Sunday, 19 August 2012

HBO Home Truths

HBO has built up a fair catalogue of high quality TV productions and The Notorious Bettie Page is a good example of their efforts. Shot in a beautiful monochrome the biopic follows the career of the (in)famous model who appeared in a bevy of glamour and bondage magazines in the 1950's. Gretchen Mol fleshes out the naive, big hearted wannabe starlet with panache and is supported with a number of recognisable faces but the script/plot are a little timid and like so many biopics it struggles to balance the events of the subject's history with the necessary character development. Still it's a good watch and I can think of worse ways to spend 90mins than stare at Mol romping about in her undercrackers.

Citizen X is a dramatisation of the true story of a Soviet serial killer who managed to kill 50 before being caught. Stephen Rea's trammeled detective is tasked with the hunt by his sly boss, played by Donald Sutherland, and the pair must thwart Moscow's interference and professional incompetence in their years long search for the murderer. Though it's not as pretty to look at as Bettie Page the script and performances provide an effective atmosphere of quiet, tragic desperation though Rea does occasionally drift into Droopy-esque levels of morosity.

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