Category: 42 Word Reviews

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.

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.

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.

The Hidden Child

Morden, The Fjällbacka Murders: The Hidden Child

dir. Per Hanefjord  (SVT, 2013) [subtitled] [originally ‘Tyskungen’]

Film poster: “Morden, The Fjällbacka Murders: The Hidden Child” dir. Per Hanefjord  (SVT, 2013) [subtitled] [originally ‘Tyskungen’]

A feature-length murder mystery that cuts effectively between present-day Sweden and events that took place during the Second World War. Some of the modern timings don’t add up but the acting (low-key yet convincing) and historical linkage ensure a level of intrigue.

The Raven King

The Raven King

by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic, 2016); audiobook read by Will Patton (Scholastic, 2016)

Book cover: “The Raven King” by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic, 2016); audiobook read by Will Patton (Scholastic, 2016)

The story remains engrossing in this fourth and final instalment, yet doesn’t make good on the build-up. Stiefvater again introduces new characters but then casts loose much of what’s come before. As much as the reinvention feels organic, the resolution lacks majesty.

Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour

dir. Joe Wright (2017)

Film poster: “Darkest Hour” dir. Joe Wright (2017)

Wright tries a tad too hard, as if having to trick the audience into engaging with politics (despite their inherent drama). The score, in particular, proves relentless. Where Churchill so often is merely caricatured, Gary Oldman brings nuance. Lily James is excellent.