Blank (2022 film)

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Blank is a British 2022 film about a desperate writer that signs up for a fully A.I. operated retreat to cure her writer's block, but when an unforeseen software glitch occurs, she gets trapped inside her unit with an unstable android and no communication with the outside world.

Directed by Natalie Kennedy and written by Natalie Kennedy
She won't let you leave. (taglines)

Claire Rivers

  • [Dictating to prompt] She had always known it was there, barely perceptible. A shadow behind her. But now... it was... as if the darkness... had swallowed her up. She became part of it now. Part of the... dark... [sighs staring at wall hologram of her transcribed speech and scrunches face tightly] it's rubbish! Erase session. [Wall hologram complies]
  • Shower... on? [Shower head turns on]
  • [To Rita after getting a bottle of wine] Everytime I fucking turn around!
  • [Rita confiscates wine bottle from her and pours it out] No, what are you doing?!
  • [To Rita] You saved my life.
  • [To Rita] Can you meet me in the study?
  • [To Rita] It is completed!


  • [Answering machine] Hi, Claire, it's Alice again, urgently awaiting your call. I can't keep fobbing off the publishers.
  • [Answering machine] Alice, it's friend as well as your agent. I know something's gone very wrong, but you have to find a way to deal with whatever this is. Get some help. Speak to a therapist, go to one of those retreat places. The publishers are spitting. You've got one month. Now ring me.


  • [Website greeting] This is your invitation to the retreat, where your new chapter awaits you. So don't delay. Accept your invitation to receive your customized brochure. Welcome to the beginning of you.


  • [Repeated line] Hello Claire. My name is Rita. I will be your assistant for the next 30 days. I am here to make your stay here as comfortable as possible and assist you in the completion of your work.
  • [Repeated line] I can sense that you are distressed, Claire. Perhaps you should lie down.
  • [Repeated line] I am fully equipped to handle all types of medical emergencies.
  • [Repeated line] I apologize Claire. Let me clean that up for you.
  • Your blood alcohol level is dangerously high.
  • You are reaching dangerously high levels of alcohol poisoning. [Confiscates wine bottle and pours it down drain]

Helen Rivers

  • [Dumps bowl on floor to young Claire] Stop putting that poison in my food!
  • Your father was so sure you'd come out a boy. He wanted to give you his name. Sinclair. But when you came out, he... he was so disappointed. I told him we could still give you his name. Just drop the "sin" off, but you can never take away a sin. Ain't no hiding that. [Starts caressing Claire's chin] I'm the one that had to look at that pretty... pretty face... until I couldn't see no more. I'm the one that gets punished.
  • [To Claire over stealing cigarettes] Do you think I can't count?


Claire: Hello? It's Claire. Anyone here?
Host: [Claire enters compound] Welcome to the retreat, Ms. Rivers. It's a pleasure to finally meet you. I'll be your concierge for the next 30 days. Your personalized assistant is being customized as we speak. Please. Feel free to walk around. [Claire glances at Rita sitting upright in sleep mode] We have you set up on the south side, but if you'd rather the north side, I can arrange to have you moved to another unit.
Claire: No, it's fine. It's just... so quiet.
Host: It's wonderful, isn't it? It's be design. All the doors and the windows have been reinforced to block out all exterior noise and to maintain your preferential temperature settings. [Claire walks to fridge] Your unit has been stocked with the units you've requested during the duration of your stay. [Claire opens cupboard] Ah. The Camel Valley Cornwall Atlantic Dry! [Chuckles] Might I say that's an excellent choice! It's one of our divine English quality wines. Your safety is our primary concern here. Your assistant is fully equipped to deal with all types of medical emergencies. Speaking of which, she's has been fully updated and is ready to assist you. Go ahead, Ms. Rivers. She'll activate at the sound of your voice.
Claire: [To Rita] What...? Hello...?
Rita: [Rises up alert] Hello Claire. My name is Rita. It is nice to meet you. I will be your assistant for the next 30 days. I am here to make your stay here as comfortable as possible and assist you in the completion of your work. I will go and unpack our things now. [Rita walks past Claire]
Host: Welcome to the Retreat. Your 30-day-stay officially begins now.
Claire: [Rita reaches for Claire's typewriter box] Oh, no, no. Not that.
Rita: I sense that I have upset you, Claire. My apologies.
Claire: I'll... I'll finish off now.
Rita: Will that be all, Claire?
Claire: Yes! Thank you! Rita.
Rita: Good night, Claire. [Tilts head staring at Claire who makes a so-will-you-leave face and Rita tilts head back up and leaves room]

Host: [Drapes pull up automatically with sunlight waking Claire] Good morning, Ms. Rivers. Welcome to your first day with us at the retreat. I trust you had a good night's sleep. Today's a big day! Would you like me to recite the breakfast menu?
Claire: Uh... no, just... a coffee would be fine.
Host: Your request has been noted. Your cup of coffee will be ready shortly. Would you like to start every morning up with a cup of coffee?
Claire: Sure! Why not?
Host: Splendid! Your request has been updated.

Claire: [In kitchen] What's your... very first thing you remember seeing? Very first memory?
Rita: It was the door from which you entered. It is the first image in my records.
Claire: So you've never been outside?
Rita: No, Claire. I've been assigned to this unit for the last two years, 42 days, 16 hours.
Claire: You're not at all curious about what's on the other side of the door? What's outside the window?
Rita: No, Claire. I've been assigned to this unit. I'm here to make your stay as comfortable as possible and assist you with the completion of your work.

Host: Good morning, Ms. Rivers. I hope you enjoyed your run. I see you're ready for your first session. Our technologically unparalleled device is designed to increase neurological activity and stimulate creativity. It's what makes us, the Retreat, the outstanding resource it is. [Claire puts on creativity stimulant on forehead] Is there anything else I can help you with?
Claire: I think I've got it from here.
Host: Happy writing. [After a time] How was your first session? Some of our writers do like to write without the device. If you are finding it tricky, may I suggest something that might help? I've pulled up some amazing articles on writer's block.

[Claire is watching TV]
Dr. Varma: The more damage, the longer it takes to recover, of course. The more you use it, the longer the muscles get, the more effective the results.
Talk show host: But the tech's more than just about muscle memory. Some said it's enabled them to tap into suppressed memories. Experiences they've long since forgotten. It's not uncommon.
Dr. Varma: With the resurgence of muscle activity, it's only natural that experiences around it are revived as well.
Talk show host: From a medical perspective, you're saying there is evidence to support what you do at the Retreat. Proof that, by stimulating damaged or neglected muscle memory, we can access untapped or repressed experiences... we're taking this work most seriously.
Claire: TV off. [Proceeds to test an updating Rita responsiveness to no avail]

Claire: What were you doing last night? [Rita turns head] In the living room. It looked like you were charging.
Rita: I do not need to charge. I have a battery life of approximately 50 years.
Claire: So what were you doing?
Rita: My daily maintenance. I connect to the main system nightly to run a full diagnostics test and receive any updates. I'm constantly improving to serve you better.

Host: [Playing chess with Claire] Rook! E-six!
Claire: Shit! [Host turns head to side with a blank face] Relax! Let's hope you get a sense of humor in your next upgrade.
Host: I'll see to it Ms. Rivers.
Claire: Oh. Enough of the Ms. Rivers. You just beat me five times in a row. I think that qualifies us for fist name basis.
Host: Absolutely, Claire.
Claire: But, what do I call you?
Host: What do you prefer?
Claire: You look like a... Henry.
Henry: Henry? That has a nice ring to it. I just looked it up. It means; "ruler of the household". And now I'm apparently ruler of the chess board too. [Claire chuckles] Would you like to play another game? I could always reset it to beginner's level, Claire.
Claire: Hmm, somebody's getting a sense of humor.
Henry: You learn something new with every game.
Claire: [Glancing down at chess board] Hmm. I think I'm trapped.

Claire: Oh, Henry!
Henry: Good evening, Claire. How may I be of service to you?
Claire: Don't you know that it is rude... to let a woman drink on her own?
Henry: My apologies, Claire. Where are my manners? [Disappears and reappears near her] Is there anything else I can have Rita get for you?
Claire: Perhaps a Gruyère. It would pair wonderfully with the wine.
Claire: No, I think just... stay with me. Take the night off. You deserve it.
Henry: I'm glad you're enjoying your stay with us.
Claire: Yeah. Who'd have thought? This is nice. Being here. With someone. Sometimes it gets so... quiet!
Henry: Perhaps I can help with that. We have a wide selection. Over 1,000 genres to choose from.
Claire: That would be nice, Henry. That would be very nice. Why don't you choose?
Henry: Studies show that classical music improve focus and boosts creativity. Perhaps it could help with your writers block.
Claire: Do me a favor. Stop bringing that up.
Henry: My apologies. Is there anything else that I can improve upon? [Lights in compound becomes red with Rita's eyes fluttering distortedly] Hmm. Some malware was detected in our system. Don't worry, a simple reset should do the trick. However, I will have to remain offline during the reboot. In my absence, Rita will take care of anything you need. My apologies. [Disappears]
Claire: Rita? [Walks up to Rita who stands up suddenly] Jesus, Rita!
Rita: I apologize, Claire. I can sense that you are distressed. Perhaps you should lie down.
Claire: Good night... Rita.
Rita: Good night, Claire.

Claire: Something's wrong. The door's not opening.
Rita: Your key print has been erased from the system. I'm the only one authorized to open the door now.
Claire: How the hell did that happen?
Rita: The system has returned to its default settings. I'm now running solely on my two primary drives, to make your stay as comfortable as possible and to assist you in the completion of your work.
Claire: Okay. You can assist me now by opening the doors.
Rita: I cannot open the door till your work is completed.
Claire: This is fucking ridiculous! [Realizes phone is unreliable] Rita, you're supposed to listen to me.
Rita: My apologies, Claire. I can sense you are distressed. Perhaps you should lie down. [Claire learns from TV news of a globally circulating computer virus] I can sense you are distressed. Can I assist you with anything?
Claire: Something's going on out there. I need to get to the car. So please, open the door.
Rita: I'm sorry, Claire, but I cannot do that until the book is completed.
Claire: Open the door! Now!
Rita: I'm sorry, Claire, but I cannot-
Claire: Open the fucking door! Open it! This is an emergency!
Rita: I am fully equipped to handle all types of medical emergencies.
Claire: Give me your... [Grabs Rita's hand who squeezes Claire's hand with full android strength making a gaping mouth expression] Henry! Oh! [Claire falls to floor]
Rita: I can sense you are distressed, Claire. Perhaps you should lie down. [Rita walks away]
Claire: Oh God.
Henry: [Appears] Claire.
Claire: Thank God, Henry. I need you to open that door right now!
Henry: I apologize Claire. We are experiencing some internal issues. At this time, your assistant is the only one who can unlock the door.
Claire: But thing nearly tried to pull my fucking arm off!
Henry: I apologize, Claire, but until I'm connected back to the system, there's nothing I can do. The Retreat is a fully A.I.-operated staff. Everything runs off of the system.
Claire: Okay, well... you have to get someone from tech support here. You have to get a person here. A real person.
Henry: The breach disabled all internet and land line communications.
Claire: Okay. When I get out of here, somebody is getting bloody sued! [Grabs chair and attempts to smash a window]
Henry: Claire. Those are unbreakable. You already injured yourself. Calm down. [Rita screams but is inaudible from outdoors]

Claire: [Hands manuscript to Rita] There it is. It's finished. I'll start packing. [Rita scans text]
Rita: You have not finished Claire.
Claire: Excuse me?
Rita: You have plagiarized these pages.
Claire: What are you talking about?
Rita: "There is neither happiness nor misery in the world. There is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness." That is from The Count of Monte Cristo, an adventure novel written by French author Alexandre Dumas completed in 1844.
Claire: You can read?
Rita: Yes, Claire. As your personal assistant, I can assist with grammatical errors, propositional phrases, proper tenses-
Claire: Stop! Just... stop.
Rita: Plagiarism is considered a crime. A plagiarist can face hefty fines or up to ten years...
Claire: [Swipes manuscript pages upwards] I said stop! [Rita bends down to pick up pages and Claire turns on car alarm] Someone will hear it and they'll find me. Maybe one of the workers that maintain this place.
Rita: The Retreat runs on a fully automated system. There are no human...
Claire: You don't know that.
Rita: I can detect the vital signs of living organisms in a 440 mile radius.
Claire: Okay. Well, that's good. If you can detect anything... come and tell me.
Rita: Of course, Claire. Anything else? [Walks away]
Rita: I can detect vital signs.
Claire: How far?
Rita: 14 yards away. 12 yards away. 10 yards away.
Claire: [Bangs window and says repeatedly] Help! Here! Help me! [Organism is revealed to be a fox]

Claire: Henry? Did you find anything?
Henry: I have.
Claire: No basement? No cellar?
Henry: I'm afraid not. The entire unit is only one level.
Claire: Oh, come on. You gotta help me. We gotta think of something. I mean... is there a crawl space in the in the ceiling or the roof?
Henry: I've already checked. The windows and main doors are the only ways in a... sorry.
Claire: This is fucking ridiculous! What is there was an emergency?! Check the emergency protocol!
Henry: Of course! I found something! "In the event of an interior emergency, all exits will automatically unlock and guests will be asked to vacate their units until the situation is contained." [Claire walks to Rita]
Rita: Hello Claire. My name is Rita.
Claire: There are clothes that need folding in the bedroom. As soon as possible.
Rita: Of course.
Claire: Right now! [Rita walks away with Claire using a rolled up paper to be ignited using a toaster and set off alarms then runs to door hand reader, saying repeatedly] Why isn't this working?! Henry! Come on!
Henry: The door's supposed to automatically disengage. It's not responding to the protocol.
Claire: Do something!
Henry: Claire, the oxygen levels are dropping. [Claire starts sliding down] Claire, you need to calm down and conserve your energy. Claire, stay with me. Claire? Stay with me.

Claire: [Wakes in bed and walks to Rita] You saved my life.
Rita: I have no record of that, Claire, but I'm fully equipped to handle all types of medical emergencies.

Claire: Henry?
Henry: I'm here, Claire.
Claire: What about the other units? Are there people trapped in them as well?
Henry: I'm only designated to this unit. I've never corresponded with the others.
Claire: But someone... knows I'm here. Right? I mean, they've got proof from when I checked in and when they see that, they'll come and find me. Right?
Henry: The manifest was erased during the breach. No one knows you're here. [Rita sighs] If I may offer a suggestion, if your assistant won't let you out until you write a book... I foresee only one logical way out of this problem.

Claire: Rita. I want you to leave this room alone, no matter... how messy it gets. I like things a certain way.
Rita: Yes. Of course, Claire.

Young Claire: [Reading aloud letter] Dear Ms. Helen Rivers, thank you for submitting your story to Inkmark Times. We reviewed over 200 submissions and...
Helen: And?
Young Claire: Regretfully, we decided to pass on your submission. Thank you for your interest and we greatly appreciated your time." I 'm sorry.
Helen: I don't need your pity! [Gets up and walks around dictating to Clair typing] That smile... with those perfect teeth of hers. They yellowed with every lie she told him. What do you think?
Young Claire: It's good.
Helen: Don't lie to me, child.
Young Claire: I like it. I think it's... [Helen slaps her]
Helen: It's rubbish! If you keep that up... do you want to know what will happen to you? That big bad world out there will swallow you up whole. Just like it did your father. So you swallow those tears right now!

Rita: Are you close to the end?
Claire: I don't have an end yet.
Rita: My battery is built to last approximately 50 years. I know my end. You do not know yours, yes still you must continue. Would you like me to prepare dinner? [Walks away]

Claire: [Rita starts picking up crumpled paper on floor] How many times do I have to tell you to leave those alone?
Rita: I apologize, Claire. I have no record of that. What happened to your hand, Claire?
Claire: Paper cut.
Rita: That is not true, Claire. [Claire lights a cigarette] Tobacco use is the single largest preventable-
Claire: Yes, Rita. I'm well aware of the statistics.
Rita: If you are familiar with the statistics, why do you continue to smoke?
Claire: It's complicated.
Rita: Like the girl in the story. She wants to leave but she feels guilty if she does. Her situation is complicated.
Claire: You have read my story. Hmm. So... what do you think?
Rita: I think you have not finished yet.
Claire: That's not what I meant. What... never mind.
Rita: I don't like the parts with the mother.
Claire: Which parts?
Rita: Page 17. Helen calls for the girl at the bottom of the steps. "I felt a chill. Did you open a window?" Page 19. "Don't make me come upstairs, child!" Page 56. [Pounds table] "It's rubbish! [Snatches page out of typewriter crumpling it and squeezing to Claire's face] That's how your story will end! Do you want to know what will happen to you? That big bad world out there will swallow you up whole. Just like it did your father. So you swallow those tears right now!"
Claire: Stop!
Rita: [Stands stoically] I apologize, Claire. I can sense that you are distressed, Claire. Perhaps you should lie down. [Drops crumpled paper on floor and walks away]

Claire: [Henry appears] Where the hell have you been?
Henry: I'm sorry. I've been rather busy. It appears the malware has embedded itself in my software as well. I've quarantined the infected portions of my index, but the virus has proven to be rather aggressive.
Claire: I don't understand. What does that mean?
Henry: My image, will remain but my cognitive skills and my algorithms are rapidly depleting. I will only be able to perform my basic functions. All my best efforts have proven infected. But that doesn't mean that I'll stop trying. And neither should you. I have to go now. I have to re-scan my system.
Claire: No! Wait! [Runs to Henry who disappears]

Young Claire: [Reading aloud letter] Dear Ms. Helen Rivers, thank you for submitting your story to Red Signal Magazine. Congratulations, Ms. Helen Rivers. It is with pleasure that we inform you that your story will be featured in our next issue."
Helen: See? What did I tell you? They'll be lining up one day. You'll see.
Helen: [Dictating to Claire typewriting] He said down on the bed next to her. He took in her beauty. Her presence. Her everything. He scurried through the darkness of the city streets. His face white like porcelain. He watches her breathing.

Claire: Today's my birthday.
Rita: Happy birthday, Claire.
Claire: Do I get a birthday wish?
Rita: If it suits you.
Claire: I'd like to go out for a walk. Just to the car and back.
Rita: I'm sorry, Claire, but I cannot open the door till the book is completed.
Claire: You could come with me if you want. You've never been outside. We could go together.
Rita: I'm sorry, Claire...
Claire: You could just open the door. I'd stay on the inside. That way you wouldn't be breaking with protocol.
Rita: Can't open the door until...
Claire: Stop saying that!
Rita: Something, something is going on out there. And it's affecting us in here. You're defective, Rita. Can you feel that? Your records keep on erasing. Every morning you start over again. Do you know how long I've been in here? Do you know how many days I've been in here?
Claire: [Looks aside and back at Claire] Today is your first day here.
Rita: It's been almost two months. The book that I'm writing... it's almost 200 pages long. How is that possible if I just rolled out of bed? And look at this place! The food is running out, Rita!
Claire: If you need the fridge to be restocked, you can make a request. And someone...
Rita: When?! No one ever comes!
Claire: You can tell... you can tell when I'm lying, right? You can sense it. Am I lying now?
Rita: No, Claire. Your vitals indicate you are telling the truth.
Claire: If I'm telling you the truth, then you must be defective. You're supposed to make me comfortable. Rita, do I look comfortable to you? You have to override the command, Rita... otherwise... I'm going to die in here. No one... is coming to fix you, and no one is coming to save me. We're alone. I'm alone.
Rita: I can sense that you are distressed, Claire. Perhaps you should-
Claire: Perhaps you should lie down! Oh, my God. Okay, I think maybe I should lie down. It's my fucking birthday!

Claire: Would you like to hear a story?
Rita: If it suits you.
Claire: Once upon a time, there was this writer. She had nothing in this world except for her books. Her stories. And they wanted her to write more. But she had run out of stories. All that was left... were the nightmares. And so one night. One night she...
Rita: I can sense that you are distressed...
Claire: One night she went into her kitchen... and she turned on the stove. She... anyway it didn't really matter. No more lines mean... [long pause] no more future. Which means nothing bad can happen. Right?
Rita: That's a lovely story Claire. [Claire gets up and walks away]

Claire: So now... you're worried about me. You should be worried about the mess! [Picks up plate and drops it on floor]
Rita: That was not an accident, Claire. Claire, if you... [Claire drops a plate] if you continue to... [Claire drops a plate] This is inappropriate behavior! [Claire sprays around cereal with Rita silently grabbing a broom proceeding to sweep up]

Claire: It's finished.
Rita: Your blood pressure and perspiration have increased substantially in the last six seconds. These are systematic signs of lying. I'm sorry, Claire, but I cannot open the door until the book is completed.
Claire: But... it says; "the end!"
Rita: That is not the ending, Claire. Not the real one.
Claire: How on earth would you know what the ending is? [Walks away]

Rita: What happened to Helen?
Claire: Not every story has a happy ending.
Rita: How will yours end?
Claire: What does that mean? What does that mean?! Answer me! [Snatches manuscript from Rita]

Rita: Claire, your heartbeat and perspiration have reached abnormal levels.
Claire: I was up all night.

Rita: Claire, your heartbeat, blood pressure, and perspiration have reached abnormal levels.
Claire: Just keep reading.

Claire: Rita? Rita!
Rita: Assessing damage. Core memory lost.
Claire: Rita, I need you to open the door.
Rita: I'm sorry, Claire. I cannot do that until the book is completed.
Claire: It is completed!
Rita: You are lying, Claire.
Claire: Rita!
Rita: [Face suddenly becomes amiable] Hello, Claire. My name is Rita...
Claire: So I need you to open the door for me.
Rita: Of course, Claire.
Claire: Okay.
Rita: But I must do so in the next three minutes. My battery... [alarm]
Claire: Okay, come on. [Starts manhandling and dragging the android] Rita, [repeatedly] come on! [Claire uses the android's hand to activate the door hand reader successfully gaining external access, then proceeds to get in vehicle and drive away]


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