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    Real life imagined on the big screen

    Truth is most definitely stranger than fiction in film and this week you can unravel the mystery behind a deadly conspiracy in Kill The Messenger, explore Stephen Hawking's mindscape with The Theory of Everything, and join a woman on her journey to absolute freedom in Wild.
    Eddie Redmayne plays Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything
    Eddie Redmayne plays Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything

    Exposing the facts behind political conspiracies and deadly secrets turns movie-goers into emotional archaeologists and sleuths, offering instant adventure with the reward of finding answers to unanswered mysteries and leaving the cinema with the knowledge of knowing everything, which, in turn, leads to fantastic conversation pieces around the dinner table.

    It also takes us on an intimate journey into the lives of ordinary people, whose extraordinary quest to expose the truth and find answers to questions that plagued us, destroyed their lives.

    With the outstanding Foxcatcher, we ventured into the corrupt psychosis of John du Pont, Unbroken showed us the true face of courage in the adversity of war, Selma bravely gave a new voice to racial equality, The Imitation Game celebrated the genius of war hero Alan Turing; Pride showed how two opposed communities changed the world by joining forces, American Sniper poignantly revealed the true face of warfare, Still Alice drew us into the horror of Alzheimer's, and Big Eyes showed how an artist took ownership of her life and art.

    Kill The Messenger

    Kill The Messenger reveals the remarkable true story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb, (Jeremy Renner), based upon the books Dark Alliance, by Gary Webb, and Kill the Messenger, by Nick Schou, with a screenplay by award-winning investigative journalist, war correspondent, award-winning novelist, and painter Peter Landesman and directed by Michael Cuesta.

    It follows in the tradition of classic like All The President's Men and is not a glossy and candy-coated expose, but the heartbreaking story of a family that was torn apart by a dedicated reporter's quest for the truth behind Nicaraguan rebels working directly with the CIA in smuggling cocaine into the US, using the profits to arm Contra militias back home.

    Director Michael Cuesta comments: "Gary was like a Doberman. His scrappy, insistent way of getting at the facts, and his ardent belief in the public's right to know the truth, was paramount to him. He was a reporter of the people, of the proletariat. He had a pure sense of what truth and justice means. He was a real guy who liked punk bands and hockey. He was not afraid to go toe-to-toe with the bigwigs. We need guys like this, especially in today's labyrinth of media noise and reckless political media punditry."

    If you are looking for discerning escapism, with solid performances, particularly from Renner as the impassioned journalist, Kill The Messenger offers suspense and intrigue that will keep you involved until its tragic climax.

    The Theory of Everything

    The Theory of Everything is a highly romanticised and enchanting journey into the life of one of the world's greatest living minds, the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, whose passion and insight changed the world around him.

    Eddie Redmayne is sensational in his well-deserved Oscar-winning performance, and allows us to crawl under the skin of a man whose life was steeped in tragedy, and whose love overcame the odds.

    As a love story that begins as an everyday romance and then veers into uncharted territory, screenwriter and producer Anthony McCarten remarks that The Theory of Everything ultimately has "closure provided by history. Our film only deals with a little more than half of Stephen's life; what we know of him and Jane - and from him and Jane - is that they fell deeply in love, had their love tested and saw it endure, raised a family, and ultimately faced a sea change in their relationship which they addressed together. Not your conventional 'Hollywood ending', but a happy ending, nonetheless."

    If you enjoyed films like Beautiful Mind, The Theory Of Everything will not disappoint. It will leave you with an incredible sense of hopefulness, and a potent wake-up call that we should make the most of every moment in our lives and count our blessings.

    Wild

    It's difficult to commit fully to Wild without wiping films like Into The Wild and 127 Hours from memory, with Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl Strayed.

    After years of reckless behaviour, a heroin addiction and the destruction of her marriage, Strayed set out to hike more than 1000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail all on her own.

    Witherspoon's passionate performance allows us to take an intimate journey with her and is infused with a rich inner life that offers a meaningful and emotional journey into the lives of a mother and daughter whose strong bond was destroyed by the realities of life.

    "There is something about being in the wilderness," says Jean-Marc Vallée (who directed Dallas Buyer's Club), "becoming part of nature, learning to see it not as an enemy but as a friend, experiencing the beauty and the quality of the air that can be life changing. Cheryl went into that and kind of lost herself for nearly 100 days. She was alone with her demons, her dreams and her past and it led her to ask: 'What do I really want to do with my life?'"

    Says Witherspoon, who produced the film with her partner Bruna Papandrea: "Wild is about so many things that touch people. It's about life, love, loss and family. It's about how a woman who thought she was completely broken, but found a way to reconstitute herself."

    If you are looking for a film that is gentle and serene, and shows the fragile disposition of humanity, Wild will not disappoint.

    If you are looking for a strong dose of reality that will change the way you view the world, explore these real-life stories on the big screen.

    Go behind the scenes of these films at www.writingstudio.co.za.

    About Daniel Dercksen

    Daniel Dercksen has been a contributor for Lifestyle since 2012. As the driving force behind the successful independent training initiative The Writing Studio and a published film and theatre journalist of 40 years, teaching workshops in creative writing, playwriting and screenwriting throughout South Africa and internationally the past 22 years. Visit www.writingstudio.co.za
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