Hope aka Håp

Andrea Bræin Hovig and Stellan Skarsgård

“Oh no, no, no, no, not another fucking cancer film,” was Stellan Skarsgård’s response when he was asked to be in Hope (aka Håp in the original Norwegian) by his old friend, its writer/director Maria Sødahl. Skarsgård has a point. The terminal illness weepie can itself be pretty deadly. But Hope is more about love and family life than about sickness. It doesn’t get too hung up on redemption. And it can boast fabulous performances all round, including from Skarsgård, who took the gig. The true-to-lifeness undoubtedly has a lot to do with the fact that it really happened. In 2011 Maria Sødahl learned that the lung cancer she thought she’d recovered from … Read more

The Painted Bird

Joska asleep on a cart while a woman hoes

A screen adaptation of Polish-born Jerzy Kosiński’s novel The Painted Bird probably should have been made before 2019. “Of all the remarkable fiction that emerged from World War II, nothing stands higher than Jerzy Kosiński’s The Painted Bird,” wrote Jonathan Yardley in The Miami Herald in a typical rave when the book first appeared in 1965. When it turned out that the book wasn’t based on Kosiński’s own personal experiences, as he had claimed, and that he’d pulled off a remarkable literary hoax, sentiment reversed sharply. Decades later there were claims that other books by Kosiński – like Being There (which was turned into a 1979 film starring Peter Sellers) – were largely … Read more

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

keira knightley potc2

Yo ho ho and a bottle of something very rum, this second instalment of Gore Verbinski’s money-spinner is a swirling follow-on from part one and a dizzying lead into part three – it’s all midsection in other words. Tonally, it’s Monty Python’s Life of Blackbeard, but with one big difference. It’s not funny. The question is: is it supposed to be? The actors don’t seem to know, so they all camp it up just to be on the safe side. Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow continues channelling Keith Richards and actually getting Donatella Versace. Orlando Bloom leaps about trying to look like the film is about him. And Keira Knightley looks fiercely gorgeous, … Read more