Hera Hilmar as Hester Shaw in Mortal Engines © Universal Pictures 2018. Used by permission.

Mortal Combat: The clash of values in Mortal Engines

A thousand years in the future, the high-tech world of the 21st-century is ancient history. It is of interest only to archaeologists who look for old tech – fragments left after from the 60-minute war which wiped away civilisation around the globe. Facing dwindling resources, the towns and cities have become mobile, travelling around the plains on vast caterpillar tracks in pursuit of smaller, slower towns which are sources of valuable resources as well as potential competition. This is “Municipal Darwinism” – survival of the fastest. The largest of the predator cities is London – a vast multi-deck machine with enormous metal jaws into which can be drawn prey such as the small mining town which attempts to escape at the start of this story.

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.

Art’s Desire: Responding to Film and Literature (part four)

This is the fourth in a series of six posts, which was first published as an article in Anvil journal, Volume 28 No 3 (November 2012), and is published here by kind permission of the editor. Image from iStockPhoto.com Worldviews in film and literature While not wishing to over-emphasise this aspect of responding to art…

Something Rotten in the State of Denmark – A Royal Affair

This article was first published as a Film and Bible Blog article in Culturewatch. © Tony Watkins, 2012.For discussion material on this film, see my Damaris Film Blog discussion guide and additional questions for reflection in my Film and Bible Blog article. The end of the eighteenth century was a time of great change in…

Binding of Isaac, by Caravaggio (Uffizi)

Is God a moral monster?

The Old Testament raises some tricky questions of morality for people living in the contemporary world, at least in the west. The alleged ‘genocide’ of the Canaanites is one that I hear frequently. It isn’t only people who are not Christians who have questions about it; Christians often feel embarrassed about these parts of the Old Testament. However, I am am convinced that there are some very good responses to these issues. I tried to outline a few responses in the first of a series of four sessions tackling difficult questions during Above Bar Church’s Discipleship School in the autumn of 2014.

Art’s Desire: Responding to Film and Literature (part six)

This is the last in a series of six posts, which was first published as an article in Anvil journal, Volume 28 No 3 (November 2012), and is published here by kind permission of the editor. Two more aspects of responding to film and literature 4. Morality Image from iStockPhoto.com We have considered the moral…

A Fragile Façade – What Richard Did

This article was first published as a Film and Bible Blog article in Culturewatch. © Tony Watkins, 2012. For discussion material on this film, see my Damaris Film Blog discussion guide and additional questions for reflection in my Film and Bible Blog article. Warning: This article contains plot spoilers. Richard Karlsen (Jack Reynor) has just…

This is Life – Berberian Sound Studio

This article was first published in Culturewatch. © Tony Watkins, 2012 Berberian Sound Studio is an extraordinary, profoundly unsettling film like no other. It’s the second film by independent British film-maker Peter Strickland, confirming the talent he demonstrated with his acclaimed debut Katalin Varga, which won the Silver Bear at the 2009 Berlin International Film Festival. It stars…

State of Play

Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe) is covering the story of an apparently random shooting in Washington DC for his paper, the Washington Globe, when he sees an old friend of his on the news. Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) is a rising star in Congress. He’s handsome, bright and ambitious, and is chairing a committee investigating defence spending. What catches McCaffrey’s attention is that Collins’s attractive young research assistant, Sonia Baker, has died – and Collins is clearly very cut up about it. McAffrey is irritated when a very junior colleague, the Globe’s political blogger Della Frye (Rachel McAdams), comes to ask if Collins was having an affair with Sonia. McAffrey rebuffs her enquiries, but before long their demanding editor, Cameron Lynne (Helen Mirren) has them working together on the story. It’s a story of deceit, corruption and murder. Apparently unrelated events turn out to be connected, and nothing is quite as it first seems.