Christine ★★★★

This dramatisation of the story of (or rather, a significant story from) the real-life Christine Chubbock makes for an interesting companion piece to 2014’s Nightcrawler.

Both films are essentially about the thirst for sensationalism in US TV news; where they differ, apart from their respective atmospheres (crepuscular dread versus period formality), is in their main protagonists’ reactions to that insidious climate. Nightcrawler’s amoral Leo Bloom is perfectly placed to capitalise on a growing appetite for violence, while Christine’s titular lead manifests her instinctual revulsion at this downward trend firstly in physical pain, then as a psychic wound that can only be healed by the ultimate act of ratings-chasing horror.

Christine handles the story with care, both in respect for the real-life Christine Chubbuck and attention to the details of life in a mid-sized Floridian city in the mid 1970s. It only falters in that Rebecca Hall is a little too obviously tortured from the outset, telegraphing the inevitable — we know her pain before we ever know her — but that’s more about the role as written than her engrossing, sympathetic performance.

I’m curious to see how Kate Plays Christine, a meta-fictional documentary about the same life, handles that reading.