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The opinions expressed on this page are mine alone. Any similarities to the views of my employer are completely coincidental.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Crime and Punishment

I'm getting to the age where I don't remember  what movies I've seen. A few weeks ago we started to watch a DVD borrowed from the library and only after watching for 10 minutes did it suddenly dawn on us that it looked terribly familiar...I suppose I'd have more to worry about if I didn't  notice.

But the last two weekends have been a triumph of cinematic consumption. Last week we watched John McDonagh's Calvary and the week before Lav Diaz's Norte, the End of History. Both are about crime and punishment and both in their very different ways are masterpieces.

Calvary, set in contemporary Ireland, is essentially a retelling of the Christian myth. Someone has to pay for the sins of the fathers  and who better than somebody who is good? Of course the twist is that the bad guys and the good guys all belong to the same institution - the Catholic church and that this exploration of the crisis of trust in the Irish Church is conducted with a considerable amount of deadpan black humour.

Norte starts off from Dostoyevsky's premise that there is only one thing worse than being punished for your crimes and that is not being punished. The film is four hours long and contains a very large number of long shots from a stationary camera which will not be to everyone's taste but I found it increasingly enthralling. In fact the last two hours just fly by as you get drawn into the descent of one the principle characters into  a  hell of insanity and violence.

The central message of both  films can be summed up as: the fathers have taken too little care of this, and that redemption entails tragedy.

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