Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Fine Day For A Crowded Marathon

While I mostly leave my photoblogging over to the other blog, I am in the midst of the Tulip Festival series that will be followed by my Doors Open series (summer is exceedingly busy for a photoblogger here). And since I was in want of a subject for today, this seems appropriate to put in here.

This past weekend here in Ottawa we had the National Capital Race Weekend, with several races over the two days ranging from a two kilometre kids run to the full marathon. There were over forty thousand runners involved in one event or more during the weekend. On the Sunday, I was downtown at ground zero for the finish of the marathon, coming up through the crowd on Laurier Avenue, where it separates the City Hall precinct to the south from Confederation Park to the north. There were many people here, a lot of them runners who had finished the race and were filtering out through the park.

These views from the Laurier bridge over the Rideau Canal look south to the finish line (that blue arch in the background), and a mass of marathoners walking past below. The building to the right in the second and third shots is the Cartier Square Drill Hall, an armoury that dates back to 1879 and houses two military units.

These views look north over the Canal, with landmarks like the National Arts Centre, Parliament Hill, the Chateau Laurier, and the Ottawa Convention Centre. The runners you see down below are in the final stretches of their marathon- the course winds down along the Canal to the Pretoria Bridge south of here, where they then make their way back up the west side of the Canal for the finish line.

This view looking back west along Laurier Avenue shows the crowd, as well as a couple of landmarks- First Baptist Church on the left, and the Lord Elgin Hotel on the right. Normally the pedestrian can't walk on this part of the street- Laurier Avenue is a very busy street through the day.

These two views to the north take in runners coming through Confederation Park- there were rest stations set up here to help runners start to relax after such a run. The organizers keep the whole weekend running fairly smoothly, and the marathon tends to cover ground taking runners past some of the landmarks here in the National Capital Region. It is quite an event, drawing a lot of people in.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Yo Ho Ho And A Sequel Of Rum

“Find Jack Sparrow for me and relay a message, from Captain Salazar. Tell him, death will come straight for him.” ~ Salazar

“We are to be allies.” ~ Henry Turner 
“Considering where your left hand is, I’d say we’re more than that!” ~ Carina Smyth

“I have heard stories of a mighty Spanish captain who sunk and killed thousands of men.” ~ Hector Barbossa

“Guillotine? Sounds French. I love the French!” ~ Jack Sparrow

Disney’s now long running Pirates Of The Caribbean series returns to theatres with a fifth film, Dead Men Tell No Tales, which treads some familiar ground (well, familiar waters) with the drunken pirate, the young lovers, and the cranky villain who just can’t let go of a grudge. If you think you’ve seen this film before, you have, because that’s pretty much been the status quo of the previous four movies in the series. Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush return once more to reprise their roles, while the villain’s role is given over to an actor who’s in danger of becoming typecast for playing villains, Javier Bardem.

We meet the ten year old Henry Turner (Lewis McGowan) early in the film. The son of Will and Elizabeth Turner (Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley, returning to reprise their roles in cameo appearances), Henry seeks to free his sea faring father from the curse that binds him to the Flying Dutchman ship, and meets him for the first time. Will is touched, but doesn’t believe it’s possible to lift the curse, telling his son to leave and never return. Nine years later, Henry is in the Royal Navy, now played by Brenton Thwaites, and his ship comes under attack by a ghostly ship in a place called the Devil’s Triangle. The ship is captained by the seriously grouchy Captain Salazar (Bardem), who leaves Henry alive to send a message to someone he has a particular dislike for.

That person, of course, is Captain Jack Sparrow (Depp), who’s been busy robbing and plundering with his crew. Sparrow’s luck seems to run out, and he finds himself about to be executed in the company of a young woman sentenced to die for witchcraft, Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario), who’s not a witch but more of a scientist. It doesn’t take long for Sparrow, Henry, and Carina to all get caught up in the same over the top quest for a relic (another holdover from the previous film, these movies always have some treasure or object of desire), the Trident of Poseidon, which will supposedly grant its possessor control over the seas.

The screenplay comes from Jeff Nathanson, who had a hand in film scripts like Catch Me If You Can, The Terminal, and Indiana Jones & The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. The film was in development hell for years on end- it’s been six years since the last instalment. This time out feels all too familiar- as mentioned earlier, there are common motifs in this franchise, from the drunken pirate bumbling his way through a supernaturally tinged adventure, the young star crossed lovers, the cranky antagonist, the oddball supporting characters and sheer preposterousness of the plotline.

Original series director Gore Verbinski, who helmed the first three films and then went on to that disaster known as The Lone Ranger, is absent again, as is Rob Marshall, who directed On Stranger Tides. In their place are a pair of directors, Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg. Most of their filming was done on location and sound stages in Australia, while series producer (and perennial expert in bombast) Jerry Bruckheimer stayed on in that role. The film moves along through plot holes and preposterousness with breathless abandon, and the directors pace it that way. There are times, though, when the visual style can be a bit murky, such as night scenes- I suggest avoiding this in 3D, unlike the only screening that I could get to; I expect 3D winds up making things all the more murky. There’s some spectacular CGI along the way- the ghostly look of Salazar, his ship and crew, for instance, or the look of the previously established Flying Dutchman. The CGI goes into overtime, however, for the climactic sequences, and a parting of the seas that puts The Ten Commandments to shame.

What’s previously established in this series generally works, from the point of view of the crew. Set design certainly does render a look that’s vivid for pirate or Navy ships, or a Caribbean town of the era. This comes down to costume design and makeup, where pirates each in turn have a distinctive look, for instance, or civilians are dressed in a way accustomed to the era. The score, which has previously had the touch of Hans Zimmer all over it in earlier films (Zimmer produced the first score by Klaus Badelt, and composed some of the themes before taking the helm for the following films), is now taken on by Geoff Zanelli, one of Zimmer’s associates. Zanelli had a hand in some of the orchestrations of the previous films, and those films provide a springboard for his score.

The cast is a sprawling one, a good number of them British, but generally international. Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley sat out the fourth instalment as their characters Will and Elizabeth Turner, the star crossed lovers who took three movies to finally get married (and then got separated by a wee bit of a curse that keeps Will permanently at sea most of the time). Both the actors and the characters seem a bit too young to be the parents of a nineteen year old son, one of those plot holes I mentioned, and their appearances here tend to lean more towards the cameo, but it’s pleasing to see them both, even as it reinforces how their characters shine more than the younger set.

That’s probably more because the younger actors in the film have roles that are somewhat underwritten and fill in the blank sorts. Brenton Thwaites is an Australian actor, playing the part of the Turner son Henry, who spends the film on a desperate quest to save his father from the curse he’s under. He plays the part with an earnest, befuddled manner (not unlike Will, who frequently seemed befuddled by the pirate captain he’d thrown his lot in with). The actor’s capable enough in the role, it just seems like the writer’s trying to essentially fit him right into the same slot as his character’s father was in the first film. The same applies with Kaya Scodolario, playing Carina. She’s essentially the Elizabeth Turner substitute of the film- the intelligent, wilful, strong minded woman who’s easily exasperated with Jack and becomes smitten with the young Henry. The story gives the character some different angles- instead of a governor’s daughter, she’s a person of science, particularly astronomy, in an era where a woman learning in higher education is unthinkable.

Kevin McNally returns once again, having had appeared in all four of the previous films as Jack’s loyal first mate Joshamee Gibbs. The character is good for comic relief and the occasional touch of wisdom; while drink seems to hit him harder than it does Jack, it doesn’t appear to have done the amount of brain damage to him that it has to Jack (has Jack Sparrow ever wondered if he might have a drinking problem?). Gibbs is a welcome continuing presence in the series, and the actor makes the most of it.

Javier Bardem is in danger at this point of typecasting himself in the role of villains. The Spanish actor is known to North American audiences for two ruthless villains in No Country For Old Men and Skyfall, and the pattern returns with his role as Captain Salazar, the antagonist of the film. His back story shows him to be a Spanish pirate hunter when he was alive, cursed with his crew into an undead state when he was tricked into sailing into the Devil’s Triangle by a young Jack Sparrow. It’s left the man rather irritable, and the actor’s take is to mix together rage and pride in his performance, a man driven by hatred and revenge. Bardem gives Salazar a ruthless and grouchy edge, leaving us wondering just how many people Jack Sparrow has earned a grudge from.

Geoffrey Rush returns once again as Hector Barbossa. The antagonist of the first film, Barbossa ended up becoming a reluctant ally to Sparrow in subsequent films. When we find him now, he’s alive and sun weathered, captain of the Queen Anne’s Revenge. He may look like he’s been out in the sun too long, but he’s been successfully building wealth since we last saw him, commanding a fleet of privateers and enjoying his riches. Barbossa has to weave between the right path and the wrong path this time out, with a hidden element in the mix for his character, and Rush gives the character the same mix of charm and unpleasant crankiness that we’ve seen before, while rising to the occasion at the most opportune of moments.

One gets the impression that Johnny Depp has a lot of fun playing Jack Sparrow. This is his fifth time playing the rogue pirate, and he’s invested in Sparrow. The character experiences no personal growth through this movie (does he ever?). Instead, Jack continues to be the eccentric drunk, stumbling his way through scenarios that might give others permanent nightmares, but from which he might only wake up with a hangover. Jack gets himself in and out of chaos and trouble haphazardly, and we’re left to wonder just how much damage all that rum’s done to his head. As always, his allegiances and motivations are constantly shifting, and his ethics are at best questionable, and Depp plays the eccentricity to the hilt. It’s a fun character to watch on screen, but would you want to know such a person in reality?

Dead Men Tell No Tales is entertaining enough, if you ignore the plot holes here and there, and the under-developed characters (Henry and Carina, I’m looking at you). It’s loud, brash, over the top, and murky at times in its tale of a seething undead naval officer with a serious grudge seeking out a drunken pirate who might have problems remembering the other fellow existed. The film claims to be the final one in the franchise, but we’ll see. After the problems of the fourth film of the franchise, it would be wise to end here. It would have been wiser to have finished with the first three. It would have been impossible for studio marketing chimps to have just left it at one incredibly memorable film with the first one and do no sequels.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Downfall Of An Egomaniac

Egomaniac Director And Star Meet Subject Of Film; End Up In Hospital

Calgary (CP) Reporters were summoned to the Alberta city this week at the behest of an all too familiar self absorbed and self described “cinema auteur of absolute brilliance”. Michael Bay, the narcissistic director behind such explosion extravaganzas as Pearl Harbor, Armageddon, and the Transformers franchise, has been busy as of late preparing a flurry of films for eventual release. Usually these events are held at his offices at Digital Domain in California; instead, the director invited reporters from real media outlets and of course hordes of entertainment reporters to Alberta.

This reporter was among them. His cranky editor (editor: stop calling me cranky!), fresh from a stay at St. Mungo’s Asylum For The Perpetually Insane (editor: it was a four week break obliged on me by the newspaper publisher! Not an insane asylum! Blessed Tranquility is a place of healing therapy and yoga and scented candles and singing kumbayah!), had assigned him remotely to go along. I say remotely, because there is now  a restraining order against the cranky editor forbidding him to be in the same room as this reporter after all those numerous death threats (editor: shut up!) over the last couple of years. And so this reporter was sent by a cranky sounding email dispatching him to the latest in a long line of tedious press conference by a demented egomaniac.

And so after an uneventful flight to Calgary, this reporter found himself among other real reporters and a horde of entertainment reporters in a large assembly hall at the airport terminal, where a Digital Domain aide informed us that four buses would take us out to the site of the press conference itself. This reporter, eager to be as far away from those vacant headed entertainment reporters, got on the bus containing all of the real reporters. Four entertainment reporters managed to get on board as well. The entire trip to our destination, we real reporters could hear them prattling on about nonsense, such as what Selena Gomez might be wearing on the weekend, which Kardashian was going to end up the subject of yet another sex tape release, and, to use direct quotes, “who’s this Elvis Presley guy anyway?”

The bus convoy arrived at its destination in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. A limo had joined the convoy, and had stopped as well. When this reporter got off and looked around, he recognized the spot, because he had been here before. It was the entrance driveway leading to a wooden structure among the trees. That was the building that housed the headquarters for one very particular detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

It was the workplace of the legendary (and grouchy) Inspector Lars Ulrich.

At this point, with entertainment reporters getting out of their buses, gushing about what this was all about, the limo opened up, and two men got out. Both were instantly recognizable, both inspired cheers from the entertainment reporters, and both garnered eye rolls and sighs of dismay from the real reporters. The aforementioned Michael Bay, who never saw a reflection of himself he didn’t like (editor: stop making fun of him! He’s a magnificent director!) was the first. The other was his frequent film collaborator, actor Nicolas Cage, waving and carrying a bottle of Scotch.

Bay and Cage approached the group. Bay was smiling in that delirious, demented way of his, acting as if the world was his proverbial oyster, looking just as you’d expect- the stubble, the dishevelled hair, the casual wear topped by a blazer. Cage looked like he’d just crawled out of bed, and was stumbling a bit. This reporter wondered how much he’d been drinking.

“Hello, everyone!” Bay called, waving, smiling. “Thanks for coming all the way out here for a great announcement today. But of course it’s great. It’s a film directed by me, after all, and as we all know, any film I make is by definition outstanding.” Bay went on and on, praising himself. This reporter noticed movement up at the detachment, with a familiar figure emerging from the front door. It was the aforementioned grouchy Mountie. Even at a distance, he didn’t seem pleased to see so many potential irritants at his proverbial doorstep.

Bay was carrying on. “You know, I’m a great director. Everybody says that to me. I say it to myself when I look in the mirror seventy eight times a day. I don’t get why the Oscars seem to overlook me, but hey, if you can manage to finally award Leo with a Best Actor, that means surely I’m long overdue for Best Director and Best Picture and sweeping every single award, right?” The entertainment reporters were gushing and cheering. The real reporters were shaking their heads- most had already seen the Mountie making his way down the driveway and hoped he might pick up the pace.

“Which is why we’re here,” Bay said. “I want to tell the epic story of a brave, fierce, heavy metal drummer who seems to spend a lot of time in this sideline gig of being a lawman. Which is why I’m going to be directing this man, my buddy Nic, as the lead in the blockbuster movie about Lars Ulrich! Isn’t that a great idea?”

“You do realize Nicolas Cage is twenty years too old for the part?” this reporter asked. “And that he doesn’t look anything like the actual Lars Ulrich? What with having a lot less hair than the actual Lars Ulrich.”

Cage looked offended. “Hey! Don’t make fun of my hairline!” (editor: yeah! Stop making fun of his hairline!)

This reporter pressed on. “And you do realize, Mr. Bay, that the heavy metal drummer Lars Ulrich is not the same person as the RCMP Inspector?”

Bay looked confused. “You must be mistaken. They are clearly the same person.”

The real reporters sighed, shook their heads, and rolled their eyes. This reporter shook his head. “Mr. Bay, the drummer is a good twenty years older than the Mountie, and they look nothing alike. But why don’t you ask the man himself?”

At this point, the entertainment reporters noticed the approaching Ulrich. “Look!” one of them called out. “It’s Lars Ulrich! Metallica must all be here!” Bay and Cage turned as the inspector stopped before them.

Ulrich clenched his fists. “What are you doing here?” he asked Bay in a low, growling voice.

Bay grinned, clapping him on the shoulder, completely oblivious. “I’m making a movie about you! With Nicolas Cage here playing you! We’re talking bombs and explosions and hot babes waxing cars and more explosions and Aerosmith doing a theme song with Metallica and a villain who keeps getting mistaken for Justin Bieber just because they share the same name! Maybe I can get Bieber to play that part, wouldn’t that be fun? But the real crux of the matter, Lars baby, is that I want to find out what it is that makes a heavy metal drummer want to spend his off time hanging out in Canada and being a lawman.”

“I am not that Lars Ulrich,” the inspector muttered in a tone that made the real reporters back up.

“Are you sure?” Cage asked. “Because you look just like him.”

“Oh, this guy! What a kidder!” Bay laughed. “Of course you’re that Lars Ulrich!”

At that, Ulrich struck, throwing a punch that sent Bay flying into Cage, sending both tumbling over. Cage was momentarily more concerned about the Scotch emptying into the roadside gravel. “My Scotch! My beautiful Scotch!” He didn’t have more time to object, as the inspector started chasing both Bay and Cage off the road. Reports later had it that he’d beaten up both of them in Tombstone Canyon and left them whimpering, bleeding, and suffering from multiple contusions. They were airlifted out by helicopter to a hospital in Calgary, where both are in body casts, out of action for the time being with multiple broken bones.

Ulrich himself returned to the detachment, where real reporters were still gathered with the entertainment reporters. After throttling three dozen of the latter for asking where the rest of Metallica was and sending them to hospital, the Mountie faced the former, who assured him that they knew he was not a drummer with Metallica. He sighed with a tone of dismay. “You know that. I know that. What is it about idiots like that director who can’t tell the difference?”

This reporter suggested that perhaps their parents had been breeding too close to the gene pool, and that kicking the crap out of them was therefore justified. The inspector grunted in agreement and went back to his detachment. This reporter mused that breeding too close to the gene pool might provide a satisfactory explanation for his cranky editor (editor: hey! Shut up or I’m tossing you into that Tombstone Canyon!).

Dear readers, you read it yourself: the cranky editor threatened this reporter once again (editor: I hate you! Oh, I hate you! I want you dead! Dead! D-E-A-D! Dead!)

This reporter thinks his cranky editor needs a few years at St. Mungo’s Asylum For The Perpetually Insane.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Murder Among Two Lifetimes

“The man I bought it from explained to me that when a man gives it to his wife, they become two halves of the same person. Nothing can separate them... not even death.” ~ Roman Strauss

“Well, I’m not going into hiding, Mr. Baker. I’m just getting married.” ~ Margaret Strauss

“Aren’t you afraid of dying?” ~ Gray Baker

 “Karmically, self-defense is quite cool.” ~ Cozy Carlisle

“Oh, and you don’t have to worry about forgetting her name. She’s already forgotten it for you.” ~ Pete

“This is fate we’re talking about, and if fate works at all, it works because people think that this time, it isn’t going to happen.” ~ Madson

“Grace? That’s what the teabag says? That my name is Grace?” ~ Grace

“I’m not looking for Miss Right. I’m looking for Miss Right Now.” ~ Mike Church

Dead Again is an unlikely mix of genres, bringing together elements of romantic fantasy and the supernatural with a good deal of film noir influences in this 1991 film from director Kenneth Branagh. The director stars in dual roles opposite his then wife Emma Thompson, who was also playing a dual role in a story that combines the mystery of an amnesiac woman with the notion of connections to past lives. With a good supporting cast, the film is quite entertaining, romantic, thrilling at times, stylish, and clever.

The film opens with newspaper headlines through the opening titles, detailing the 1949 murder of Margaret Strauss (Thompson), a classical musician stabbed during a robbery at her home. Her composer and conductor husband Roman (Branagh) is arrested and put on trial in the months that follow. Found guilty, he is sentenced to be executed. Before his execution, he is visited by a reporter, Gray Baker (Andy Garcia), who was acquainted with the couple.

Forty years later, an amnesiac woman (Thompson) has turned up at an orphanage, unable to speak, and plagued by nightmares. The priest who runs the place calls in a private detective who grew up in the orphanage, Mike Church (Branagh) to determine who she is. Church asks his friend Pete (Wayne Knight) to publish her photo in the newspaper to see if her family is looking for her. An antique dealer, Madson, with a sideline in hypnosis, approaches Church with an offer to help, and the first session determines that she can in fact speak- and is able to relive in third person the story of Roman and Margaret. It seems the tragedies of the past are coming back into the present through past lives.

The story is by Scott Frank, whose other work includes Get Shorty, Out Of Sight, Heaven’s Prisoners, The Wolverine, and Logan. The story weaves back and forth between past and present, primarily acting as a mystery, with elements of the familiar private eye genre as a strong influence. The cynical detective, the mysterious woman, the oddball characters, these are all aspects that nod back to the Forties era of hard boiled private eyes in cinema, as does the somewhat dark sense of humour throughout the film. And the narrative weaves in a love story (two, actually) and more to the point the unusual premise of past lives influences the current day, particularly in the sense of the inevitability of fate.

Branagh was already well established as a Shakespearean actor and director on stage and screen at this point- his masterpiece adaptation of Henry V was two years behind him when he directed this film. It has a theatrical quality in its pacing, fitting Roman’s character, since the man is a composer of dramatic opera. The theatrical quality carries over in the rest of the film, as the mystery unfolds, and particularly in the climactic aspects of the film, and Branagh’s directing style plays to that. I particularly like the use of black and white for those scenes set in the past (which mostly unfold in flashback through hypnosis) and colour for the present day sequences, as well as how he uses several scenes that are extended single take scenes. 

The production values are particularly effective in the past sequences, with a palatial residence well outfitted to look like a place out of the 1940s, or a masquerade party at the time looking quite at home in the past. And one of the prevailing visual themes- scissors- are carried over into the present in a creative way. Branagh uses some actors to play smaller parts in both past and present, including his frequent music collaborator Patrick Doyle, whose score for this film mixes together romantic, mysterious, and highly theatrical themes along the way.

The cast are exceptional in their roles. Hanna Schygulla appears mostly in flashbacks as the Strauss housekeeper Inga, who escaped from Germany with Roman and her son during the darkest days of the Second World War and has been loyal ever since. She has to play the character with a certain degree of distance as the film goes along- the audience isn't meant to get inside her head.

Another character who spans both past and present is Gray Baker, played by Andy Garcia. When we first meet him, he’s a young reporter with a cynical world view, fondness for smoking, and a womanizing attitude. This carries over into his interactions with Margaret and Roman, as he doesn’t show much respect at all for boundaries. Garcia makes him thoroughly jaded in his performance, and when we see him in the present day, he’s a wreck of a man, ruined by smoking, but still as jaded as ever. His present day appearance could be said to be the best cinematic argument against smoking.

Robin Williams gets a cameo appearance as Cozy Carlisle. Where Baker is jaded, Carlisle is bitter and acerbic in a way that makes the reporter seem happy. A disgraced therapist who comes into the plot as the subject of a routine search by Church early on, he’s a man with little in the way of scruples, no ethics, unconventional ideas, and the source of much of the dark humour of the film’s present day sequences. Williams gives the character a bleak, serious air in the way he plays it- Carlisle’s not a pleasant person, nor does he pretend to be.

Wayne Knight is best known for a couple of roles, the opportunistic hacker Dennis in Jurassic Park and as the perpetual irritant Newman in the Seinfeld series. Here he plays a very different character as Pete Dugan, the newspaper staffer who’s best friends with Church. He’s loyal and friendly, a genuinely likable guy, with an ironic sense of humour and something of a speech impediment. Knight gives the character a lot of levity as he goes along.

Derek Jacobi is a frequent collaborator with Branagh, having had co-starred with him in films like Henry V and Hamlet, as well as being in the cast for Branagh’s directed Cinderella. He gives the role of the antique dealer Madson a dry air. When we first meet him, he’s hypnotizing a woman at his shop for one reason, while gathering information on potential jackpots for himself. It’s a bit underhanded but amusing, the act of a grifter, but a good way to introduce a character. Madson explains his interest in past lives and how they can influence present day actions. Past life regression through hypnosis is key to unlocking the secrets of the story, and the actor plays the character with dignity but secrecy, playing things close to the vest.

Emma Thompson gets the challenge of two roles- Margaret Strauss in the past and the woman known as Grace in the present. Her Margaret is playful but professional, quickly falling for the conductor Roman, and the bond between them becomes believable as their story unfolds. Grace is a different story- she starts out as plagued by nightmares, in a vulnerable state, not knowing who she is or what’s happening to her. And yet under that, as the story goes along, the actress gives Grace a different kind of playfulness, mixed with uncertainty as she falls for the private detective who’s trying to determine what’s happened to her. The chemistry between the actors, in both eras, works very well indeed.

Branagh also gets to play two roles, giving Roman a certain amount of distance when we first meet him- we’re meant to wonder at his guilt. The character has his stormy, frustrated side that seems to fit in with his composer profession. Mike Church is a different character altogether, a private eye who tends to see the worst in people. He’s a cynic, but not above taking in a stray- a true cynic might be inclined to leave the amnesiac in a mental hospital, but he doesn’t, so this cynic has principles. Branagh plays the two characters in different ways, and Church, who finds the supernatural idea of past lives to be laughable at first, must come to terms with the idea of it as it becomes less implausible and fate closes in on him.

Dead Again got mostly positive reviews and box office at the time, and the film itself is stylish, moody, smart, entertaining, and dramatic, fitting the acting credentials of its leads. It’s a well paced film that skilfully goes back and forth between past and present, giving two lead actors the chance to play two roles across two lifetimes. It’s a hidden treat you might not know of personally, but it’s well worth seeing.