My Wrongs 8245–8249 & 117
|My Wrongs #8245–8249 & 117|
|Directed by||Chris Morris|
|Produced by||Mark Herbert|
|Written by||Chris Morris|
|Edited by||Billy Sneddon|
|Distributed by||Warp Films|
14 November 2002|
(premiere, London Film Festival)
24 February 2003
My Wrongs #8245–8249 & 117 is the first film by Chris Morris, starring Paddy Considine as a mentally disturbed man taking care of a friend's Doberman Pinscher (named Rothko, and voiced by Morris) while she's away. The dog talks to him and convinces the nameless protagonist that he is on trial for everything he's done wrong in his life, and the dog is his lawyer. Unfortunately, the dog tends to make things worse for him, and the man's life falls further into disrepair.
This was the first film by Warp Films, an imprint of popular British record label Warp Records. It was released on DVD in 2003, on a region 0, PAL disc. The disc featured a false commentary track, among other bonuses. The packaging included a handwritten list of various wrongs committed by the protagonist, although one would have to destroy the case to read them all. The title comes from this tendency of the protagonist to record his sins: the film depicts numbers 8245–8249 in the timeline, and number 117, which was an unguarded comment made as a small boy, in a flashback.
The protagonist (Paddy Considine) is a man tasked with looking after his friend Imogen's house, and is specifically instructed to take her dog Rothko for walks, but not to let him off the leash. After putting Imogen's keys through the mail slot in her door (so they don't get lost), the man ensures that he won't lose Rothko by tying the dog's leash around his own neck. Rothko leads him to a park, where he viciously attacks and kills a duck in front of onlookers. As they shout at the man, Rothko (Chris Morris) begins to speak to the man, taunting him.
The pair run away onto a bus, where the dog tells the man that he is his lawyer and is defending everything the man has ever done wrong. The man recalls a time where he was spoken to similarly by a gerbil as a child, telling him his father was cheating on his mother. The man and dog are kicked off the bus after the conductor finds out the man has no money.
The dog, enticed by a little girl's used handkerchief, follows her into a church, dragging the man with him. Inside, a christening is going on, and the dog tells the man he's brought him here for forgiveness for what he's about to do. The baby being christened speaks to the man, telling him to speak up and tell everyone in attendance that the priest is a pedophile and the baby's mother is a prostitute. Urged on by Rothko, the man does so, only for the baby to say, "Only joking!"
In the resulting commotion, the priest is knocked over, the baby is sent flying, and Rothko breaks free. The man catches the baby and chases Rothko out of the church, only to see the dog struck by a vehicle. The dying dog tells the man that he should now seek out legal counsel from the baby before he dies. When the man asks to speak to the baby, the baby's father punches him.
In a closing monologue, the man reveals he left a note to Imogen apologizing for the keys and dog, and imagines her being satisfied with it, but he is sure she isn't. He no longer goes to the park, as he hears the ducks tell passers-by that he thought a dog could talk, and they refuse to stop when he tells them to.
The short film was based on a monologue from Chris Morris' earlier radio programme Blue Jam, and was attempted as a sketch in the television adaptation Jam. The sketch didn't work for undisclosed reasons in Jam, but very short clips were edited into the TV series (there are small sections before the last sketches in episodes 1 and 6, showing the man running after the dog, with the leash around his neck). The film omits a scene from the monologue in which the protagonist tries to order food for Rothko at a cafe, and changes Rothko from an Irish wolfhound to a Doberman pinscher.
In 2003, the film won a BAFTA for best short film.