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.

Film Review: Kill Your Darlings

kill your darlings

Based on incident concerning the Beat Generation, Kill Your Darlings is a sufficiently entertaining slice of history.

Allen Ginsberg, an aspiring writer, heads of to Columbia with the hopes of furthering his career. Whilst there, he meets Lucian Carr, whose striking personality and attitude strikes the attention of Ginsberg. When a major incident occurs, the lives of Ginsberg, Carr, William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac…

John Krokidas’ Kill Your Darlings features a well-known protagonist, although the film revolves around less familiar events. It is interesting to see a depiction of these famous writers before they became acclaimed.

The film throws up some interesting elements during the course of the narrative. The main incident acts like a catalyst to explore the darker side to their lifestyles. It is almost like a device to consider the young writers’ ideas.

The film posits this period as exciting, and full of intellectual potential. However, Krokidas also emphasises the rivalry and pressure between the group of friends. The film does not offer a rose-tinted view of events; there is a seediness which is inescapable. Pacing in the film could have been stronger. There are moments were the narrative falters, with attention displaced on generating the mood.

Chaos in Kill Your Darlings is projected in a suitable fashion, although there is some repetition in scenes as Krokidas seems to overemphasise his point. The limited budget for the production seems to have limited locations. Music in the film is good.

Daniel Radcliffe offers an assured performance as Allen Ginbsurg. The actor is convincing in the role. It is Dane DeHaan who really shines as Lucien Carr. DeHaan is really exhibiting his range since last year’s Chronicle. Michael C. Hall is also good in a supporting role.

Kill Your Darlings offers good performances and purposeful reproduction of the period. Certainly worthwhile viewing for fans of the writers depicted.