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Non-Review Review: Ni juge, ni soumise (So Help Me God)

This film was seen as part of the Audi Dublin International Film Festival 2018.

So Help Me God is a very strange film, in that it is very difficult to imagine how exactly this documentary got made.

Anne Gruwez is a judge working in Brussels. As part of her role in the criminal justice system, she not only supervises on-going investigations, but also hear minor cases on something approaching a one-on-one basis. So Help Me God follows roughly a year in the life of Gruwez, splitting its attention between her on-going stewardship of a cold case murder investigation and the more routine cases that she hears on a daily basis. What emerges is a fascinating and compelling examination of the Belgian legal system.

So Help Me God has an amazing amount of access to the workings of the criminal investigations overseen by and the criminal cases heard by Anne Gruwez. No faces are blurred, no voices are disguised. There is no artificial barrier created between the audience and the subjects, no attempt to disguise identities. In many ways, So Help Me God feels very much like a particularly eccentric workplace documentary, with little sense of any red tape or restrictions upon the production team. It is a testament to directors Yves Hinant and Jean Libon that they were able to construct such a candid film.

So Help Me God is fascinating and engaging viewing, even if there is a sense of something decidedly less quirky and amusing resting somewhere beneath its polished and charming exterior.

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Tintin: The Shooting Star (Review)

In the lead-up to the release of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, I’m going to be taking a look at Hergé’s celebrated comic book character, from his humble beginnings through to the incomplete post-modern finale. I hope you enjoy the ride.

It’s very strange to return to material you read as a child. Occasionally – as when reading King Ottokar’s Sceptre – you find a lot more than you remember. However, reading The Shooting Star, I was quite surprised to find the more surrealist elements I so strongly recalled – foreshadowed by the giant mushroom on the cover and the not-so giant spider on the telescope – were pretty much confined to the last ten pages of the adventure. Reading it again, I was incredibly impressed with the atmospheric opening scenes and the wonderful race to the fallen meteorite, both elements downplayed in my memory to giant apples and exploding mushrooms. It’s things like this that make me glad I decided to revisit the series for the occasion.

Tintin scopes out the observatory...

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Non-Review Review: In Bruges

Possibly one of the best depictions of Irish humour that I’ve seen captured in celluloid, In Bruges is a fascinating little story of honour, loyalty, stupidity and a small little town in Belgium. The movie was a highlight in the very solid pantheon of 2008. Featuring a sharp script, a fantastic cast and some really lovely scenery, the movie stabnds as one of the best comedies I’ve seen in yonks. And a yonk is a long time.


Irish charm...

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