M FILM – Life in a War Zone

A Thousand Times Good Night opens with a harrowing sequence as a group of women attend a burial in the desert outside of Kabul.

A Thousand Times Good Night opens with a harrowing sequence as a group of women attend what seems to be a burial in the desert outside of Kabul.

But the “corpse” isn’t dead – yet. She’s participating in a grim ritual before donning a vest loaded with explosives en route to martyrdom as a suicide bomber.

Watching all this unfold is celebrated war-zone photographer Rebecca (Juliette Binoche, The English Patient), her camera clicking fiercely.

But the mission goes awry, Rebecca is seriously hurt in a premature explosion, and her husband, Marcus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones), comes to shepherd her back home to her family in far-away Ireland.

Rebecca quickly discovers that she has traded one war zone for another: Her two young daughters are horrified at her near-death experience, and Marcus is so furious at what he sees as her self-indulgent recklessness that he demands she quit her job…or say goodbye to her family.  “Do you have any idea what it’s like waiting for that call to collect your body?” he barks.

Rebecca heals slowly from her wounds, and gradually reconnects with her daughters.

Even angry Marcus eventually stops sleeping on the couch and re-bonds with the fearless woman with a bottomless passion for social justice.

Rebecca vows to lead a quieter life, but events quickly slip sideways during a supposedly safe trip to a refugee camp in Kenya with her teenage daughter. The resulting crisis and its aftermath effectively dramatize the conflict between duty and family that forms the heart of the film.

Directed by Norway’s Erik Poppe (Troubled Water), who, himself, used to be a war photographer for Reuters, Thousand is powerful, honest, and thoughtful. Appropriately for a film about a photographer, it is also handsomely shot.

Although nobody is likely to accuse this drama of being overly subtle, it does a fine job of examining both the possibly mixed motives of this risk-taking mother and the harsh impact her choices have on her family.

But what really brings the film to life is the powerful and marvellously nuanced performance by Binoche. Is Oscar watching?

Thousand opens at the Vic Theatre on October 24 for a one-week run.

Rating: ***1/2

Stars Juliette Binoche and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

Directed by Erik Poppe

 

COMING SOON:

John Wick

Keanu Reeves stars as an ex-hitman who comes roaring out of retirement to take revenge on gangsters who make the mistake of messing with him. Co-starring Willem Dafoe and Ian McShane.

 

St. Vincent

A crass misanthrope (Bill Murray) mostly interested in drinking and gambling takes a young, lonely kid under his wing. The great cast for this comedy-drama includes Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O’Dowd, and Terrence Howard.

 

Rosewater

Late-night satirist Jon Stewart wrote the screenplay for and directed this true-life story of Maziar Bahari, a journalist who was brutally interrogated in Iran on trumped-up charges. Starring the great Gael Garcia Bernal.

 

Nightcrawler

This crime thriller features Jake Gyllenhaal as a budding crime reporter who delves, rather too enthusiastically, into the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles. With Rene Russo and Bill Paxton.

Before I Go To Sleep

Nicole Kidman plays a woman with complete amnesia due to a traumatic accident in her past.

When certain memories begin to emerge, she starts to question what she thinks she knows – and whether she should believe her husband and her doctor.

This suspense-fest also stars Mark Strong and Colin Firth.

Interstellar

Christopher Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight) blasts off into outer space for a trippy sci-fi thriller starring Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine and Matthew McConaughey.

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Trio of rock shows rescheduled for Alix Goolden Hall

Bowie tribute show, Martin Barre’s Jethro Tull show and Tommy Emmanuel all booked for late fall

Province announces $3M in funding for arts groups hit by COVID-19 crisis

BC Arts Council to administer support for both organizations and individual artists

Opera from a social distance: Taking it to the web

Pacific Opera Victoria launching two weekly podcasts to educate and stay in touch with listeners

Victoria Quarantunes playlist encourages support for struggling artists

Victoria brewpub creates local playlist after restaurant closes in response to COVID-19

Retired Victoria record store owner pens a poem for these ‘strange times’

Joey Scarfone offers his creative commentary on the scenario wrought by a pandemic

Netflix reducing video quality in Canada to lower Internet bandwidth use

Bell Media is also planning traffic measures affecting the Crave streaming service

Will the show go on? B.C. music festivals consider options for 2020

Summer events running out of time to stay on schedule, in wake of COVID-19 uncertainties

Relief fund for Canadian performing artists gets $100,000 boost from foundation

Facebook started the fund with a first $100,000 donation last week

Henley, Tucker, Cyrus and others mourn the death of Rogers

Country music icon remembered as a crossover pioneer, a supporter of young artists

Self-isolating? National Film Board of Canada has over 4,000 free films online

A wide range of documentaries, animated films and short films are on the NFB website

Music industry feeling the effects of COVID-19 pandemic

Island musicians, promoters and producers alike reeling from cancellations, venue bans

Joseph Blake: 10 amazing CDs to explore in our COVID-19 isolation

Longtime music writer shares his favourite records from his vast collection

Most Read