TV Films Of The Week

TV films of the week 23

FILM OF THE WEEK: The Deep Blue Sea
Channel 4, Saturday November 16, 11:10pm

As the great Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks once asked: “Ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have fallen in love with?” Someone who makes you feel the pure joy of simply being alive in one instance, then in the next makes you wish the ground would open up and swallow you whole? Someone who by themself is perfectly stable, only to burn like magnesium strip when introduced to the proximity of your own fire?

If not, consider yourself lucky. Unfortunately for Hester, the conflicted woman at the heart of this exquisite adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s play, this is precisely the sort of relationship to which she’s been drawn. Replacing the safe but sterile confines of marriage to a respected High Court judge for a passionate but combustible affair with former RAF pilot Freddie, from its very opening scene Terence Davies’ film makes it painfully clear neither has served Hester with the emotional sustenance she yearns for.

Rachael Weisz and Tom Hiddleston make a handsome pair as the tragic couple, sizzling with stiff-upper lip eroticism before domesticity’s damp squib threatens to snuff out the spark between them. The film’s theatrical roots are clear enough, but the economical use of dialogue serves the story perfectly as it unfolds through a series of evocative flashbacks. The result is perfectly formed meditation on the destructive and uncontrollable force that love can be – a welcome riposte to every wretched romantic drama Hollywood has foisted on us.

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Up In The Air
BBC Two, Friday November 15, 11:10pm

To this day George Clooney finds it hard to escape the reliably suave ‘George Clooney’ role – just look at Gravity. Up In The Air subverts this typecasting brilliantly, pitching Clooney as the outwardly confident man companies hire to fire their employees and part time motivational speaker extolling the virtues of carrying as little baggage –literal and metaphorical – as possible. When he discovers a relationship that challenges this wisdom, Up In The Air asks some fascinating existential questions of our often cold, corporate, contemporary lifestyles.

Black Swan
Channel 4, Saturday November 16, 9pm

There were reports of complaints from several well-to-do cinemagoers that went to see Black Swan expecting a film about a production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, only to be presented with a film about a production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake by the most bonkers ballet company conceivable. A mixture of body horror, psychological drama and erotic thriller, it was no wonder those of a more conservative disposition got such a shock. Natalie Portman is well worthy of the Best Actress Oscar she collected for the film, with equally excellent support from Mila Kunis and Vincent Cassel.

Blackfish
BBC Four, Thursday November 21, 9pm

On the list of man’s many atrocities, stealing the offspring of a pod of killer whales and rearing them in captivity to perform for gormless Americans and Europeans might not rank that highly. Nevertheless, blaming the enthusiastic but naïve waterpark trainers when these orcas, driven half mad after living in a swimming pool their entire lives, decide to substitute fish with human flesh is pretty low. As damning documentary Blackfish contests, this is exactly what SeaWorld has been doing for the past few decades. Watch and feel enraged.

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