He who has ears to hear – The Lives of Others

Tony Watkins’s article on Florian Henckel von Donnersmark’s Das Leben Der Anderen (The Lives of Others) on the transforming effect of art and love on an East German Stasi officer.

Pulled in Different Directions – Gravity (part two)

In the previous post, I explained the allusive nature of film, and the fact that films can be open to more than one way of reading them. The first way of reading Gravity is to see it as an impressive, but straightforward action movie with no deeper meanings – that is, reading it denotatively. The…

Relish This Remarkable Ride – About Time

Richard Curtis is almost an icon of British romantic comedy, thanks to Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Notting Hill (1999), and Love Actually (2003). About Time is very much a comedy in the Curtis style, and love is the central ingredient, but ultimately it is not so much about romantic love, as the love…

He Will Wipe Every Tear – Malick’s ‘The Tree of Life’

This article was first published in Culturewatch.org in two parts, where you can also find my discussion guide. © Tony Watkins, 2012. How can we ever understand God? Because he is infinite and transcendent, and we are finite and limited, we often end up thinking about him in very human terms. Psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud claimed…

Russell Brand on death and significance

Fascinating extract fromt Jeremy Paxman’s interview with Russell Brand: I came across this on Barry Cooper’s website where he makes an interesting connection with Jonathan Edwards. He also highlights this particularly interesting quote: “Someone told me once that all desire is the desire to be at one with God in substitute form. So perhaps we…

Sunshine Cleaning

Sunshine Cleaning, directed by Christine Jeffs (2009). This article was first published on Culturewatch, and is republished here by permission. © Tony Watkins and Pete Hartwell, 2009 The Lorkowskis are a dysfunctional family. Rose (Amy Adams) is a thirty-something single mother who works as a cleaner and is having an affair with her old high…

A Fresh Start – Noah

Darren Aronofsky is a visionary and ambitious film-maker who constantly grapples with big themes in his work. Noah continues in this line as it explores significant – and very relevant – tensions within humanity: between benevolent care for the environment and greedy exploitation, between duty and self-interest, and of course, between good and evil. Aronofsky, along with co-writer Ari Handel, explores these issues and others in spectacular, epic style in the context of one of humanity’s oldest stories.
This post was first published in Film & Bible Blog. © Tony Watkins 2013.

Pulled in Different Directions – Gravity (part one)

This post has been delayed as I’ve been away and without internet access for the last week. Part two will be published in a little while.   The final day of the Keswick Unconventional Film Club was, for me at least, the most fun of the week. Having found myself in a little Twitter debate…

The Past Comes Flooding Back – The Sea

Film & Bible Blog Article The Past Comes Flooding Back Image © Independent Film Company, 2013. Used by permission. Art historian Max (Ciarán Hinds) is grieving after the recent loss of his wife, Anna (Sinéad Cusack), to cancer. Against the advice of his daughter Clare (Ruth Bradley), he goes to stay in a boarding house…

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

This is the article on the book of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows which I wrote for Culturewatch. Warning: contains major plot spoilers. Ten years after Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone blasted onto the best-seller lists, J.K. Rowling has finally brought the series to a spectacular and moving conclusion with Harry Potter and the Deathly…

The Lovely Bones

Dir. Peter Jackson (Paramount Pictures, 2010) This article was first published on Culturewatch, © Tony Watkins. Warning: this article contains plot spoilers When Susie was small, she was worried for the penguin trapped inside a snow globe. ‘Don’t worry, kiddo,’ her father Jack (Mark Wahlberg) reassured her. ‘He has a nice life; he’s trapped in…