With an artful aesthetic that will please fans of ambitious independent filmmaking, this British drama struggles to match its lush imagery with an oddly simplistic script. Even as it addresses epilepsy with an insider's knowing perspective, the strong, fresh cast never gets to bring out much depth in the characters. Which leaves the movie feeling like little more than an exercise in whizzy camerawork and swirly editing.
It begins in Blackpool, where Lily (Agyness Deyn) is resolutely refusing to update her epilepsy meds, because the new ones make her feel fuzzy. But this means she has frequent seizures. And they only get worse after her mother dies. With help from her boss (Tom Georgeson), she tracks down her big brother Barry (Paul Anderson), who tells her he's planning to sell Mum's house and divide the cash between them. But Lily thinks their black-sheep brother Mikey (Christian Cooke) deserves his share, even though he disappeared four years ago. So she travels to London to find him, having key encounters with a homeless girl (Saffron Coomber), a kindly stranger (Lenora Crichlow) and eventually a sexy young man (Ben Batt) who may know where Mikey is.
The title refers to Lily's seizures, which she describes as an electrical explosion in her brain, and filmmaker Bryn Higgins uses inventive imagery and editing to take the audience right into her perspective. These scenes are harrowing and moving, even if there's no real sense of peril. Not only do we never doubt that Lily will be OK, but we get increasingly annoyed by her nagging naivete in misunderstanding everything and everyone around her. Surely fixing her dosage would help her avoid these devastating seizures. The actors manage to make the most of these oddly underwritten roles as people using whatever is at hand to cope with their miserable lives.
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The first episode of this series is 'Richard II' detailing the life of the King between 1398 and 1400; his greed, his severity in regards to his subjects and his eventual overthrow by his cousin Henry Bolingbroke, who, after claiming the throne, had Richard imprisoned and later murdered. The second two episodes are based on Bolingbroke, now dubbing himself Henry IV, who's Kingship has brought with it a revolt with the Percy family. His son, the future Henry V, is determined to be King one day, but with a disapproving father who'd rather Henry Percy (aka Hotspur) become his heir, there is understandable bloodshed. The final episode tells the story of Henry V, who struggles with the complexity of war and his own moral standing as a ruler.
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The Wanda of the title is named after a very lovely American (Jamie Lee Curtis) who is involved in a London jewel heist organized by her temporary lover, Georges (Tom Georgeson). Working a long con, Wanda recruits her boyfriend Otto (Kline) for the gig and has him squeal on Georges. The plan works except Georges hides the diamonds.
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In "The Reckoning," a troupe of 14th century traveling actors abandon their standard Bible-story fare while visiting a small fiefdom in order to reenact the recent murder of a local boy, and discover in the process that the official version of events is a cover-up for something far more disconcerting.
Having an outsiders' perspective, the players can sense something amiss with the local Church-based justice, and one of their number -- himself a disgraced priest on the run played by Paul Bettany -- feels compelled to investigate. A mute, wild-woman healer (and thus a suspected witch) is scheduled to hang for the crime, but what he discovers leads the actors to risk their lives to expose the truth by presenting a play based on the facts.
Unfortunately, writer Mark Mills (who adapted Barry Unsworth's novel "Morality Play") and director Paul McGuigan utterly fail to address one fundamental problem with their story: What makes them think the people of this village would pay to see the still-fresh horror of a child's brutal murder fictionalized for them like some Middle-Ages Movie of the Week?
Continue reading: The Reckoning Review
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With an artful aesthetic that will please fans of ambitious independent filmmaking, this British drama...
The first episode of this series is 'Richard II' detailing the life of the King...
In "The Reckoning," a troupe of 14th century traveling actors abandon their standard Bible-story fare...