Anger and anguish visible in her eyes and etched in the lines of her face, Juliette Binoche delivers a terrific performance as a war photographer torn between work and family in topical and thought-provoking drama A Thousand Times Good Night.
When we first encounter her, Binoche’s Rebecca is embedded in a remote village in Afghanistan, grimly documenting the ritual preparations undertaken by a female suicide bomber as she prepares for her ‘martyrdom’.
Furious that ‘the world is more interested in Paris Hilton climbing out of a car with no knickers on’ than in the plight of people in conflict zones, Rebecca is determined to show the world what really goes on in such dangerous places.
But her obsessive pursuit of the truth has its costs, not least on her nearest and dearest back home in rural Ireland, where her marine biologist husband Marcus (Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and young daughters Steph (Lauryn Canny) and Lisa (Adrianna Cramer Curtis) wonder whether she will return home in one piece every time she sets off on an assignment. With her marriage and family at stake, can she turn her back on her adrenaline-fuelled existence?
A Thousand Times Good Night is the work of Norwegian director Erik Poppe, himself a former photojournalist, and the film’s inspiration is clearly personal. Yet by making his hard-bitten protagonist a woman rather than a man, Poppe both overturns usual gender stereotypes and makes the choices facing Binoche’s wife and mother peculiarly loaded.
The script occasionally spells out these choices a little clunkily, but although the words sometimes fail, the film’s striking images speak volumes – as does Binoche’s compelling face.
Certificate 15. Runtime 107 mins. Director Erik Poppe.
Showing on Sky Movies Premiere at 10pm tonight
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