November 15th, 2007

I went to see "Lions for Lambs" today.

I went to see the Robert Redford film "Lions for Lambs" today. It's effectively three stories rolled into one film. Tom Cruise plays a Senator being interviewed by a CNN style journalist played by Meryl Streep. They rehearse the arguments that the Democrats and Republicans have over the war with Cruise pushing another "one more heave strategy" on Streep's report (though it'd be refreshing to hear a real-life politician admitting they made so many mistakes getting us into the war in the first place).

Robert Redford plays a professor who is trying to buck up the ideas of a student who have much potential but is too jaundiced by society (and politicians who lead them into pointless wars) to really give a flying fig about much more than the latest celebrity gossip. He uses two former students who joined the army as an example of people who are trying to change things and who could act as beacons for the jaundiced students.

The third story examines the experiences of the two students who signed up for the war in the first place.

I'm not sure what sort of reviews the film has been getting, but I actually thought it was pretty good. It is the first film I've seen that makes the point that "we made this mistake, so we should try to get it sorted."

I finished "Grave Tattoo" by Val McDermid.

I don't know how many people know about Fletcher Cristian and the mutiny on the Bounty beyond two films that were made about the subject (one which stars Marlon Brandon as Christian and Charles Laughton as Captain Blyth, while the other stars Mel Gibson), but I'm inclined to argue that it's famous enough in England to make Blyth the fifth or sixth most famous naval captain in English history (behind Scott, Cook, Wellington, Shackleton and Nelson).

The author Val McDermid's probably most famous for writing a series of books about a police psychologist called Tony Hill. They made it onto the BBC in the UK and are probably on some US cable channel if you look hard enough (they're called the "Wire in the Blood" series in the UK at least).

In this book, McDermid introduces an unrelated character, Jane Gresham. Gresham is a Wordsworth scholar who believes that Christian made it back to the UK after the mutiny and spilled his guts to (his school friend) Wordsworth about Blyth liking men rather than women. When a body that is similar to Christian's turns up in the Lake District, she sets off to investigate.

It's a daft story I know, but it rattles along at are fair old whack and if you like your thrillers slightly different, you'll probably admit that storyline is as odd as you've read in a while.