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Non-Review Review: Radioactive

This film was seen as part of the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival 2020. Given the high volumes of films being shown and the number of reviews to be written, these may end up being a bit shorter than usual reviews.

The life of Marie Curie is fascinating. Radioactive is not.

Curie is easily one of the great figures of the twentieth century, a scientist who changed the way in which mankind fundamentally understood the workings of the universe. That is no small accomplishment, and there is plenty of dramatic fodder to be found in her personal life; the manner in which she was marginalised by the scientific community because of her gender, her complicated relationship with Pierre Curie, even the tabloid scandal that defined so much of her later life. There are any number of interesting angles through which a biopic might approach Curie.

Unfortunately, Radioactive is greedy. Jack Thorne’s screenplay doesn’t just want to encompass the totality of Curie itself, the script hopes to offer something close to a cinematic biography of radiation itself. There is no doubt that Radioactive is ambitious, with director Marjane Satrapi even trying to break up scenes of exposition with helpful cinematic illustrations of the concepts under discussion. However, there is simply too much to cover. Radioactive struggles to maintain a consistent throughline, often feeling like a bullet point summary of Curie’s Wikipedia page rather than a compelling narrative of itself.

Radioactive could use some refining.

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Non-Review Review: Chicken With Plums

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2012.

As the follow-up to Persepolis, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest that there’s a lot of expectations around Marjane Satrapi’s follow-up, Chicken With Plums. The second in her trilogy of graphic novels, Chicken With Plums might fall a bit short of the heights that its predecessor reached, but there’s no denying that Satrapi and her co-director, Vincent Paronnaud, have composed a truly beautiful film. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Chicken With Plums might be the most beautiful film that you will see this year – a bold statement for late February. There are some very fundamental problems with the movie, most stemming from the fact that it can never decide if it’s a story or a collection of anecdotes, but it’s held together by superb artistic direction and a charming central performance from Mathieu Amalric.

A man at peace, but with inner violin...

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