Culture Vulture: Your guide to the week’s entertainment (25th to 31st of March 2023)

Highlights this week include the classic 1947 film Brighton Rock, Hendrix and the Spook and the 2010 film The Whistleblower. Selections by Pat Harrington, music is by Tim Bragg.

Saturday 25th of March 2023

Brighton Rock (1947 film) 6.50pm Talking Pictures

Brighton Rock is a classic film noir from 1947, directed by John Boulting and based on the novel by Graham Greene. The film is a gripping and atmospheric crime thriller that takes place in the seaside town of Brighton, England.

The story follows Pinkie Brown (Richard Attenborough), a young gangster who is on the run after committing a murder. Pinkie is ruthless and ambitious, and will stop at nothing to protect himself and his gang from the law. When he meets a naive waitress named Rose (Carol Marsh), Pinkie sees an opportunity to use her as an alibi and keep his tracks covered. However, things get complicated when Rose becomes infatuated with Pinkie and refuses to leave his side, leading to a dangerous game of deception and betrayal.

The film is expertly shot and captures the gritty and seedy atmosphere of Brighton in the 1940s. The performances are also exceptional, with Richard Attenborough delivering a chilling and convincing portrayal of Pinkie, and Carol Marsh bringing a fragile and vulnerable quality to her role as Rose. The supporting cast is also strong, with standout performances from Hermione Baddeley as the brassy and streetwise Ida, and William Hartnell as the loyal and tragic Spicer.

One of the most striking aspects of the film is its exploration of the themes of guilt, morality, and redemption. The characters are complex and flawed, and their actions have far-reaching consequences that are explored in depth throughout the film. This adds depth and nuance to the story, elevating it from a standard crime thriller to a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant work.

The MI5 Spy and the IRA: Operation Chiffon 7pm BBC2

Peter Taylor, an acclaimed BBC journalist, has recently uncovered an extraordinary tale of a former MI5 agent who took a bold and risky move to persuade the IRA to abandon violence and embrace politics. This agent, known only as Robert, had been running a highly confidential channel of communication between the UK government and the IRA leadership for several years. His daring actions, which remained a closely held secret for thirty years, proved to be a crucial factor in the negotiations that ultimately led to the historic Good Friday Agreement.

Sunday 26th March of 2023

The Soviet Union 100th Anniversary 1922 6.25pm PBS America

The Soviet Union was established in 1922 as a one-party state governed by the Communist Party. Despite being a political experiment and an ideal, it inflicted immense destruction on its own people in the name of progress. The sheer size of the country, stretching from Moscow to Vladivostok and Leningrad to Stalingrad, made governance difficult. Complicated and contradictory figureheads led the country, including Stalin, Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and Gorbachev, each with their own flaws and contributions. Over the years, the Soviet Union became increasingly isolated, repressive, and economically uncertain, casting a large shadow on the world. Its tumultuous history shaped the 20th century, with convulsions, purges, wars, and leaders leaving a lasting impact.

Glass (2019 film) 11.10pm Film4

Glass is a 2019 psychological thriller film directed by M. Night Shyamalan, and it serves as a conclusion to his trilogy that began with Unbreakable in 2000 and Split in 2016. The film brings back the characters from the previous two movies, with David Dunn (Bruce Willis) and Elijah Price/Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) from Unbreakable and Kevin Wendell Crumb/The Horde (James McAvoy) from Split.

The movie picks up where Split left off, with David Dunn now known as the vigilante “The Overseer” hunting down The Horde. Meanwhile, Mr. Glass, who has been institutionalized for years due to his extreme intellect and his destructive actions, manipulates both The Overseer and The Horde to achieve his own ends. The three characters eventually come together in a highly anticipated showdown that tests their abilities and beliefs.

The acting in Glass is superb, with all three lead actors delivering strong performances that showcase their characters’ complexities and inner conflicts. James McAvoy, in particular, shines as he portrays multiple personalities in The Horde, seamlessly switching between them and showcasing his range as an actor.

The film’s plot is intricate and layered, with twists and turns that keep the audience engaged and guessing until the very end. The themes of identity, purpose, and the nature of heroism are explored in depth, adding depth and nuance to the story.

Monday 27th of March 2023

The Whistleblower (2010 film) 11.35pm GREAT! movies

The Whistleblower is a 2010 drama film based on the true story of Kathryn Bolkovac, a police officer from Nebraska who worked as a United Nations peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia. The film follows her journey as she uncovers a sex trafficking ring involving high-ranking officials and fellow UN peacekeepers.

Rachel Weisz stars as Kathryn Bolkovac, and her performance is both powerful and emotional as she portrays a woman determined to do the right thing despite facing immense opposition and danger. The supporting cast, including Vanessa Redgrave and David Strathairn, also deliver solid performances, adding depth and authenticity to the story.

The film is a harrowing look at the brutal reality of sex trafficking and the corruption that enables it. The scenes depicting the abuse of young girls are difficult to watch but are necessary to drive home the seriousness of the issue. The cinematography and direction are effective in conveying the bleakness of the situation and the feeling of hopelessness that pervades the story.

One of the strengths of the film is its ability to show the impact of Kathryn’s actions not only on the victims of the sex trafficking ring but also on Kathryn herself. She faces retaliation and threats from her colleagues and superiors, and the toll it takes on her personal life is evident. The film does not shy away from the emotional toll of speaking out against injustice, and this adds a layer of authenticity to the story.

The Whistleblower is a powerful and important film that sheds light on a disturbing issue and the corruption that enables it. It is a sobering reminder of the importance of speaking out against injustice, even when it comes at great personal cost. The performances and direction are excellent, and the film is highly recommended for those interested in social justice issues and true stories of courage and perseverance.

Tuesday 28th of March 2023

On Assisgnment 10.55pm ITV1

Reporter James Mates travels to Portugal to meet campaigners on both sides of a controversial new euthanasia law. Elsewhere, Dan Rivers travels to Alice Springs in Australia to ask why so many feel the country continues to fail its indigenous population and whether a proposed referendum on introducing a permanent Indigenous Voice to Parliament might be one step towards righting long-standing wrongs.

Wednesday 29th of March 2023

Glenda Jackson Remembers… Elizabeth R 10pm BBC4

Double Oscar winner Glenda Jackson remembers the role that brought her back to television after the huge success she had found on the big screen.

Thursday 30th of March 2023

Tutankhamun: Allies an Enemies (one of two) 8.15pm PBS America

Episode 1 commemorates the centennial of King Tut’s tomb opening by exploring the mysteries of his life and burial. Egyptologist Dr. Yasmin El Shazly and Photographer Mahmoud Rashad meet with historians and scientists to inspect historical inconsistencies.

Friday 31st of March 2023

Hendrix and the Spook 7.30pm Sky Arts

On the 18th September 1970 rock superstar Jimi Hendrix died in London. The coroner’s report declared an open verdict on the cause of his death, it could be suicide, it could be murder. Hendrix and The Spook discovers with exclusive interviews and unseen archive footage who may have benefitted from his death, most notably his manager and British spy Mike Jeffrey and his girlfriend Monika Dannemann.

Tutankhamun: Allies an Enemies (two of two) 8.25pm PBS America

Episode 2 uncovers further mysteries behind King Tut’s life and burial. Egyptologist Dr. Yasmin El Shazly and Photographer Mahmoud Rashad continue their journey, seeking to answer some of the historical inconsistencies surrounding this great civilization.


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