22 May 2017

Flood

Flood 2007
  • Director: Tony Mitchell
  • Based on the book by Richard Doyle
  • Cast: Robert Carlyle, Jessalyn Gilsig, Tom Courtney, Joanne Whalley, David Suchet, Nigel Planer, Tom Hardy, David Hayman
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Robert Carlyle – Stargate Universe, Stone of Destiny, 28 weeks later, Hitler, Black and White, Beach, The World Is Not Enough, The Full Monty, Carla’s Song, Trainspotting, Go Now, Riff-raff
    • Tom Courtney – Quartet, Last Orders, Whatever Happened to Harold Smith, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Doctor Zhivago, The Loneliness of a Long Distance Runner
    • Joanne Whalley – Wolf Hall, Dance with a Stranger
    • Daivd Suchet – The Hollow Crown, Great Expectations, A Perfect Murder
    • Nigel Planer – Bright Young Things, Black Adder
    • Tom Hardy – Mad Max Fury Road, The Dark Knight Rises, Soldier Sailor Tinker Spy, Inception
    • David Hayman – London Spy, Macbeth, The Hollow Crown, Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, My Name is Joe, Smilla’s Sense of Snow, Rob Roy, Sid and Nancy
  • Why? Robert Carlyle
  • Seen: 20 May 2017

       A London disaster film with Robert Carlyle. Just what I need after a time away from movie-watching.
       As floods and storms ravage Scotland, London looks bright and sunny but disaster is rapidly approaching.
       A family drama – Tom Courtney who is estranged from his son Robert Carlyle who is estranged from his wife Jessalyn Gilsig, all experts in flood control – weaves in and out as catastrophe rushes towards London.
       Too exciting. Can’t write. Back later.
       … The suspense is unrelenting. It seems entirely realistic. How can they film this? The personal dramas are far too close to the sentimental but these are British actors, most of them recognised from dozens of other roles. They can handle it but the writing could have been better.
       The biggest star is London.

3 ½ * of 5   


Jude

Jude 1996
  • Director: Michael Winterbottom
  • Based on the book by Thomas Hardy
  • Cast: Christopher Eccleston, Kate Winslet, Liam Cunningham, Rachel Griffiths
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Christopher Eccleston – Fortitude, Doctor Who, 28 Days Later, The Others, eXistenZ, Elizabeth, Shallow Grave
    • Kate Winslet – Contagion, The Reader, The Holiday, Little Children, Romance and Cigarettes, Extras, Finding Neverland, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Hideous Kinky, Titanic, Hamlet, Sense and Sensibility
    • Liam Cunningham – Doctor Who, Merlin,
    • Rachel Griffiths – Six Feet Under, Ned Kelly, Very Annie Mary, Blow, Hilary & Jackie, Muriel’s Wedding
  • Why? Christopher Eccleston and the novel
  • Seen: 26 March 2017 with Hal and YW in our read-book-see-film group      

       In my next life I’m going to be a movie director making movies in England. This one starts with outstandingly beautiful black and white Wessex landscapes.
       I love this novel. It’s the tragic story of Jude, a poor country stonemason who aspires to become a scholar. Class rigidity puts unsurmountable obstacles in his way. Youthful foolish passion for Arabella locks him into late 19th century gender prison. He marries, is separated from his wife, meets the love of his life, Sue. Because he can’t marry her she marries another. In defiance of conventional morality Sue and Jude live together. It does not go well. None of Jude’s dreams are achieved.
       The novel is an impassioned protest against religion and marriage. Jude is ruled by naïve passions, Sue by intellectual questioning.
       Eccleston does a very strong Jude. Griffiths is good as Arabella, though too thin. Winslet has her moments but is too 1990’s to portray the truly radical but innocent 1880’s Sue. A small detail perhaps but having Sue smoke cigarettes doesn’t work at all. Explicit sex scenes jar badly with the novel’s supressed and agonised passion. Other odd directorial choices make this film less good than it should be. The beautifully done scenes of the landscapes and towns are not enough to evoke the atmosphere of Hardy’s bleak and pessimistic novel, nor the depth and complexity of the characters.
       It was a happy surprise to see David Tennant (the tenth Doctor Who after Eccleston’s Nine) pop up in a very short scene as a scholar but even that is not enough to make this film the masterpiece that the novel is.
       The last twenty minutes are strong but not at all like the novel.
       The scenery as a separate entity and Eccleston as Jude get 5 * but the film as a whole

2 ½ * of 5