Film Review: Christine

Christine

Antonio Campos’ Christine fleshes out the character behind the headlines. The film is a competent production with a great central performance.

Christine Chubbuck is a news journalist on a local television network in the 1970s. She is intent on delivering compelling stories, but faces the remonstrations of her boss. Meanwhile, she faces issues in her personal life.

Christine is a character study which takes place over a period of a few weeks. The film is not a biopic. Director Antonio Campos and screenwriter Craig Shilowich concentrate on a specific period. Within this time, facets of her past are revealed, yet the film never resorts to flashbacks to tell its story. Rather, the emphasis remains on the protagonist’s state of mind at the time, and how the story reaches its climax.

Characters in Christine are well developed. The protagonist is a convincing figure, and a number of the supporting roles are expanded to a good degree. Christine is not the warmest character but most viewers will be able to empathise with her. The problem-solving scene gives a great insight into her thought process. Also with an emphasis on the ethics of news reporting, the film straddles two main themes. The commentary on the latter, however, merely scratches the surface.

At two hours, the film sometimes loses its momentum. The journey taken by the protagonist covers a few different aspects of her life, and for the most part this is engaging. Despite the bleakness of the narrative, there is humour to be found in the film. For those who are aware of how the film will conclude, there is a tension that works rather well.

Rebecca Hall delivers the performance of her career so far as the title character in Christine. She is most convincing in the role. There is good support from Maria Dizzia and Michael C. Hall. The film features some good camera work.

Christine has some minor flaws, but Rebecca Hall’s performance will keep viewers watching until the final reel.

Christine is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2016.