Tag: Rachel Weisz


Denial

October 11th, 2016 — 7:09am

 

****

Denial-spimages

We are always drawn to a good movie that keeps alive the memory of the Holocaust so we will never forget this horrific world event. This film certainly did not disappoint us. It is a docudrama based on the true story of a libel suit brought by David Irving (Timothy Spall) a British “so-called” historian who claimed that the Holocaust never occurred. He was viciously attacked for his “Holocaust denial” by Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) a professor from Emory University. She and her publisher Penguin Books had to defend themselves in a libel suit in Great Britain because of how she excoriated Irving for his denial of the truth of the Nazi extermination of millions of Jews.

In England, the law demands that the defendants in libel suits prove their affirmation which means in this case that Ms. Lipstadt’s side not only had to prove that her assertions were totally accurate but also that the Holocaust denial by Irving were purposeful lies due to his anti-Semitism. Her defense team consisted of her behind-the-scenes “Advocate” Anthony Jewels (Andrew Scott) who had actually been Princess Diana’s divorce attorney and his associates along with her “Barrister” Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkinson) who spoke for her in court. Agonizing decisions had to be made whether to allow Ms. Lipstadt to testify as well as various Holocaust survivors and whether to have a judge-only proceeding instead of a jury trial( no, no yes). This was a high-stakes courtroom drama, British style. Everyone was up to the task. The words flowed from the real Ms. Lipstadt’s book converted into a screenplay by David Hare directed by Film and TV veteran Mick Jackson.

We are given the impression that Ms. Lipstadt was passionately motivated in her teaching about the Holocaust and that Mr. Rampton was obviously devoted to making her case and proving Irving was a liar motivated by his anti-semitism. However, we are barely given a glimpse into the personal lives of these characters and what drove their passion. Nevertheless, we come away from this well done and very well acted movie with insight into another aspect of this never to be forgotten piece of history. (2016)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama, History

The Deep Blue Sea

April 18th, 2012 — 9:53pm

***

The Deep Blue Sea- rm–  This movie is set in about the 1950s in post World War II London. It focuses on the troubled personality of Hester Collyer   (magnificently nuanced performance by Rachel Weisz) who is unhappily married to a much older but caring British judge, Sir William Collyer (Simon Russel). After a chance meeting with Freddie Page, dashing former RAF pilot, (Tom Hiddleston) Hester moves out of her passionless, childless marriage to live with this new lover. She soon realizes that between his drinking and his self-centeredness, he has very little to offer her. On the other hand it becomes clear that she is obsessed with her neediness and passion for him. She is caught between a marriage that doesn’t work for her and an attraction and dependency that is equally doomed. This would seem to leave her with tremendous emptiness and a tumble towards a suicidal despair, which is emotionally enhanced by Barbe’s Concerto for Violin and Orchestra op 14.  The story is based on a play by Terrence Rattigan and is written and directed by Terrence Davies who uses various flashbacks to try to fill in the back-story. Any student of a psychological drama such as this one yearns to know the determinants of this troubled character. We are only told that her father was a Church Vicar who was quite demanding of her. We are also shown that she was a young woman of wartime London and all the insecurities that must have brought to her.  One poignant scene in the subway during a bombing attack during the war and another of children playing in the rubble give us hints of what may have added up to her tremendous neediness and the fleeting attraction to this war hero. Even if all our intellectual understanding of this character were not fully satisfied, Rachel Weisz conveyed the emotional substance with which we could identify and by which we could be moved. (2012)

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama, Foreign

The Whistleblower

July 22nd, 2011 — 5:24pm

****

The Whistleblower-Sp  This is a documdrama about Kathryn Bolkovac (Rachel Weisz)  a divorced policewoman from Nebraska who signed up with a company providing contracted services to the United Nations involved with peace keeping and training local police to investigate crimes in Bosnia shortly after the end of the war there. She comes to realize that young girls are being forced into sexual slavery. She discovers much to her disbelief that not only are local police involved by accepting bribes to look the other way while these young women are forced into prostitution but many of them are involved in the abuse of them. She soon further realizes that her fellow police officers of the international force contracted to work in Bosnia.  including the Americans  are deeply involved as are many of the diplomats all of whom have diplomatic immunity. Director  Larysa Kondracki co-wrote this story with Eilis Kirwan. They have been working on this project for 8 years since their Columbia Film School days. An all star cast of Vanessa Redgrave Monica Bellucci and David Strathairn bring top notch acting to this movie. Kondracki and Kirwan  chose to focus their story on the real person  of Boklovac whom they met in Holland where she now lives with her children and  Dutch husband whom she  met in Bosnia. The filmmakers describe how the film is quite accurate and if anything the abuse and maltreatment of the girls is minimized in the film compared to what really happened to them.  They chose to try to tell the story of this whistleblower character played by Weisz and also particularly bring to life one of girls who is an important part of the plot and who dared to speak against her enslavers and dearly paid for doing so.  As you understand how so many people are involved in what is a multi-million dollar or if not billion dollar industry of human trafficking, you realize how much danger Kathery Bolkovac is in. It is at this point in the movie which is not only is a social commentary on an important issue but it is now become an effective  mystery thriller. In the end the viewer cannot help but feel enraged and angry as well as enlightened.. Ms Kondracki shared with us that the office of the United Nations Secretary General is actually trying to decide how they should respond to this film and whether they will support it or speak out against it. This demonstrates how revealing and powerful this movie is as it depicts what was happening 10 years ago in Bosnia and which the filmmakers believe is still a major problem throughout the world. This is not a feel good movie and in fact is quite the opposite. But it is definitely worth seeing. (2011)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Documentary

The Lovely Bones

January 16th, 2010 — 2:44am

The Lovely Bones* * *
The Lovely Bones
– sp – Early in the film, narrator of the story tells you what everyone who has read the book already knows and that is that she has been murdered at age 14 and she will not get a chance to live out the life to which she was looking forward. The movie shows her in the space between living on earth and heaven while she waits for things to be resolved. It was very easy for us to identify with 1970s family and watch the unimaginable horror that they felt after the disappearance and evidence of the killing of their daughter and then to see it dissolve into what we shrinks call complicated grief. The young girl played by Saoirse Ronan an Irish actress with no accent at all who was 13 during the making of the film radiated all the freshness and anticipation that you would hope a youngster would have at that stage of life. That made the tragedy of her murder all the more difficult as we saw the glimmers of her first love never to be realized during her lifetime. However Director and Producer Peter Jackson was intent on making this more than just a good 10 pm Special Victims Unit or CSI TV show. The script that he, his wife Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens wrote based on the popular novel by Alice Sebold created a beautiful ethereal existence for our lost soul where she observes the struggles of her family and the mystery of her unsolved murder. Jackson then brings the special effects for which he is known as other characters in this special place are also introduced. Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz are on the mark as the parents and Stanley Tucci is the villain that is any parent’s nightmare. Executive Producer Ken Kamins related that to his surprise the movie “tested off the charts” with young teenage girls who obviously identified with the 14 year old victim and her aspirations and maybe even more so with her younger sister who we see grow to age 18 and become a heroine in her own right. While the movie provided suspense and held our interest, we were too much in pain to even be happy when she eventually makes it to heaven. (2009)

Rachel Weisz

Comment » | 3 Stars, Action, Crime, Drama

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