Author: Derelict Space Sheep

The Heavy Water War

The Heavy Water War

dir. Per-Olav Sørensen (NRK, 2015) [subtitled] [originally ‘Kampen om tungtvannet’]

TV poster: “The Heavy Water War” dir. Per-Olav Sørensen (NRK, 2015) [subtitled] [originally ‘Kampen om tungtvannet’]

Well-paced war miniseries, genuinely tense at times and with dollops of emotive face acting. The dual plots address Germany’s development of the atomic bomb and the Allies’ efforts to blow up Norway’s heavy water plant. An effective study in science/duty versus morality.

The Belly of the Bow

The Belly of the Bow

by K J Parker (Orbit, 1999)

Book cover: “The Belly of the Bow” by K J Parker (Orbit, 1999)

The Fencer Trilogy’s second instalment proves even bleaker and more cynical than the first. Estranged brothers Bardas and Gorgas Loredan struggle towards victories most decidedly Pyrrhic, the narrative sustained by Parker’s commitment to portraying human foibles and stark, unglorified realism within fantasy.

Icehouse and Simple Minds, live @ Sandstone Point Hotel

Icehouse and Simple Minds

live @ Sandstone Point Hotel

(Red Hot Summer Tour, 17 February 2024)

Concert poster: “Icehouse and Simple Minds, live @ Sandstone Point Hotel” (Red Hot Summer Tour, 17 February 2024)

Simple Minds delivered an outdoor acoustics–defying exhibition of blended synth rhythms and early-80s nostalgia. Highlights: ‘Someone, Somewhere (in Summertime)’; ‘Promised You a Miracle’. Equally assured, Icehouse then soundscaped and rocked the already predisposed crowd. Highlights: ‘Hey, Little Girl’; ‘Don’t Believe Anymore’.

Harry Seidler: Modernist

Harry Seidler: Modernist

dir. Daryl Dellora (2017)

Documentary poster: “Harry Seidler: Modernist” dir. Daryl Dellora (2017)

An hour-long documentary charting the career of architect Harry Seidler, whose modernist designs, though meeting with resistance from local governments, ultimately transformed Australia’s housing and highrise landscapes. Seidler, work-focussed and egotistic, emerges as a passionate, innovative, uncompromising advocate of modernist design principles.

Van Veeteren: Borkmann’s Point

Van Veeteren: Borkmann’s Point

dir. Erik Leijonborg (2005) [subtitled] [originally “Borkmanns punkt”]

Film poster: “Van Veeteren: Borkmann’s Point” dir. Erik Leijonborg (2005) [subtitled] [originally “Borkmanns punkt”]

A by-the-numbers feature-length Swedish murder mystery. Much hangs on the character of retired police inspector Van Veeteren, and on Sven Wollter’s portrayal, neither of which set the screen alight. The supporting cast show promise but are only given so much to do.

Silence in the Age of Noise

Silence in the Age of Noise

by Erling Kagge; trans. Becky L. Crook (Penguin, 2017)

Book cover: “Silence in the Age of Noise” by Erling Kagge; trans. Becky L. Crook (Penguin, 2017)

Short, philosophical musings by polar explorer turned philosopher Erling Kagge. Insightful in places but the thoughts come piecemeal, as if written down (each after some mulling over) between bouts of silence and then left alone, presented without any great attempt at integration.

Malta Story

Malta Story

dir. Brian Desmond Hurst (1953)

Film poster: “Malta Story” dir. Brian Desmond Hurst (1953)

A verisimilitudinous war story filmed only a decade after the events it portrays, and incorporating archival combat footage. Alec Guinness plays a placidly stiff-upper-lipped archaeologist turned reconnaissance pilot, doing his bit even while falling in love, one wistful eye to the future.

Agatha Christie: First Lady of Crime

Agatha Christie: First Lady of Crime

ed. H.R.F. Keating (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1977)

Book cover: “Agatha Christie: First Lady of Crime” ed. H.R.F. Keating (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1977)

A collection of essays written shortly after Christie’s death, investigating aspects of her life and works and postulating reasons for her success. The authors are admiring but not uncritical, and in many cases were practitioners within the genre. Chummy scholarship, gently enlightening.

Arne Dahl: The Blinded Man

Arne Dahl: The Blinded Man

dir. Harald Hamrell (SVT, 2011 / BBC, 2013) [subtitled] [originally “Misterioso”]

TV poster: “Arne Dahl: The Blinded Man” dir. Harald Hamrell (SVT, 2011 / BBC, 2013) [subtitled] [originally “Misterioso”]

A well-constructed Swedish crime miniseries. Six police officers with markedly different personalities and skill-sets are assembled into a special squad to investigate a spate of killings. An agreeable blend of character development (each principal submerged at iceberg depth) and dark, not-too-twisty plot.