Music Played1 item
Billy Taylor I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free
The story of the early years of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward and his drug-addict brother who helped train him.
Claudia: Christian Bale who’s up for the best supporting actor Oscar is fabulous in this. But for me the star is Amy Adams who has to play quite a complicated role with very little time. David O’Russell also did a fantastic job, using a documentary style camera to follow Bale’s character - you don’t realise the extent to which he’s addicted to crack but there are very moving scenes when he’s been in prison and he goes back to the crack house. The fight scenes are quite nerve-racking, they lift you up off your seat. It combines everything, I couldn’t recommend it enough.
Danny: Bale’s performance is massive and outlandish, Wahlberg is much more low key - but they’re both great performances and it almost seems unfortunate that Wahlberg doesn’t have a nomination. You’ve got two blueprints for boxing movies; Raging Bull and Rocky – it’s not as intense as Raging Bull but the film does go to some very dark places at the beginning. It’s a portrait of a very sick family dynamic that damages both the brothers hugely. It’s only about two thirds of the way through that it becomes a much more conventional movie, like Rocky. But that’s not a criticism, both aspects are done really, really well. It’s an impressive bit of film-making.
Rabbit Hole - Claudia's film of the week
Life for a happy couple is turned upside down after their young son dies in an accident. Based on a play by David Lindsay-Abaire.
Danny: Everything feels very tasteful and subtle here but don’t be seduced by that, it’s actually as subtle as a sledgehammer and as a result this story of such an unthinkable tragedy doesn’t feel real. It feels dramatically like the director is trying to steer you around, that the film doesn’t trust you to make your own mind up and ultimately I felt quite manipulated.
Claudia: I couldn’t disagree more. I found it incredibly moving – she is brilliant, it’s incredibly sad. Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart’s characters face every parents’ worse fear but they still have to put the washing on and make supper. What I like about it is that it’s not overly sentimental. With another director or another version of this story you could have been sobbing from the minute you sat down but that isn’t the case here. There are scenes with Miles Teller who plays the young boy that are incredibly moving. When Nicole Kidman is good she is incredible and my heart was breaking for her.
Danny: But she’s played that character before and better in The Others and in Birth. I don’t think she is so good in this – the whole film is like a snow-globe for Nicole Kidman to act in. If I see a film about the death of a young child I want to see something true and important. Instead I felt I spent 2 hours watching Nicole Kidman act at me.
Claudia: I found it truthful and incredibly sad.
Danny: I’m sorry but I found it disappointing.
An underwater cave diving team experiences a life-threatening crisis during an expedition to the unexplored and least accessible cave system in the world.
Claudia: First of all, the script is painful – it’s an absolute parody. People say stuff that not even 13 year olds say. At one point someone says ‘Life is not a dress rehearsal’. They do it whilst stroking their chin, Danny Leigh. The whole thing is ridiculous. However, I found it quite enjoyable. I found some of the scenes quite exciting and beautiful.
Danny: Beautiful really? I found it less exciting. It’s weird - James Cameron’s name is plastered all over the posters, he has a production role on the film, so you expect The Abyss, his 1989 excellent underwater sci-fi, meets The Descent, a very good, low-budget British film about pot-holing. The script IS terrible but that’s fine, that’s what B movies have always done. The problem is that you’re expecting something spectacular in 3D and nothing happens – it’s just murky. You don’t get beautiful underwater panoramas. It’s like the Poseidon Adventure without the ship or Shelley Winters.
Brighton Rock - Danny's film of the week.
Charts the headlong fall of Pinkie, a razor-wielding disadvantaged teenager with a religious death wish.
Danny: Brighton Rock was a very big deal to me as a child – both the film and the book are sacred to people so it was very bold for Joffe to take this on. Does it work? To a large extent I think it does. The big change is to move the action forward to the 60s and it’s dealt with very elegantly. It moves the whole legend into the era of the Krays and it pays off handsomely. And speaking of handsome the film looks amazing, the cinematography is beautiful. I’m very impressed.
Claudia: It does look beautiful, it looks like it’s all covered in a colour wash. For me, the film belongs to Andrea Riseborough – she’s fantastic in this and it almost becomes her story. It’s unfair to compare it with the original because Richard Attenborough was truly terrifying in that film. Sam Riley is not as dangerous but Riseborough more than makes up for it.
- Series Producer
- Jayne Stanger
- Claudia Winkleman
- Danny Leigh
- Executive Producer
- Basil Comely