Thursday, 14 April 2016


This morning, I left the house early to travel down to the southern edge of Hades to catch a morning screening at the South Keys Cineplex. The film was not one I'd ordinarily go to. It's a political and military thriller entitled Eye in the Sky.

The story was told in real time: you see a sixty-something woman rise in the early hours, leaving her husband to sleep while she slips across her backyard, accompanied by her dog, to a small office where she opens her computer with her fingerprint, and we realize that she is a high-ranking military officer setting out to deal with a crisis. The officer is Helen Mirren (the part was, of course, originally written for a man, and she demonstrates how unnecessary this was), the film is produced, in part, by Colin Firth, and the reason I travelled across Ottawa to see it was because this is the last film performance by Alan Rickman.

My daughters were exposed to Alan Rickman at an early stage and on the Valentine's Days preceding their respective births. I was six months' along with elder daughter when the Resident Fan Boy and I went to see Truly Madly Deeply in February 1992.

I wept profusely, and it was not all down to the hormones. I could weep now, each time I remember that I failed to purchase a DVD of this film, copies of which are now only available at exorbitant prices.

Younger daughter was on the way when I saw Rickman in Sense and Sensibility.
I didn't weep, but I did buy the DVD, thank goodness - Emma Thompson's commentary alone is worth every penny.

My daughters, of course, mourn the man who portrayed Severus Snape in the Harry Potter movies. I do, too, but I had been a fan of his since just before their births, and can't help but feel that somehow, they are favourably marked by these two films which they attended in utero.

Eye in the Sky is very much an edge-of-your-seat sort of experience, and, of course, I soon forgot it was Alan Rickman playing a grandfather trying to locate and purchase a required toy, before revealing himself to be a lieutenant-general trying get a decision out of Whitehall politicians while lives hang in the balance in Nairobi. Naturally, he gets the very best line in the whole movie: "Never tell a soldier that he does not know the cost of war." He delivers it without a hint of self-righteousness nor heavy-handedness.

While I am relieved that there are so many of his performances caught and preserved, I am so very sad that there will be no more.

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