All entries for Wednesday 08 December 2004

December 08, 2004

Ian Hislop and David Blunkett

The question of David Blunkett's recent problems has come up before on Warwick Blogs. What I find interesting about it is that the debate seems largely to be centred around whether he may have abused his office in some way, rather than about the behaviour which led up to this situation. When his colleagues tell the press how they find him to be a man of integrity and honour, they don't add the caveat "Unless you introduce him to your wife, that is". Ian Hislop on Have I got News for You last week was having none of it, though, and was clearly genuinely angry during this diatribe:-

Basically it's a disgrace. The enquiry's going to look into something very, very small – a nanny or a rail ticket or something – while ignoring the main question, which is that Blunkett and the woman behaved like complete s**t. And the small matter of deceiving the husband into believing that he'd had two children – not just one, two! – taking the boy away on holiday, and the father didn't even know. What happened if something goes wrong, who rings up, pretending it's Mr & Mrs Blunkett on holiday? Removing a child so that you can shag the woman in Corfu? (Did Blunkett really think) "I thought, because I was shagging her, and we had a deep personal relationship, she could have rail travel on the tax-payer"? I'm very sorry Mr Blunkett, but "I've done nothing wrong"? Yes you have, mate.

For the most part, the press has stayed away from this line of thought, concentrating instead on the possible abuse of office. And Ian Hislop is famously either a stern moralist or a high-minded prig depending on your viewpoint (and was he really suggesting that the enquiry ought to be investigating and passing judgement on Blunkett's personal life?) . But I'm willing to bet that what Hislop does believe is that Blunkett should resign regardless of whether there's found to be any abuse of office, because his personal behaviour has been reprehensible. And though I'm ambivalent about whether I'd agree with him, I'm slightly surprised that his is the only voice (that I've heard) expressing this point of view.

Forgotten: Movie review

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My guess is that when Forgotten was still just an idea, it was signed off for production on the basis of two things; a creepy and ambiguous premise about memory manipulation, and a cool special effect for whizzing people up into the sky. The makers got lucky a couple more times early in the film's gestation, too; they got Julianne Moore as their lead, and she's a talented actress who does a good job delivering a mixture of sadness and determination. And the art direction and cinematography are both a notch above what you might expect for a modest picture like this, with elegant gliding helicopter shots and a muted, steely palette conveying the sombre mood of the film.

Sadly, that's where the goodness ran out. Somewhere along the way, somebody forgot that a good, creepy premise, a talented actress and good-looking footage won't save you if you've neglected to write a story, and, crucially important point, an ending. The film moves swiftly from ambiguity to a not-particularly-great X-Files conspiracy theory, and from there to an ending that's so utterly feeble that it makes it all too clear that the film's writers had utterly failed to think about important questions like How? and Why?, leaving the audience to ask itself other questions, such as What?, and Duh? Pity; if the film had sustained the quality of the first half hour it would have been great, but as it was, it was no more than, sigh, forgettable.

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