Jim Sturgess

Hard Sun S1 E1-3 (BBC One)

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Hard Sun is one of those complicated ‘high concept’ affairs, which should make it a much harder sell than most of the prime time drama fare currently on show on TV.

It’s created and written by Neil Cross, who brought us the similarly ‘heightened/hyper reality’ drama Luther. Both series feature situations that are amped up to the point where you know the whole thing is too over-the-top to be true, but it’s both ludicrous and ludicrously entertaining even as you delight in pointing out all the myriad plot oversights. Read the rest of this entry »

Cloud Atlas (2012) [Blu-ray]

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People often read reviews of things to work out whether it’s something they themselves will like, and in that sense Cloud Atlas is review-proof. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about this film, you still won’t have any idea whether you yourself will like it until you actually see it with your own eyes. You might love it and think it the best film of all time, or may hate it and consider it the worst film ever made. Neither reaction would surprise me; the only response that would is one of indifference.

Adapted from the famously unfilmable novel by David Mitchell (the writer, not the actor/comedian/TV personality), Cloud Atlas tries to stick to the core text of the book but also takes great liberties with its unique structure of six ‘nesting’ stories. In the book you get the first half of each story in turn before dropping down into the next one, and then the latter part of the novel comes back up through the conclusions of each story in reverse order to show how they fit together and interlink into one thematic whole.

Sure enough, all six stories from the book are still present in the film: there’s the 1849 South Pacific sea voyage of young lawyer Adam Ewing on slave trade business for his father-in-law; a 1930s Britain section following young musician Robert Frobisher who goes to work for an elderly famous composer; a 1973 tale of journalist Luisa Rey’s investigation into the safety of a San Francisco nuclear power plant; a modern broad comedy featuring the misadventures of publisher Timothy Cavendish in London 2012; a near-future tale featuring the plight of clones in corporate-dominated Neo Seoul in 2144; and a post-catastrophe world where civilisation has collapsed and small tribes fight for survival with other feral human survivors, a stark warning about where our own current ‘dog-eat-dog’ selfish approach to life might ultimately take us as a society and as a species. Read the rest of this entry »