Christine - This Movie Rocks Some Dark Places
Dir: Antonio Campos
Starring Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall (no relation), Tracy Letts, John Cullum
Rebecca Hall delivers just about her finest performance ever as the troubled, brittle Christine Chubbock, the TV newscaster who famously committed suicide live on TV in 1974, as a misplaced protest against her station’s desire to sensationalize the news. Campos’s measured and involving film is partly a character study, but also partly a look at the way the medium of news and broadcasting has evolved, caught here at a key moment of change. There are echoes of Broadcast News, a film that looked at similar moral questions in regard to broadcasting, but little of that film’s humour. What we have instead is an engrossing look at a woman, whose undiagnosed issues, some physical, some more likely mental, slowly becoming both unwound and wound up to the point of her drastic action.
Hall dominates the film with a performance that manages to be both heartfelt and intensely remote, letting us into the mind of Christine, but never fully coming to terms with an understanding of that mind. Michael C. Hall (no relation) as the slightly offbeat anchor and Tracy Letts as the cantankerous station boss back up their Christine admirably.
For all its almost fetishistic visual luxuriating over “old” tech, and its constant backdrop of the national shame brought by the recently de-throned Richard Nixon, Campos’ film remains strongly relevant and contemporary. With a stunning performance on top. (Good ‘70s soft rock soundtrack as well.)
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