Affliction (1997)
Synopsis: Affliction is an American drama film produced in 1997, written and directed by Paul Schrader from the novel by Russell Banks. It stars Nick Nolte, Sissy Spacek, James Coburn and Willem Dafoe. Affliction tells the story of Wade Whitehouse, a small-town policeman in New Hampshire. Detached from the people around him, including a dominating father and a divorced wife, he becomes obsessed with the solving of a fatal hunting accident, leading to a series of tragic events.

CREDITS:

Still-life tableaus. Lawford, N.H., a town of fifty buildings

on a glacial ridge, neither mountain nor plateau. Developed

as 1880's forestland, discarded in the Depression. Winter

has set in. Halloween day. Snowy fields yield to overcast

skies:
oppressive, horizonless, flourescent.

-- Wickham's Restaurant. Where Route 29 bends. 24-hour diner.

Margie Fogg works here.

-- Trailer park in shadow of Parker Mountain. Home of Wade

Whitehouse.

-- Toby's Inn. Roadhouse three miles from town on the river

side of Route 29. Everything not tied down ends up here.

-- Glen Whitehouse farm. White clapboard.

-- First Congregational Church. North on the Common from

City Hall.

-- LaRiviere Co. Ramshackle well-digging firm embarrassingly

near the town center. Wade works here.

-- Merritt's Shell Station. Cinder-block.

-- Alma Pittman's house. Like so many others.

-- Town Hall.

ROLFE WHITEHOUSE'S VOICE, thirtiesh, articulate, speaks over

credit tableaus:

ROLFE (V.O.)

This is the story of my older

brother's strange criminal behavior

and disappearance. We who loved him

no longer speak of Wade. It's as if

he never existed. By telling his

story like this, as his brother, I

separate myself from his family and

those who loved him. Everything of

importance -- that is, everything

that gives rise to the telling of

this story -- occurred during a single

deer-hunting season in a small town

in upstate New Hampshire where Wade

was raised and so was I. One night

something changed and my relation to

Wade's story was different from what

it had been since childhood. I mark

this change by Wade's tone of voice

during a phone call two nights after

Halloween. Something I had not heard

before. Let us imagine that around

eight o'clock on Halloween Eve,

speeding past Toby's, Route 29, comes

a pale green eight-year-old Ford

Fairlane with a police bubble on

top. A square-faced man wearing a

trooper's cap is driving the vehicle.

Beside him sits a child, a little

girl with a plastic tiger mask

covering her face. The man is driving

fast --

-- Route 29 tableau dissolves to night. A pale green police

Ford Fairlane drives past.

END CREDITS:

INT./EXT. POLICE CAR - NIGHT

WADE WHITEHOUSE, driving, sits beside JILL, his daughter,

ten years-old, wearing a black-and-yellow tiger plastic mask.

WADE:

I'm sorry for the screw-up. But I

couldn't help it it's too late to go

trick-or-treating now. I couldn't

help it I had to stop at Penny's for

the costume. And you were hungry,

remember.

JILL:

Who's fault is it then if it's not

yours? You're the one in charge,

Daddy.

WADE:

(shakes cigarette

from pack)

Yeah.

JILL:

Look. Those kids are still trick-or-

treating. They're still out.

Wade watches boys in the headlights, lights cigarette.

WADE:

Those are the Hoyts.

JILL:

I don't care. They're out.

WADE:

Can't you see... look out there.

Nobody's got their porch lights on

anymore. It's too late. Those Hoyt

kids are just out to get in trouble.

See, they put shaving cream all over

that mailbox there. They chopped

down Herb Crane's new bushes. Little

bastards. Jesus H. Christ.

Wade grimaces, holds his jaw. The Fairlane swerves around

broken pumpkins under a caution light.

JILL:

Why do they do that?

WADE:

Do what?

JILL:

You know.

WADE:

Break stuff?

JILL:

Yeah. It's stupid.

WADE:

I guess they're stupid.

JILL:

Did you do that when you were a kid?

WADE:

Well, yeah. Sort of. Nothing really

mean. Me and my pals, me and my

brothers. It was kind of funny then.

Stealing pumpkins, soaping windows.

Stuff like that.

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Paul Schrader

Paul Joseph Schrader is an American screenwriter, film director, and film critic. Schrader wrote or co-wrote screenplays for four Martin Scorsese films: Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ and Bringing Out the Dead. more…

All Paul Schrader scripts | Paul Schrader Books

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