Christine – 2016

In today’s entertainment market, it is easy for a movie to slip by unnoticed. This is because there are so many entertainment companies churning out product. When I was young, and up until just 15 years ago, most every movie, including the occasional independent film, was on most people’s radar.

Today, with the help of a fantastic app called The Criterion Channel, I discovered yet another film that got by me. Its called Christine. Anyone in my age range (or slightly younger) or older will instantly think of the 1983 movie by that same name when they hear Christine. That movie was based on a Stephen King novel about a demonically possessed car. The 2016 movie has nothing to do with this. This movie instead is based on a totally true story which occurred in 1974.

If you don’t know the story behind Christine great. Knowing the history here is a true spoiler. But the movie is great even if you do.

I started watching this movie and was at first put off by the lead character’s attitude. It felt like another piece of revisionist history where they make women from the past into something they want them to be, ie., a domineering force that ran things behind the scenes. It didn’t take long before I realized that this wasn’t the case. I could quickly tell that this was a true-to-life account of Christine Chubbock. I knew her story very vaguely but now her life is totally fleshed out in my mind after seeing this film.

The set design, character development and flow of this movie is superb. Even if I knew how it ended, it had my attention. I was fully captivated. Director Antonio Campos did a fantastic job of capturing the moment. It really felt like I’d imagine 1974 Sarasota, FL¬†actually being.

Rebecca Hall was perfect in the lead spot. And she has been recognized for her work on this project. But other actors did amazing work as well. Tracy Letts stands out most of all in his support role as the TV station manager. He is truly great in this. His character has a real depth that is rarely seen in modern movies.

Michaels C. Hall was really great and 100% believable. Maria Dizzia was fantastic as well. Even the minor role of Steve the weatherman has real depth. He is played by Timothy Simons.

I don’t want to gush¬† too much about the roles or the movie itself but I must say this thing had a very realistic feel to it. I was born in the 70’s and lived in FL in the 80’s. It really hit home. I give this movie two thumbs up or whatever other symbolic gesture it takes to inspire you to watch it.

Notes:

The main theme song reminds me of the one used in “Fog of War” by Errol Morris, a documentary filmmaker who rose to prominence in the late 70’s. That movie dealt with material set mostly in the 1960’s and 1970s’.

The movie hides certain details which are later revealed in an inconspicuous manner. Something you don’t get a lot of these days. Modern movies seem to feel the need to hit you up side the head with circumstances.

The movie had a certain “Boogie Nights” feel to it. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was used in some way as an inspiration.

There is definitely a message being delivered about modern news “reporting”. I wasn’t alive during this period of time but from what I understand this is when the news outlets transitioned to a more graphic line of programming (“If it Bleeds it Leads”).

There are a few ham-handed period references. When they are driving to the scene of a house fire, one character remarks “I feel like Bob Woodward”. We get it. It’s the 1970s’. Would anyone today say ” I feel like Anderson Cooper” on their way to a scene if they were already in the news business? I doubt they would back then either.

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