The Irish Mail on Sunday

Moral dilemma of war reporter is a gripping tale

- JASON SOLOMONS

This sometimes over-intense drama, A Thousand Times

Goodnight (12A) is gripping from the start as a war photograph­er, Rebecca (Juliette Binoche), covers the deadly mission of a female suicide bomber in Kabul. Rebecca bales out moments before the explosion, but too late to avoid injury herself.

Much of the rest of Erik Poppe’s film follows her rehabilita­tion at home on the Irish coast, where her charming marine biologist husband (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and older daughter Stephanie (Lauryn Canny) struggle to come to terms with her commitment to her dangerous career.

Younger daughter Lisa (Adrianna Cramer Curtis) just wants a kitten.

Poppe, a former war photograph­er himself, addresses significan­t issues here, not least the morality of war-zone journalism.

She could have stopped the suicide bomber; should she have done so? Indeed, were she and her camera to blame for the bomb exploding when it did?

Also implied is the question of whether her responsibi­lities as a wife and mother should weigh any more heavily, as she puts her life on the line, than those of the husbands and fathers similarly addicted to telling the truth about war.

The film is at its considerab­le best when Rebecca is working, but less sure with its depiction of fragile domestic harmony.

Binoche is marvellous throughout, and gets strong support – even if kitten-loving Lisa, in straining to be cute, is merely irritating.

Jason Solomons writes:

One of the finest filmmakers in China, Jia Zhangke returns with a howl of desperatio­n about the modernisat­ion of his everchangi­ng country.

Touch Of Sin (club) is made up of four different storylines, vaguely interconne­cting, and all inspired by tales the director gleaned from Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter.

The cumulative power of the stories finds the director railing against corruption and poverty, against selfishnes­s and the sex industry, and against the fracturing of a society under great economic stress. A sobering shock to the senses.

 ??  ?? intense: Nicolaj CosterWald­au and Juliette Binoche in A Thousand Times Goodnight
intense: Nicolaj CosterWald­au and Juliette Binoche in A Thousand Times Goodnight
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