23 July 2024

DVD Review – ‘Christine’ (2016)

Christine‘ is based on the true story of Christine Chubbuck, a broadcast journalist on a local television station in Florida. Christine’s depression is made worse by a lack of meaningful career opportunities. Her determination to tell the honest news and current affairs from a human angle, and without sensationalising them, is hindered by a number of other things, not least the boss of the station.

Whilst Rebecca Hall‘s performance as Christine is meticulously detailed, her boss (Tracy Letts as Mike) appears contrived and stereotypical in an authoritative role. In terms of the other performances, they’re mostly believable and naturalistic. Michael C Hall takes on bold news anchor George – he works well with a script that has room for improvement.

There are interesting uses of close-up, displaying all of the technical aspects of filming/preparing news broadcasts – the cutting of pre-recorded film, the cameras and display monitors, the physical papers on the news desk. This kind of footage is interesting because, on several occasions, we get a shot of the live news broadcast on a TV set in the location of the next scene. The idea that reporting the news is very important to all of the characters lives is neatly established.

At around two hours in duration, this film is arguably too long. The opening section seems to drag on, in spite of trying to capture a notion of relentlessness in Christine’s life. You get the impression this may have been better summarised through the use of montage. It takes most of the film to get to the point of the films trailer where Christine goes to a group therapy session and takes part in an exercise referred to as “yes, but”. There’s obviously more brevity in the trailer, but it tells us more in less than three minutes than we get in sixty minutes of the feature.

The film looks good; the camera shows us a lot of detail, the editing often parallels that of broadcast news which is smart. For Christine, every last detail of her pre-recorded material has to be on the money and faultless. It is therefore very important this film echoes that attention to detail, and is scrupulous in it’s portrayal of the story.

Aside from viewing the trailer, I went into this film knowing very little about the true story of Christine Chubbuck. I therefore don’t know how much difference it makes and how your viewing experience is changed by knowing the outcomes of it. Either way, I think audiences will agree on how good Hall’s performance is in the lead role, and that this lifts the fascinating narrative into something great.

Christine‘ matches all of the marks in terms of tone. Moreover there are enough narrative threads that make you want to continue watching. It is just a pity that the narrative is slow to progress, and that all of the set up is evident in the trailer.

Christine‘ is available on DVD and Blu-ray now

[rating=4] | Zach Roddis

Biography, Drama | USA, 2016 | 15 |27th February 2017(UK) | Universal Pictures | Dir.Antonio Campos | Rachel Hall, Michael C.Hall, Tracy Letts | Buy:Christine [DVD]

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