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Kill the Day (1997)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

James is a gaunt, thirtysomething junkie, seemingly reformed yet with little to do but think on the past and his past mistakes. He lies in bed and re-experiences the sounds and sensations of this past. As he stares at a fly on the ceiling he remembers the crime that led to his incarceration - stealing credit cards to feed his habit. At the scene of the crime, a local hospital, James forces his way into employee lockers to extract purses. He holes up temporarily in his make-shift lair, a stall in the ladies' toilets, as he anxiously awaits the departure of two gossiping workers. Has he been identified? He exits the building with a less-than nonchalant air.

James visits his drug dealer and returns home to get his hit. As he gets high, James is transported to the site of a childhood trauma. A pubescent James and a friend kill time tossing stones into a dirty canal. James dares a friend to push a man sitting by the canal into the water. The boy does so and immediately flees, leaving James to stare hard into the bubbling water as the man fails to surface.

James has been caught. He is in prison for drugs offences. He eats lunch at the mess hall while two fellow inmates engage in a banal conversation as a decoy while they pass drugs between them under the table. The inmates ask James if he wants some but he opts out, escaping instead into daydream. A wise decision, because lunch is immediately followed by random cell searches. An unfriendly guard makes a comment about James's wife. With an effort, James stifles the family pride rising up in him, only to vent his anger on his mattress once the guards have gone.

James returns to dreaming. He ponders the innocence of his childhood, catching bugs in idyllic spring fields with other young boys, discovering cigarettes and nascent sexuality.

The present. James is still in bed, still staring at the fly on the wall. He leaves the flat to buy cigarettes and runs into a young male - possibly his son - who is in need of money. He gives the small change in his pocket. Returning to the flat, he looks out the window and notices the same boy buying from his old drug dealer.