A MURDER OF CROWS
“No doubt the deepest movie I have ever watched”.
Transcribed by and placed on the website of: Gary Washington, AKA The Uncle Gary
The picture begins with a lawyer named Lawson Russell played by Cuba Gooding Jr. being dropped off at a prison by guards. They remove his ankle and wrist chains and escort through the prison gates. After processing him, taking prints, and providing him a shower etc., they escort him to his cell. As he walks down the gallery towards his cell, inmates started yelling antagonistic remarks from inside their cells. They either recognizes him as being a lawyer that may have defended them or just by a reputation he had. The guards open his cell, uncuff him and closes it. Cuba sits down and stares at the bars. At this point, the movie takes us back in time to show how he wound up in prison.
Cuba is at home in his study smoking a cigarette and in deep thought. While he was sitting at his desk, a man wearing a devil-looking mask picked the lock to one of the doors and entered his home. Cuba’s back is to the door of his study and unaware of this man approaching him from behind. After careful thought, Cuba picked up the phone and called the judge on a case he was trying in court. The man in the mask was about to kill Cuba but he paused when Cuba called the judge. It appears the decision to kill Cuba was based on what he said to the judge. Cuba told the judge he wanted to recluse himself from the case. The judge was upset because Cuba had the case won. The judge couldn’t understand whey Cuba wanted to withdraw from the case. But evidently, this decision to recluse himself satisfied the man in the mask because he turned around and snuck back out of the house and disappeared into the night.
As it turns out, Cuba’s client was named Thurman Parks, III. His father was rich and had the judge in his pocket. That’s why the judge was so angry. He couldn’t take a chance on Thurman be found guilty on a mistrial. Thurman’s father would probably stop supporting the judge. That is what would happen if Cuba withdrew as his lawyer. A mistrial would mean new trial in which Thurman could possibly be found guilty.
Thurman was on trial for the murder and rape of a young lap dancer. The killer had stuck her panties down her throat. A horrible murder. As his lawyer, Cuba was convincing the jury that Thurman was innocent. But while in Cuba’s office, Thurman asked Cuba if they were going to win. Cuba replied, “you bet your ass we are”. Thurman was so excited, he let slip out, “I told that bitch I would walk.” This was the first time Cuba realized that Thurman was guilty.
Cuba started to hate Thurman as he thought about what he had done to that girl. He told the judge in his chambers that he could not further represent Thurman since now he knew he was guilty. But the judge told Cuba, if he messed up this case, he personally would see to it that Cuba be disbarred and never practice law ever again anywhere.
After the recess, the judge ordered Cuba to get back in the courtroom and finish the case. Cuba didn’t say anything. But he had something up his sleeve. He would not be a party to Thurman going free. Cuba returned back into the courtroom.
As he sat down at the attorney table, he picked up the sick picture of the girl with her panties stuffed down her throat. The more he looked at it, the more he hated Thurman, III. For a while he was deaf to the judge calling him to proceed. Suddenly, he regained focus and called Thurman, III to the stand.
Instead of asking questions an attorney would ask, he acted as prosecutor and drilled him with questions that he could not answer and implied he killed and raped the girl. The judge was so furious, he charged Cuba with contempt of court and ordered Cuba out of the court and placed into custody. Of course, he was fired as Thurman’s attorney and could not practice law anymore anywhere as ruled by the supreme court of Louisiana.
The next scene shows Cuba packing up his belongings from his law office and having dinner with a female lawyer friend of his. She had bailed him out. They had been friends for a long time.
As they talked, Cuba felt sorry for himself. He was trying to ease the pain of what he had done over a drink. But she assured him he had done the right thing. That he had done the moral thing. He still found excuses for thinking he should have upheld his sworn duty to represent his client to the best of his ability whether guilty or innocent instead of letting his emotions throw the case.
His friend asked him what he was going to do now. He thought he might go down to key West where his father had kept a town house. He said he may even finish a novel he had been working on.
The next scene shows Cuba in the Florida Keys. He had been there about 15 months nickel and diming it as a fishing guide. Business had been slow, and it got to the point where he was running out of money. So, he took a job taking people out to sea to fish.
One day this old white man wearing a sports coat and hat approached him at the dock. Cuba was asleep on his boat with a drink still in his hand. The old man woke him and introduced himself as Mr. Marlowe and asked if he would take him out fishing. Cuba jumped at the job because he needed the money. So, off to sea they went. While fishing, Cuba looked at the old man and thought there was something odd about him. But he couldn’t put his finger on it.
When they returned, they went for a drink. While sitting at the bar, the old man checked the time. He gave the impressions that he didn’t like lawyers during their chatting. He pulled out a pocket watch to check the time. When he opened it, it played a rare tune, “My country Tis of Thee”, that would play a part in the mystery that was about to develop.
After they finished at the bar, Cuba walked Mr. Marlowe to his house. They shook hands and departed as friends.
The next morning, Cuba sat at his computer to try and write some more on a book that he had been working on for over a year. There was a knock on the door. It was Mr. Marlowe. He had brought Cuba a gift. It was a manuscript entitled “A Murder of Crows”. He said nobody knew he had wrote it. He simply gave it to Cuba and asked him to read it and tell him what he thought. Said it would be life changing for him. He assured him he could take his time and to drop it back off when he was done.
When the old man left, Cuba was about to type a few more words on the book he was writing but decided he would take a glance at the old man’s manuscript. Cuba began reading. It was entitled “A Murder of Crows”. It was about 5 highly paid defense attorneys all with very rich clients – who were guilty. All very nasty bad guys who deserved to be put away; but they all were acquitted. Instead of going after the acquitted bad guys, the killer goes after the attorneys. Each of the 5 attorneys wound up dead in the book. Each murder had been elaborately planned and perfectly executed. Cuba couldn’t put the book down – the book was brilliant. Simply put, it was a masterpiece.
The next morning, Cuba stopped by the bar looking for the Mr. Marlowe. The bartender said the old man had stopped by but wasn’t feeling well and went home. So, Cuba went to Mr. Marlowe’s house to return the manuscript. When he arrived, the police were outside the old man’s house. There was a policeman, who had a thick black mustache standing by his car. There was something vaguely familiar about this policeman; but Cuba tossed this notion aside and asked what had happened. The policeman told him an old man had died during the night. Cuba took a shot in the dark and jokingly asked if the old man’s name happened to be Mr. Marlowe. The police said yes. Cuba was appalled. He couldn’t believe that he had just talked with him last night.
As Cuba was about to walk away, he realized he still had Mr. Marlowe’s manuscript in his hand. So, he turned back around and asked the policeman what would be done with Mr. Marlowe’s possessions. The policeman said they would go to the state since he had no will or next of kin. Cuba stood there wondering what he should do with the manuscript. He was probably thinking he should give it to the policeman. But then decided he would keep it. The book just might be his way out of his poverty since he knew it would sell millions of copies. So, he turned and headed home.
When he got home, he paced the floor a little trying to decide what he would do. Since he didn’t write the book, he was unsure of what he would do with it. If he tried to make it his, it would be stealing. Then it hit him! Why not! Forget morals. He had tossed his moral aside when he misrepresented Thurman, III.
So, he sat at his typewriter and began typing. The title of his new book would be “The Murder of Crows” by Lawson Russell. He used the title the old man had given it but used his own name as the author. He reasoned since the old man was dead and Cuba was the only one to see the manuscript besides the old man who could prove Cuba didn’t write it.
After a commercial, the picture comes back on with Cuba getting out of a Yellow Cab in front of this huge office building. He had submitted the manuscript to 5 different publishing houses. The first to call back was Devrie Publishing.
As he stepped off the elevator, he was greeted by the administrative assistant. She shook his hand and escorted him into the office where all the staff members were waiting for him. They had assembled a party in honor of his masterpiece, “The Murder of Crows”. The all greeted him with smiles, laughter and applauds. He knew they would like the book, but he had no idea he would get this kind of reception. The administrative assistant took Cuba to her house where they made love. Afterwards they fell asleep. Cuba was suddenly awakened by a lot of noise coming from birds outside. He went to the window and there were several “crows” gathered in a tree outside. Cuba looked as though this was some sort of omens.
The book sold millions and Cuba became a millionaire overnight. At a book signing, one of the guys standing in line was named Mr. Dubose. After Cuba signed a copy of the book for him, he made an odd remark, thanked him and left. The movie shows Cuba looking at the man strangely.
Also, in the line was his friend, the lady lawyer. He had neglected her for his new found, fame and fortune. He felt rather uncomfortable knowing he seemed to be too good for her friendship now that he was famous. He asked her what she thought of the book as he signed a copy for her. She said, she thought the book was dark – not something she could picture him writing. But she congratulated him anyway. In his mind, Cuba could feel himself losing touch with the only descent thing in his life. He almost felt she suspected he didn’t write the book.
During his signing the administrative assistant leaned or him and when he was free, they wanted to discuss an advance on his next book; but in his mind he knew there would be no next book.
After the above scene, the movie shows someone with latex gloves on putting a copy of the book in the mail and sending it to a detective Debose. Debose had been working on the recent murder of 5 lawyers that had been killed after successfully defending rich clients that were guilty.
In the next scene, Detective Debose had just entered the police station and was on his way to his office. When he got into his office, he started sifting through his mail tossing some in the garbage. But when he came across the large manila envelope, he began opening it. Inside was the “Murder of Crows”.
After his shift ended and he went home, he got relaxed in his Lazy Boy chair and began reading the book. When he finished, he realized that the five murders he was working on was described right down to the color of the carpet in the book. The only person that could have known that information was the killer. The police had never released many of the details to the press.
The detective went to Cuba’s apartment with assisting officers and waited for him. When Cuba pulled up in his car the detective got out of his car along with two more officers and arrested him. In the detective’s mind, Cuba had sent him the book playing with him. Why would Cuba send him a book that described 5 murders that actually happened unless he just wanted to be caught.
At the police station, Cuba had no idea what was going on. Then Detective Debose and the prosecutor that prosecuted the Thurman, III case came into the interrogation room. Cuba demanded to know what all this was about. The prosecutor said, it seems like the 5 murders you described in your book were all true. They really happened exactly as you described in your book. Cuba said that it had to be some kind of coincidence. The prosecutor only had one question for Cuba, where did he get his information that he wrote in the book.
Cuba was now dumbfounded. He had no way of proving that he didn’t write the book even if he wanted to say he didn’t. He had destroyed the only evidence that someone else wrote it and that was the manuscript itself. He had burned it all in his fireplace. The detective concluded that Cuba was there at all the murders and was the killer. At this point, Cuba said he wanted to speak with an attorney. The only person who would help him was his friend the lady attorney. She came to the station and bailed him out.
Suddenly, Cuba was arrested. The problem was that the 5 murders in the book described exactly to the last detail, the murders the detective had been working on. I paused at this point where Cuba was speechless in explaining how he knew every detail of the 5 murders the detective was working on and had described them in the book.
Since the only evidence they had on Cuba was his intimate knowledge of the murders, and although a profound coincidence, they could not detain him. They needed corroborating evidence. Someone could have told him about the murders. However, they had received a search warrant to search Cuba’s house. While searching, they found pictures of all the dead lawyers somewhere in his house. Cuba was there while they were searching, and they placed him under arrest when they found the pictures. While trying to handcuff him, Cuba escaped.
From there, he went on a journey to try and find who had framed him. Eventually, he wound up at this professor’s house, and found a mask in his closet of the old man. In other words, the old man was not an old man at all. He had just worn an old man mask. Cuba was confronted by the professor who came home unexpectedly and just when he was about to shoot Cuba, the detective who believed Cuba was guilty had sneaked into the house. He had put together some pieces that indicated Cuba was possibly not guilty. So, he had followed him. Unfortunately, the detective was shot by the professor. But Cuba managed to wrestle the professor to the ground and finally shoot him.
Cuba still had to go to trial. One of his friends got him the best attorney money could buy. He got Cuba off and the Murder of Crows became one of the most famous books in history. This was because it was a book that gave a true account of how murders happened in complete detail.