Tropic Cinema Deftly Mixes Fact and Fiction
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
Film Critic, Key West Citizen
Three films based on true stories are followed by fiction and fantasy -- an interesting mix this week at the Tropic.
“Denial” tells about the celebrated libel trial between America writer Deborah E. Lipstadt (played by Rachel Weisz) and bombastic British holocaust denier David Irving (Timothy Spall). Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkinson) is the barrister who tirelessly defends her. Newsday observes, “Facts and opinions duke it out in this thought-provoking if slightly low-key drama based on true events.” And ReelViews adds, “It’s strangely refreshing to watch a courtroom drama where theatricality doesn’t trump meticulous examination and cross-examination.”
Another kind of defense followed Chesley Sullenberger’s decision to set disabled US Airways Flight 1549 down on the Hudson River. “Sully” gives us Tom Hanks as the hero pilot under a spotlight. Phantom Tollbooth notes, “Tom Hanks seems comfortable in the role, moustache and all.” And Matt’s Movie Reviews tells us this is “a film that shows how the system can work when the right time comes.”
Still another legal problem is faced by fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden. Oliver Stone’s “Snowden” stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the CIA computer whiz who revealed the NSA’s domestic surveillance program. Detroit News opines, “If Snowden’s story wasn’t real, Stone would have made it up.” And The Arts Desk says, “Stone has fashioned the story into a tense, fast-moving drama which will leave you pondering over what’s really justifiable for the greater good.”
Unlike the above real-life stories, “The Girl on the Train” is an edge-of-the-seat fictional thriller. An alcoholic divorcee (Emily Blunt) spots suspicious goings-on as she rides the commuter train to and from NYC. Did she see someone abduct a woman? Deadline Hollywood Daily says, “Emily Blunt’s startlingly good lead performance makes this ‘train’ trip worthwhile for fans of the book and others who like mystery psychological thrillers.” And amNewYork concludes, “It’s acted with great passion and helmed with steadfast commitment to a glossy psychologized aesthetic.”
And “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” goes further afield, entering Tim Burton’s fantasyland. Miss Peregrine (Eva Green) protects her mutant wards from a very bad guy (Samuel L. Jackson). New York Daily News declares, “Tim Burton is on macabre message in his latest offering -- an adaptation of Ransom Riggs’ popular trilogy.” And Excelsior calls it “a film full of amazing visuals.”
Here are five films that will definitely entertain, inform, and bend your imagination.