Culture / Film

Review: A Thousand Times Goodnight @ Glasgow Film Theatre

Some say it’s a bad man’s world. Some say bad things only happen in certain countries. Erik Poppe’s A Thousand Times Goodnight however explores the border-crossing affect war and terror can have on those not directly associated.

Spending much of her time estranged from her husband and young daughters, Rebecca (Juliette Binoche) is a renowned war photographer, risking her life for the most hard-hitting of pictures. After being caught up in an explosion in Kabul, she returns home to find her family falling apart, and is forced to think if her job is really all that worth it.

When forming a sentence, writers must take caution to ensure every mark of punctuation is present; one misused or misplaced comma can change everything. Binoche takes this approach into her acting making her depiction of Rebecca flawless. Taking viewers on an empathetic journey as they watch, there’s not one emotion omitted from the tense and responsive scenes of this film.

The contrasting views of Rebecca’s children, secondary school pupil Steph (Lauryn Canny) and Lisa (Adrianna Cramer Curtis), who’s still at primary school portray the for and against arguments of their mother’s job. Of course Lisa is perhaps still too young to fully understand the lethal outcome this kind of work could have on Rebecca, but her attitude is hopeful nonetheless. Steph, a little more aware of the world, is however terrified each time her mother takes a job, and this notion is shared by husband Marcus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldan) also.

While exploring the life of this broken family, and the price it’s paying for Rebecca’s sacrifices, the film yields viewers an understanding of just how imminent and unexpected attacks on civilians can be by entwining a mother-daughter trip to Kenya to the plot. This tied in with the explosion in Kabul make many realise how lucky they are to live in a peaceful country.

Although photo-journalism can be an eye-opener and at times more powerful than the written word, as the final scene of A Thousand Times Goodnight illustrates, Rebecca’s pictures alone can’t stop what’s wrong the world. But it won’t kill her passion to try.

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