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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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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – Rules of Engagement (Review)

This February and March, we’re taking a look at the 1995 to 1996 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily Tuesday through Friday for the latest review.

Rules of Engagement is that old Star Trek standard: the trial episode.

The franchise has never really had a lot of luck with the format over the years. The Menagerie, Part I and The Menagerie, Part II were primarily of interest for the way that they repurposed The Cage and offered viewers a glimpse of an alternate kind of Star Trek. Later in that same first season, Court Martial was a disjointed and uneven (and even illogical) story. Later series did not fare much better; neither A Matter of Perspective nor Dax nor Ex Post Facto could be considered highlights of their seasons or their shows or the wider franchise.

Worf really doesn't understand the proper way to lodge an objection...

Worf really doesn’t understand the proper way to lodge an objection…

However, The Measure of a Man remains the exception that proves the rule. Not only a strong episode of itself, it stands as one of the best episodes in the history of the franchise. More than that, it represented a turning point in the history of Star Trek: The Next Generation; it is perfectly reasonable to point to The Measure of a Man as the moment that The Next Generation finally delivered on its potential after almost two seasons of struggling to find a unique voice. It seems entirely possible that the franchise has been chasing that high ever since.

Unfortunately, Rules of Engagement is an example of the rule rather than the exception. It is a misguided and clumsy episode that has a number of interesting ideas that fail to coalesce into a satisfying whole.

Klingon lawyered up... Kl'awyered up, if you will.

Klingon lawyered up…
Kl’awyered up, if you will.

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