"Christine" Review




Title: Christine
Director: Antonio Campos
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall
Studio: Borderline Films
Genre(s): Drama
Rated: R (For a scene of disturbing violence and for language including some sexual references)


Journalism has become a cesspool of fear initiating, gross out, non-important nonsense.  I would like to pretend that this is a new thing, but the reality is that the wheels started turning in a dangerous and (some would say) irreversible direction in the early 70’s.  TV was getting edgier.  Violence was becoming a product people started to crave more than food.  Local news networks started to realize that if they focused on the violence and uncertainty in the world, they would have viewers glued to their network, feeding their fears while giving advertisers a reason to encourage this type of programing.  Christine Chubbuck (Rebecca Hall) was a reporter who saw the danger the news industry was heading.  Her foresight of the business - as well as her empathy for the news to be a force for good - led her to do something drastic on the air. 
 
That thing (which I won’t spoil for any readers who don’t know the history behind her story) was shocking, saddening, and, yet, it was strangely poetic.  She gave the network exactly what they wanted as well as proved how fleeting their concept of “news” really was.  In “Christine” we follow her as she is simply a reporter.  She isn’t glamorous or edgy.  She does stories about ripe strawberries.  She lives with her mother.  She wants to do so much good for the world that she even interrupts a couple having dinner and gives them her card.  Her reason: because the two are obviously in love and she wants to do a story on them.  It is so sweet to think that at one point this was type of reporting that was actually done.  It’s a shame her boss doesn’t agree with her.  He has staff meetings on a near daily basis, and almost everything he has to say involve the ratings and getting juicy stories.

For him, violence is in, and if it bleeds, it leads.  She understands that by going down this path the news will degenerate to the point of doing more harm than good, but she isn’t the one in power, and she is finding her morals to be increasingly unpopular by the day.  She lives with her mother who smokes weed and has sex with men who aren’t her father.  Christine pines for her co-worker George (Michael C. Hall), the lead anchor who does appear to have at least a fleeting interest in her.  Christine is socially awkward though.  There are references that at times she “gets dark” and “moody,” and already flags are going off.  For all her good intentions, it is clear the woman was depressed.  The sadness in the film comes from Rebecca Hall’s intimate performance, as we watch a woman struggling to keep her sanity in check in a world that appears to constantly be drowning her out.

The world has come to understand depression a lot more since Christine was alive, but it should be noted it still has a way to go.  As we watch the movie we see the signs.  We know something is going to snap.  If you don’t know the real story the events will certainly shock you.  I knew about the events so I knew what was coming, but I was impressed with how director Antonio Campos handled what was going to be a pivotal moment; a scene that could make or break the movie.  What he does was brilliant.  Stunning, really, when I stop and really think about it.  Like the event itself, the scene plays out so quickly it takes everyone a moment or two to even realize what happened.  The scene ends up being brief, unsettling, and ultimately leaves you with a feeling of pointlessness.  That may sound like a non-recommendation, but in the case of “Christine” it is perfectly fitting.

 







CONSUMER ADVICE
Parents, there is a lot of language, violence, sexuality/nudity, and there is that whole murder and affair thing going on.  Recommended for ages 18 and up..



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