I’ve watched 3 films over recent days, and it’s proved that although it’s necessary to take some dramatic liberties to diverge from the banality of everyday life – it doesn’t always work.
First up was Ironclad. It’s a 2011 movie starring James Purefoy, is largely based on the defense of Rochester castle by a small group supporting the Magna Carta against King John. Having grown up just the other side of the River Medway, and having had an interest in history, it was pretty disappointing to see how far reality was stretched and broken. For example, the Norman Cathedral and entire City of Rochester are invisible, and the defending force appears to have shrunk from 90+ to 20.
On the plus side, the castle itself is pretty accurate, and it did include the demolition of one corner by using pig fat, which resulted in a castle with one round tower and three earlier square towers – a fact I’ve shared countless times wandering around it. Ironclad was somewhat famous for being extremely violent and gory, which is true, but not half as sickening as the frantic motion and cutting around in every battle scene.
Next up was Ben Affleck in The Company Men. The story of 3 men who are made redundant from a large corporation, it wasn’t bad – just bland. It’s a situation probably better encapsulated by reality-based documentaries and films in a shorter format. Like Lemonade, for example, which manages to have the same effect in just a 2.17 minute Youtube trailer.
And then, saving the best till last…
The Challenger was shown on the BBC last night, and I caught up with it via the BBC iPlayer. It covers the involvement of legendary physicist Richard Feynman in the Presidential Rogers Commission which investigated the Challenger Disaster.
Great actors, fascinating subject, and handled without the bombast and show of the other two films. I’m not sure it’s enjoyable, given the subject matter, but it’s definitely the most interesting to watch, and fittingly, the most likely to lead into hours of Wikipedia and discovering more about physics and space travel.