In the near future a fortified border known as “the Line” separates a prosperous European capital city from the surrounding shantytowns full of the poor, migrants and refugees, all desperate to find a way in.

TOM, 17, is amongst a group of economic migrants stowed away in the back of a large container truck attempting to get across the Line. When they are attacked by a rival band of people traffickers Tom escapes, but many others are killed by a young thug who we will come to know as MONROE. All Tom has left of his old life is a postcard with the address of his aunt’s house on the other side of the Line, and the memories of the kind of man his father was.

Later, a hungry but tenacious Tom is befriended by two teenaged street kids: SHAM, and his younger sister MICKY. But Tom discovers that their friendship has a price when Sham sells him to a local gang run by a woman with a fearsome reputation called Mother Shelly.

About the same time DETECTIVE MOSLEY, a good cop compromised by fate and bad choices, presents himself to MOTHER SHELLY, who turns out to be an attractive woman in her mid-thirties. He offers to replace his recently deceased partner, who had been her informant and protector within the police. Mosley is given a fat envelope of money as a down payment for his services.

Sham and Micky take Tom to one of Mother Shelly’s enterprises, a noisy, busy Chinese restaurant where Tom has his first hot meal in months. While slurping noodles, Sham explains that the only way a kid can survive on this side of the Line is by belonging to someone like Mother Shelly. The initiation ends with Tom being painfully tattooed with the letter ‘S’, forever marking him as Mother Shelly’s property. Later, Micky tries to comfort him by showing him that she received the same tattoo. There’s an immediate connection between the two young people.

That night, Tom sneaks away from the squat where Micky and Sham live. He is hiding from some rowdy kids when he hears the sound of a crying baby.

He follows the sound to a parked car. Inside he finds a wounded gangster called DEVINE and a kidnapped BABY in an old leather Gladstone bag. Before he dies, Devine tells Tom that the baby was snatched from a wealthy singer called Tallis and can be ransomed for a lot of money. As Tom takes the baby, a police vehicle cruises by. Tom has the chance to give the baby over to the cops. He considers it…but instead walks off with the baby. The die is cast.

Tom thinks that the baby will be his means to finally get across the Line and find what remains of his family. For such a journey, though, Tom needs the street-smart Sham and Micky.

Back at the squat, Micky doesn’t want to get involved; she thinks they should hand the baby over to Mother Shelly. But Tom tells them that there’s bound to be a big reward for her, and the baby is probably the only chance they’ll ever have to escape from the badlands and get across the Line. Sham, on the other hand is keen. He can smell the money and knows that Micky will follow where he leads, even if she isn’t happy about the risk they are running.

But by not handing the baby over to Mother Shelly the three of them have effectively signed their own death warrants. Even with this threat hanging over their heads, for Tom this is a chance he can’t miss and they set off with the baby, aiming to reach one of the crossing points in the Line where they hope to use the baby to barter their way to freedom and a better life.

First they must get out of Mother Shelly’s territory before they can call the police and arrange the baby exchange for a ransom. Tom’s skills as a mechanic come into play as they steal a car and head for a part of the badlands called Tin Town, where Sham reckons it’ll be safe to arrange the swap.

This is a story about families. Broken families. Forming new families. And this new “family” is challenged and threatened at every step by the need to feed and care for the baby. Sure, the baby might just be their ticket to new life, but she could just as easily be the death of them all. Just having her in their possession could prove fatal; the baby proves to be worth even more than they suspected and it sometimes seems that every evil, bloodthirsty bastard in this evil, bloodthirsty world is baying at their heels.


En route to Tin Town, Sham senses that Tom and Micky are growing close and keeps a watchful eye on them.

Mother Shelly calls Mosley in. She has a job for him – find the kids who have stolen a valuable property from her, reclaim the property – the baby – and deal with the kids… permanently. “It’s about time you started earning your money…”

Our three young heroes make it to Tin Town, where they buy a phone card and make a call to the contact number in the newspapers.

Tension grows as they wait for the cops.

A few minutes before they’re due to make the swap – the COPS swoop. It’s very brutal: a nearby YOUNG COUPLE with a baby are beaten up, one of them shot.

Our heroes run off. Tom is profoundly shocked by what he has seen.

Also a witness, Detective Mosley, too, is shocked by the savage, unprovoked violence visited on the young couple.

Sham says they were fools to think they could handle the cops. They’re just street kids. They need someone to help them arrange things. He knows the perfect guy: an underworld fixer called Redman who’ll help them get a good price for the baby.

Before they get to Redman the baby gets sick with ‘slum fever’. The kids take a detour and find a clinic run by a religious charity. The baby has been threatening to pull this nascent family apart but now, as its life hangs in the balance, Tom and Micky and Sham are united in concern for the little thing.

The baby receives some treatment and is looking better, however Tom senses that the doctors are suspicious that it is not their baby. They decide to take the baby and run before the police get there.

They break into a seemingly abandoned trailer to get out of the weather. With the baby recovering they are in a jubilant mood. Sham manages to get hold of some booze and the three have an impromptu celebration party. The intense days they’ve shared and the stress of the baby’s fever have drawn the once hostile Micky and Tom closer. When Sham goes to get more drink Tom and Micky are on their own. Both a bit tipsy, they draw together and kiss. And everything changes…

Sham doesn’t catch them but he can sense this change. And now it’s not the baby that threatens the continuation of their newly formed family but it’s Sham and his jealousy. Will he be able to let his little sister go?

When they are alone Sham confronts Micky and threatens to do something nasty to Tom if they don’t cool it.

The next time Micky and Tom have a snatched word, as they trek toward Redman’s, Tom’s surprised by how cool she is towards him. In fact she’s trying to protect him.

The growing threat of Sham’s jealousy spilling into violence pervades the rest of the journey as the kids and the baby manage to stay just one step ahead of their pursuers, and somehow make it to Redman.

REDMAN receives them warmly and promises to help.

In a quiet moment while the baby is resting, Micky tells Tom how when her parents died Sham was the only family she had left, though sometimes he can be overprotective. Indeed, once a boy she liked disappeared when Sham found out about them.

Meanwhile, Redman is working on Sham. He’ll barter the baby. But to get the best price they’ll have to be nasty. Maybe post a little finger or a piece of an ear to the parents. Redman reveals himself to be a cold-blooded, ruthless man; he tells Sham they should get rid of Tom. After all, he’s served his purpose; now he’s just somebody else to split the ransom money with.

Just when we think Sham will side with Redman, Sham comes through. He confronts Redman and prevents an attempt on Tom’s life. Redman is vicious in reply, killing Sham. Before Redman can turn his gun on Tom, Micky drives a knife into his back.

Though Micky is clearly in a state of shock they grab the baby and flee. Tom tells Micky they have been going about things in the wrong way. From now on their main objective must be to protect the baby and return her to her family.

The weather’s getting bad and they must get the baby inside. Tom and Micky cut down a narrow alleyway to a tiny back yard and clamber over the wall. They find a rusting trailer and a nice old lady, MAXINE, who takes them in. A haven of peace among all the craziness. The hungry baby is crying for food. Maxine tells Tom there’s a shop a few streets away that should have something.

Tom is warily making his way towards the shop when he is suddenly knocked flying as a pick-up truck slams to a stop in front of him. Tom is grabbed by a couple of men and taken to Monroe, now a rival of Mother Shelly, who has heard about the baby.

Monroe wants to know where the baby is – and he’s willing to torture Tom to find out. Recognizing Monroe as the ruthless killer who attacked the truck, Tom refuses to say anything, in spite of the pain.

Infuriated, Monroe threatens to kill Tom if he doesn’t tell him where the baby is. But even this doesn’t shake Tom’s resolve. His death seems imminent – then everything changes. We see the events unfold through Tom’s semi-conscious point of view as explosions echo around him and Monroe and his henchmen suddenly vanish.

Tom looks up to see his father emerging through the smoke. There’s a touching moment between them… then Tom’s vision of his father shifts – it is Detective Mosley standing over him. Monroe and his two henchmen lie dead.

As Mosley tends to Tom’s wound he tries to learn the location of the baby. Though he is groggy, Tom demands safe passage over the Line in return.

Tom takes Mosley to pick up Micky and the baby from Maxine’s trailer.

Micky is furious with Tom for leading a policeman to them. She has never trusted the cops in the badlands, for good reason. But Tom convinces Micky he has made a deal that’s good for them.

Maxine recognizes Mosley and says she can tell that, though he has done bad things in the past, he’s a good man at heart and will do the right things for these kids. And while there is still some ambiguity about Mosley’s intentions, this statement of trust does seem to touch him.

They are heading towards the Line and safety when KWAME, one of Mother Shelly’s men, cuts them off. He demands to know what Mosley is up to. While Mosley is trying to talk his way out of trouble, Tom and then Micky get out of the car to tell Mosley that they must get the baby back to her mother as soon as possible.

Provoked by this revelation and now knowing that Mosley has been lying to him, Kwame pulls his gun. Angry at having his hand forced, Mosley has to shoot Kwame before he can fire.

Whatever his original intentions had been, Mosley realizes Tom and Micky have outsmarted him.

Mosley drives them to a crossing in the well-fortified Line – Crossing 23.

With his police credentials Mosley doesn’t expect any trouble getting them across the Line. However, when he gets there, the GUARDS there say he can cross but the two youngsters and the baby can’t because they don’t have the proper papers.

Tom and Micky can see all their plans for the future slipping away; they can’t even make a run for it, there are too many armed men.

Mosley demands to see a more senior official. This SENIOR OFFICIAL understands the power of Mosley’s argument and the fat envelope of money – Mother Shelly’s money – that he slips him.

They drive through the Line into the city, with Mosley keeping a wary eye in his rear view mirror. He doesn’t like seeing the Senior Official deep in conversation with the Guards. They are not out of jeopardy yet.

When they are out of sight, under an overpass, Mosley stops the car at the side of the road. He tells Tom and Micky that they are being followed. The two of them will have to take the baby to the Tallis family on their own, while he leads their pursuers away.

After a hurried goodbye with Detective Mosley Tom and Micky race through the glass and steel maze of towering buildings out to a residential district to find the Tallis house.

They arrive at a street clogged with the assembled media and their trucks. Carrying the baby in the bag, they have to walk past the crowd of reporters and cops undetected until they can find a quiet side street.

They make their way through the shadows and surreptitiously place the bag with baby in front of the front door and after the two of them say their goodbyes to the baby, Tom rings the bell – then they hurry away to watch from a safe distance as Mrs Tallis opens the door to see her missing baby.

The PHOTOGRAPHERS and CAMERAMEN see the emotional reunion on the doorstep and press forward to record it, and in the commotion no one pays any attention to two young people holding hands and walking quietly away – Tom and Micky.

Guided only by the crumbled photograph Tom and Micky make their way through the city to his Aunt’s house.

Micky is worried that she will be out of place with Tom’s family and that they won’t like her.

Tom say “Who cares if they like you or not? I like you.”

They stare at each other – two young lovers. Finally, after a long pause, Micky gives a small smile, and holding hands, they continue towards the house.


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