My Fortnight in Film, 2016 Weeks 43 & 44

It’s been another two weeks since the last update, and in that time I’ve watched the entire first series of The Night Of, so here’s my (spoiler-free) thoughts on it.
the-night-ofIf you’re not familiar, The Night Of sees Naz (Riz Ahmed), a generally decent, awkward kid who borrows his Dad’s taxi one night to go to a party in the city, but ends up picking up a fare in the form of Sofia Black-D’Elia’s Andrea, heading back to her home, doing some drugs, getting drunk, playing the knife game from Aliens and waking up in the morning to find her stabbed to death 22 times. In a disoriented panic, Naz flees the scene, but in the most incriminating manner possible, ends up accidentally getting caught and things get worse from there. The series covers his trial, with his lawyer (John Turturro) attempting to coach Naz and find out what happened on the night, and whether anyone else could have possibly committed the crime, whereas the police (led by Bill Camp’s Detective Box) see the orgy of evidence in front of them and understandably assume Naz is guilty. Meanwhile, Naz and his family try to cope with the ordeal, with Naz attempting to survive in prison under the wing of Freddy (Michael K Williams) and Naz’s parents struggling to get by outside, with the taxi impounded as evidence and the shame of their son’s arrest hanging over the family. I loved the opening episode, especially the look-through-your-fingers car crash TV that is Naz doing everything as perfectly wrong as he could, and the cranking of tension as he sits as yet undiscovered in the police station, and was genuinely intrigued for the first few episodes. However around about halfway through the season the character of Naz takes an abrupt and jarring change that felt necessary for his situation, but entirely too sudden. Ahmed is terrific though, someone I’d only previously seen in Nightcrawler, and I’m now looking forward to Rogue One a little bit more due to his involvement. I think a bit too much time was spent on Turturro’s skin issues – his character has fairly serious eczema and allergies – given they don’t pay off a great deal with the overall plot, simply adding background flavour to his character and why at times he is more nervous, stressed or out=of-place than others. Finally, I was a little disappointed with how the finale turned out. Some very relevant aspects were only introduced in the final episode, so it would have been impossible to make any kind of prediction as to who the eventual culprit was, and it was all lacking in the last couple of degrees of closure, so whilst it wasn’t exactly unsatisfying, I could have done with just a little bit more. Still, I was gripped throughout the show, and apparently a second season has been commissioned, so I look forward to it.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been watching recently week movie-wise:
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