TOMB RAIDER (12)

Uxbridge Gazette - - Film Reviews -

MY first lin­ger­ing mem­ory of Whit­ney Hous­ton was an in­fec­tious smile framed by tum­bling curls of caramel hair telling me – and any­one who would lis­ten – that she wanted to dance with some­body.

The whole world danced with Hous­ton in the sum­mer of 1987, pro­pel­ling her to the top of the charts in nu­mer­ous coun­tries in­clud­ing the UK.

Stac­cato bursts of that rous­ing dance floor anthem open Kevin Macdon­ald’s re­veal­ing doc­u­men­tary, which ar­rives one year af­ter Nick Broom­field and Rudi Dolezal’s film Whit­ney: Can I Be Me.

The two por­traits of doomed mu­si­cal ge­nius share some nar­ra­tive threads in­clud­ing the im­por­tance of best friend Robyn Craw­ford to Hous­ton’s well-be­ing, and the spi­ral of self-de­struc­tion which fol­lowed her mar­riage to bad boy singer Bobby Brown.

Macdon­ald’s heart-break­ing film is the only ac­count of Hous­ton’s life and ca­reer of­fi­cially sup­ported by her es­tate and in­cludes orig­i­nal stu­dio record­ings and never-be­fore-seen footage along­side live per­for­mances recorded by the late singer.

The Scot­tish di­rec­tor has been granted un­ri­valled ac­cess to the fam­ily’s archives and he lov­ingly as­sem­bles per­sonal home movie footage, which re­veals the hu­mour and the an­guish be­hind the ★★★★★

EN­TRE­PRE­NEUR Lord Richard Croft (Do­minic West) is a globe-trot­ting pro­tec­tor of hid­den an­cient arte­facts. He van­ishes dur­ing an ex­pe­di­tion to the burial tomb of Ja­panese em­press Himiko. Seven years later, his daugh­ter Lara (Ali­cia Vikan­der) makes a treach­er­ous jour­ney to an un­in­hab­ited is­land in the Devil’s Sea. She clashes with sadis­tic ar­chae­ol­o­gist Mathias Vo­gel (Wal­ton Gog­gins) and ex­poses an an­cient mil­i­tant or­gan­i­sa­tion called Trin­ity, which seeks con­trol of su­per­nat­u­ral an­tiq­ui­ties.

■ Down­load/stream from July 9, and avail­able from July 16 on DVD/Blu-ray. pol­ished stage per­sona.

Whit­ney shows bound­less af­fec­tion for its lu­mi­nous sub­ject but Macdon­ald’s ab­sorb­ing film does not shy away from ugly truths: un­flat­ter­ing images of Hous­ton in a stu­por are jux­ta­posed with one of her lat­ter per­for­mances when she failed to hit the high notes in her cover ver­sion of I Will Al­ways Love You. There are strong echoes of the deeply mov­ing, Os­car-win­ning doc­u­men­tary Amy as a glit­ter­ing star falls back to Earth with a sick­en­ing thud.

What sets apart this metic­u­lous sift through fam­ily al­bums from other char­ac­ter stud­ies is the sug­ges­tion that Hous­ton’s down­fall may have been pre­cip­i­tated by child abuse when she was grow­ing up.

Ali­cia Vikan­der as Lara Croft

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