Free to air

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Television -

Mi­nor­ity Re­port (M) Satur­day, 8.30pm, Ten

Twice Upon a Time (M) Sun­day, 2am, SBS One

Psy­cho (MA15+) Wed­nes­day, 12.30am, ABC1

RE­MEM­BER pre­cogs, the silent stars of Steven Spiel­berg’s Mi­nor­ity Re­port (Satur­day, 8.30pm, Ten)? In this fine fu­tur­is­tic thriller, pre­cogs are ge­net­i­cally mu­tated clair­voy­ants who can see a mur­der be­fore it’s com­mit­ted — a boon to the law-en­force­ment agencies in Wash­ing­ton, DC, headed in 2054 by none other than Tom Cruise. Mur­der­ers can be ar­rested be­fore they kill their vic­tims.

Nowa­days there’d be a few is­sues with civil lib­er­ties ad­vo­cacy groups and op­po­nents of manda­tory sen­tenc­ing, but the sys­tem works well for Cruise’s char­ac­ter un­til a pre­cog fin­gers Tom him­self as a fu­ture killer. The screen­play (from a Philip K. Dick story) is a dark and in­ge­nious mix of sci-fi ac­tion and dystopian fan­tasy, rais­ing trou­bling thoughts about the value to be placed on pub­lic safety in a free so­ci­ety. The film was a fol­low-up to A.I. Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence, Spiel­berg’s joint project with Stan­ley Kubrick.

If pre­cogs had been around in 1960 they might have fore­stalled Hol­ly­wood’s most fa­mous mur­der, and in so do­ing de­nied us Psy­cho (Wed­nes­day, 12.30am, ABC1), Al­fred Hitch­cock’s hor­ror clas­sic and ar­guably the most in­flu­en­tial and widely im­i­tated thriller of all time. In one stroke, Hitch rewrote the rule book for screen vi­o­lence and killed the movie ca­reers of Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins, who were both so in­deli­bly stamped with their Psy­cho per­son­al­i­ties that they never looked cred­i­ble in any other role.

Ev­ery­one knows the story of the of­fice sec­re­tary who steals a bun­dle of her boss’s money with a view to elop­ing with her lover, only to meet a messy end in the run-down Bates Mo­tel. Among many spin-offs was a no­table se­quel di­rected by Aus­tralia’s Richard Franklin (a

Hitch­cock devo­tee), an­other di­rected by Perkins him­self, and a shot-by-shot re­make by Gus Van Sant. See the orig­i­nal.

Twice Upon a Time (Sun­day, 2am, SBS One) is a charm­ing French film about a film di­rec­tor, Louis Ruinard, played by the splen­didly hang­dog Jean Rochefort, who is about to be pre­sented with a life­time achieve­ment award at cer­e­mony in Lon­don.

Louis is the kind of di­rec­tor, as some­one ob­serves, who “makes films that people can un­der­stand and want to go and see” — which im­me­di­ately en­deared him to this col­umn. But when he dis­cov­ers the award is to be pre­sented by his for­mer wife (Char­lotte Ram­pling), whom he hasn’t spo­ken to since their well-pub­li­cised di­vorce 30 years ear­lier, he gets cold feet.

The di­rec­tor, An­toine de Caunes, has pro­fessed his ad­mi­ra­tion for the English sense of hu­mour and has great fun con­trast­ing French and English man­ners and morals. Be­neath its sparkling sur­face it’s a sad film, with the kind of sad­ness a happy end­ing can­not quite dis­pel. That prob­a­bly makes it more French than English.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.