One of the reasons I read so many books is that we don’t get out much, a combination of the difficulty of getting babysitters for the rather unusual needs of our children (on which subject, thanks once again to  for helping out last night) and the related difficulty of working up enough energy to get out for more than a waiter-service meal. However, as it happens I have managed to see two films in the last two months, due to (in the first case) an unusual confluence of baby-sitting availability and our energy levels, and (in the second case) having an evening to kill in Berlin.

The Queen

For no especially good reason I persuaded  to come and see this with me; the story of how the royal family coped with the political crisis caused by the death of Princess Diana in 1997. The two lead actors, Helen Mirren as the title character and Michael Sheen as Tony Blair, are very good; we were much less convinced by Alex Jennings’ Prince Charles or Helen McCrory’s Cherie. A lot of the audience (indeed, most of you reading this) will remember that week pretty vividly; I, however, was in Bosnia, and  managed to pass the crucial days pretty much unaware of what was going on, so it had affected us rather less.

I found it none the less quite an interesting study of political crisis, of what happens when decision-makers are confronted with a situation that requires them to think out of the box. Not that the Queen actually gets to make many decisions, other than those relating to her main function, the linkage between her subjects and the idea of the State; but that is not an unimportant issue.  was, I think it is fair to say, less impressed.

Casino Royale

The Potsdamerplatz in Berlin is a pretty fantastic place, including a cinema showing movies in the original English, so I though I should do what everyone else has been doing and see “Casino Royale”. I was of course thrilled that one of my favourite small countries featured so much, but puzzled as to why I didn’t recognise any of the settings: the answer of course turns out to be quite simple – none of it was actually filmed in Montenegro! The casino scenes are all in Karlovy Vary, and even the bit I thought might be the Boka Kotorska is actually Lake Como (explaining why it looked like a cold winter day). There was one other touch which I though might be deliberate or might not; the “Montenegrin” police wear shoulder flashes of the old (1993-2004) flag, while it is the new version that flies outside the Hotel Splendide. Anyway, I’m sure it will boost tourism, even if the justification for that is slim.

The film itself is great. Daniel Craig’s Bond is as close as I can imagine to an updated version of Fleming’s hero, fifty years ago (I confess I have read only Moonraker and a condensed version of Casino Royale which none the less found space for the famous torture scene). It is a film that takes itself just seriously enough. Very enjoyable.

One thought on “Movies

  1. Hadfield is a serious scholar of Spenser, and I’d have been surprised if he’d taken such a line. And, indeed, he doesn’t. In so far as he’s accusing Lewis of anything it’s of concentrating on the parts of the poem that aren’t “corrupted” by Spenser’s Irish dealings, but he doesn’t accuse him of attempting to justify those dealings or of arguing that Spenser wasn’t involved (which is what whitewashing implies to me).

Comments are closed.