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The Rat who is made of Stainless Steel

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Film Reviews: Incendies (2010) and Black Sea (2014)
Incendies (2010). Based on the play by Wajdi Mouawad and directed by Denis Villeneuve. The film is initially set several years in the past. A number of children are in a Palestinian orphanage having their heads shaved. The story then moves to present day Canada, where a notary reads the will of Nawal Marwan (Lubna Azabal) to her two children, Jeanne (Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin) and Simon (Maxim Gaudette). There will is typical to begin with but the children are then told they must deliver a letter to both their father, that they have never known, and a half-brother they never knew they had. If these letters are not delivered the mother says she cannot have a proper burial. Incendies is a tough watch. Set mostly in Palestine it shows the journey of Jeanne as she tries to trace her father and half-brother, paralleled against the journey of her mother decades earlier. There are incredible performances throughout. Recommended for those who enjoy (very) gritty stories. 4/5 (Good)

Black Sea (2014). Written by Dennis Kelly and directed by Kevin Macdonald. The film opens with submarine expert Robinson (Jude Law) being made redundant. Another colleague that has been made redundant says that he is aware of the location of a World War 2 German submarine rumoured to be carrying gold. With the help of an investor they hire an aged Russian submarine to try and recover the gold. Although no Das Boot, Black Sea is pretty good. The story takes the concept of submarine travel seriously, rather than it being a superficial affair. There's the inevitable cast of tough sailors, some British and some Russian. Unsurprisingly the mission doesn't go as expected and this is the interesting bit of the story, which is handled well. The most difficult bit for me was Jude Law's thick Scottish accent, which may well have been accurate but just seemed... odd. Anyway, recommended for those who like a serious mix of drama and action. 4/5 (Good)