Sunday, June 22, 2008

Longford (2006)

If you sign up for this one, do your homework. This HBO movie doesn't provide much background information on the crimes of child killers Myra Hindley (played by the always terrific Samantha Morton) and Ian Brady (creepily well acted by Andy Serkis). Instead, this movie picks up once Hindley and Brady have been incarcerated.

She writes to Lord Longford to see if he will help her to arrange a visit to see Brady. He agrees instead to help campaign to get her out of prison after serving her time (movie takes place in 60s and in the UK, murderers were usually eligible for parole after 7-8 years), but he advises her to break all contact with Brady. The movie presents an interesting fact: because society wasn't used to women committing crimes against children, Hindley was reviled; she had destroyed the image of the mother who was supposed to protect.

Jim Broadbent brings it as Lord Longford. Morton and Broadbent ignite the chemistry when sharing the screen, as do Broadbent and Serkis (sadly Morton and Serkis don't share any scenes).

While "based on" events, you get a compelling story. The best detail is the psychology behind all the motivations. Is Myra a hysteric as Brady tells Longford? Is she using Longford for her own gain or has she really found God again with his help? Broadbent creates a complex character with integrity. He plays a true Christian but he pays a price and really, it's a gift to watch the acting in this movie. However, the subject matter is graphic and intense. You must be in correct mood for this, that is, ready for bleak, disturbing and dark.

Themes: child murders, incarceration, retirement issues

Director: Tom Hooper

Country: England

Genre: Drama based on actual events

Time: 93 minutes

Scale: 4.5

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