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Film roundup

This article is over 21 years, 10 months old
Issue 1688

film roundup

THREE KINGS is set in the hours following the Iraqi surrender which ended the 1991 Gulf War. It begins with the US troops’ bullish victory celebrations. Four soldiers set off to steal Kuwaiti gold from the Iraqis. As their journey progresses, however, they are confronted with the reality of the US victory, where Iraqi civilians who have acted on George Bush’s encouragement and risen up against their regime have been abandoned to their fate. David O Russell’s film is not ashamed to say the US war in the Gulf was a cynically manipulated disaster.

Arabs are allowed to be human, even sympathetic, characters. The film misses no opportunities to point the finger at the US’s culpability. For example, one soldier is tortured by a guard who was taught his techniques by US forces. The film is sentimental, and perhaps too happy – ever – after, but it has some wonderful moments. Three Kings is a rare combination of intelligent action with a political conscience. By Judy Cox

THE TALENTED Mr Ripley is an impressive film by the director of The English Patient, Anthony Minghella. It has a star – studded cast, well developed characters and imaginative camera work. Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is a poor young man working as a lavatory attendant in New York. Through a twist of fate Ripley meets rich shipbuilder Hubert Greenleaf, who mistakenly assumes he is a college friend of his son Dickie (Jude Law). The elder Greenleaf pays for Ripley to go to Italy to convince Dickie to return to the States. Dickie is living the high life with his girlfriend, Marge (Gwyneth Paltrow). Ripley is loathe to give up Dickie’s lifestyle once he becomes accustomed to it. Saying any more about the plot would give it all away. This film highlights how class and money create jealousy and resentment that can lead people to drastic actions. By Anna Roik


CORRESPONDENT: THE COCAINE WAR (Sat, 6.50pm, BBC2) has interviews with the main participants in Colombia where the US is using drugs as an excuse to attack the left. 

AGUIRRE, WRATH OF GOD (Sat, 12.05am, BBC2) may not be to all tastes but is a powerful portrait of obsession. It chronicles the actual expedition of Gonzalez Pizarro into the Peruvian jungle in 1560. 

ONCE WERE WARRIORS is a good film which shows the terrible pressure on Maori communities in New Zealand. 

ONE FALSE MOVE (Tues, 11.35pm, C4) is a tense thriller with political overtones.

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