Why fer gawd’s sake would a movie snob like me watch this testosterone laden action drama? Good question, and one I asked myself through all eight episodes. By way of explanation: I had heard a very amusing and intelligent NPR interview with crime fiction writer and author of the Jack Reacher series Lee Child. Maybe it was the British accent or maybe it was his deconstructing and contextualizing the literary tradition of the lone hero that pulled me in. Who knows? The hero, Jack Reacher looks just like The Incredible Hulk–but handsome. He doesn’t have supernatural strength but those Popeye arms are capable of some pretty powerful deeds. Reacher, generally stone-faced, emerges from his taciturnity mostly when he provides a shrewd Sherlock Holmes analysis. Bludgeoning, slashing, impaling, drowning– gore that you rarely see–these are this series’ mainstay. What kept me watching– except for the many times I had to hide my eyes? Childs is a skillful mystery writer and knows how to keep his reader hooked with extreme but sort of plausible, non predictable plot developments. It kept me wanting to know whodunnit and why. I actually watched the fights because they were well-choreographed performances, video games come alive. Plus there is the satisfaction of seeing the bad guys get their comeuppance. So, with all those caveats, if you do watch it let me know your thoughts.
“Mr. Sunshine” (Netflix)
I’m a third of a way through this interesting Korean historical drama. There are 27 one-hour segments so I have a ways to go! So far I’ve learned a lot about Korean history (which I knew nothing about –did you know that the U.S. invaded it twice–once during the time of Lincoln and then again in Teddy Roosevelt’s era –the setting of the melodrama. Gorgeous costumes, beautiful setting, and interesting (but fictionalized) plot add up to an hour’s worth of distracting entertainment. It can be a little confusing because of flashbacks but eventually it sort of makes sense.
“The Electrical Life of Louis Wain” (Amazon)
It has received mixed reviews, but I really enjoyed this bio pic of Victorian artist Louis Wain. Cat lovers will especially like learning about his part in the successful effort to domesticate the cat. Of course I read the Wikipedia entry about him and it seems that the film remained faithful to the true events of his life and characterization. You will recognize so many of the British acting luminaries, including the omnipresent Benedict Cumberbatch as the very talented artist, Wain.
Recommendations from Others:
“The Guilty”(Netflix) I haven’t seen it yet, but it comes highly recommended. Danish
“The Courier” A 2020 historical spy tale based on true events. Benedict Cumberbatch. It got mixed reviews but I really liked it and so did the reader who suggested it.