The thoroughly unnerving and slow-burn psychological drama Christine will almost certainly send a shiver down your spine, especially if you have no clue about the real events that inspired this deeply unsettling motion picture, which was directed with a continued sense of cinematic implacability by the sharp and extremely talented filmmaker Antonio Campos (Afterschool, Simon Killer). I hope he’s not suckered into a Marvel contract as this distinctive filmmaker is too good for that nonsense, but I get worried when someone this talented has made three movies that relatively nobdoy has seen.
Rebecca Hall, appearing in nearly every scene, delivered nothing short of a tour de force performance as Florida newscaster Christine Chubbuck, an awkward woman in a very outward profession, who never quite fit into the station family that surrounded her on a daily basis. The exacting cinematography by Joe Anderson is matched by Sofia Subercaseaux’s patient editing , while the creepy and ominous musical score by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans is shrewdly deployed in key moments, with the final sequence containing one of the more disturbing bits of on-screen violence that I’ve seen in a while. Not because it’s excessively gory, but rather, how personal and upsetting it all is.
Campos is a fiercely talented filmmaker who is clearly choosy with his projects; I hope we see much more from him in the future. And make no mistake – Hall was totally robbed of an Oscar nomination, but I’d imagine the too-low-profile that this film received kept it out of last year’s awards race. Regardless, Christine is available on Netflix streaming and on DVD and is an expert piece of storytelling that never does anything you truly expect in any given moment, which has to be one of the ultimate compliments one could pay any particular film. Oh, and EXTREME Tracy Letts POWER.
Review by Nick Clement