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Rounding up the Usual Suspects
Steve's Livejournal

Today "J" and I attended three more SIFF press screenings.

The morning film was Running with Beto, a documentary about the failed run for Senate by Beto O'Rourke. Had he won the election, it would have been an interesting upset victory story, which I'm sure is what HBO was hoping they were making when they made the film. Unfortunately, O'Rourke failed to displace Ted Cruz from the Senate, which made the film mostly pointless. In terms of the film-making, it's good, but without the upset victory aspect it's a film with little reason to exist.

The noon film was Kifaru, which means "rhinoceros", or perhaps "northern white rhinoceros". It's about the last male northern white rhino, and the people who cared for him. It's a good documentary, but extinction films can be pretty depressing.

The afternoon film was Official Secrets, a drama about a real-life UK intelligence analyst who discovered that the UK and US governments were spying on other nations' diplomats to secure information they could use to blackmail or otherwise them into supporting a war. After struggling with her conscience, the analyst leaked evidence, without covering her tracks well enough to avoid being discovered as the source – and prosecuted for violation of the Official Secrets Act. It was huge news in the UK, which may diminish the drama somewhat there, but it largely slipped notice in the US, so real-life history doesn't provide a lot of spoilers. Excellent.

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