• David Parkinson

Parky At the Pictures (9/4/2021)

Updated: Apr 26

(Reviews of The Mauritanian; Why Don't You Just Die!; Nemesis; Turu, the Wacky Hen; and Tina)


Despite the relaxation of the odd outdoor restriction, we remain in Lockdown 3 for a few more weeks. This means that cinemas across the UK will stay still closed and all new releases stay online until 17 May at the earliest. So, in addition to subscription sites like Curzon Home Cinema. MUBI, Netflix and the BFI Player, you should also be able to access the titles under discussion below via iTunes, Apple TV, Amazon, Sky Store, Virgin, Microsoft, Vimeo, Google Play, Rakuten, BT and Playstation.


Stay safe and make the most of the dwindling days of the streaming bonanza, as it will almost certainly disappear the moment the distributors can reimpose the myth that movies can only be fully appreciated on a giant cinema screen in restoring the restrictive practices that makes them tons more dough when everyone watching has to buy their own ticket.


THE MAURITANIAN.


The military prison at the American naval base on Cuba has featured in numerous documentaries, including Mat Whitecross and Michael Winterbottom's The Road to Guantanámo (2006), Luc Côté and Patricio Henríquez's Four Days Inside Guantanámo (2010) and Ashish Ghadiali's The Confession (2016), as well as fictional features as different as Peter Sattler's Camp X-Ray (2014) and Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg's Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay (2008). These are now joined by Kevin Macdonald's The Mauritanian, which dramatises the ordeal of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, who was held at Gitmo for 14 years before his release in 2016. During his incarceration, Slahi wrote a remarkable account of his stay and Guantanámo Diary is the principal source for the well-meaning, if sententious screenplay penned by Rory Haines, Sohrab Noshirvani and M.B. Traven (the latter being a pseudonym for investigative journalist Michael Bronner).


In November 2001, Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Tahar Rahim) is summoned from a family wedding and asked to accompany a Mauritanian police officer to answer questions about his recent stay in Germany and the whereabouts of his cousin, Mahfouz, in the weeks following the attack on the World Trade Center in New York. Slahi reassures his mother (Baya Belal) that he will be back soon, but he is still being detained at Guantanámo Bay when French lawyer, Emmanuel (Denis Menochet), comes to Albuquerque, New Mexico in February 2005 to ask lawyer Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) to inquire into his situation on behalf of his anxious family. Much to the surprise of colleagues who accept government claims that Slahi was the chief recruiter for 9/11, Hollander agrees to take the case on a pro bono basis and recruits Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley) to assist her.


Meanwhile, Colonel Bill Seidel (Corey Johnson) informs Marine Prosecutor Lieutenant Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch) that he has been tasked with convicting the Gitmo prisoners behind the Twin Towers attack and suggests that the best way he could pay tribute to the pilot friend on United Airlines Flight 175 would be to bring the perpetrators to book. Having learned that Slahi fought with al-Qeda in Afghanistan in the 1990s. Couch agrees to take the case and secure a capital verdict.


Hollander and Duncan fly to Cuba and pass through security checkpoints before meeting Slahi. Aware they are under video but not audio surveillance, Hollander gains Slahi's confidence and he agrees to let her represent him in a habeas corpus plea because he has yet to be charged with anything after three years in detention. He protests about the hours of questioning to which he subjected each day and insists that he had no idea that his cousin had called him on Osama bin Laden's phone. Agreeing to produce written testimony that can be protected by lawyer-client privilege, Slahi asks them to call his mother and reassure her that he is safe.


While Couch and his team establish that Slahi's cousin was Bin Laden's spiritual advisor and that 20th hijacker Ramzi bin al-Shibh claims he was recruited by the Mauritanian, Hollander and Duncan visit the secure facility in Virginia where their Gitmo notes are held. They also learn from Kent (David Fynn) that he is part of the Privilege Team detailed to read any documents that the defence lawyers wish to consult. However, he assures them that the prosecution has no access to any confidential material submitted by Slahi and Hollander resolves to make a Freedom of Information request in order to see the case files that have been withheld by the government.


The pair also read the first part of Slahi's handwritten testimony, in which he describes his arrival at Gitmo in 2002, the facilities in his cell and his rapport with the largely friendly interrogators (Adam Rothenberg and Stevel Marc) who want to know everything from his relationship with the camel trader father who died when Slahi was nine to his stint with al-Qaeda when the group was fighting against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1990s. He also reveals how he befriended a French inmate from Marseille during a recreation period and Hollander has Emmanuel check on his identity to verify whether her client is being honest with her.


Despite having promised his pilot pal's widow that he will do everything to secure a conviction, Couch realises that he is up against an experience campaigner in Hollander, who had been challenging Washington since the Vietnam War. He is also disconcerted to discover through buddy Neil Buckland (Zachary Levi) that the CIA has only been letting him see undated summations of Slahi's interviews rather than the verbatim accounts known as Memoranda for the Record. When Couch asks to see them, Buckland gets defensive and snaps that the only evidence he needs was shown live on television on 11 September 2001.


Frustrated by the fact that Kent has redacted parts of Slahi's testimony, Hollander nevertheless learns he feels that circumstantial evidence is being used against him, as he had met Ramzi bin al-Shibh by chance in Germany and had never recruited anyone in his life. She also reads how the interrogators were becoming more less easy-going and how the translator had advised him to tell them what they wanted to hear to spare himself more gruelling sessions.


With Hollander discovering the files released under the Freedom of Information have all been redacted and Couch being unable to find anything damning in the uncensored pages, the case seems to be approaching stalemate in the autumn of 2005. However, Seidel is keen to set a court date and Couch decides to visit Gitmo to ask General Mandel (Matthew Marsh) about the MFRs pertaining to Slahi. He bumps into Hollander in the airport gift shop and he expresses regret that she has been denied access to material because he wants her to know that Slahi is a terrorist. She insists she simply wants to do her job and persuades Slahi to sue George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld so that she can see unredacted documents.


During a tour of the cells, Couch realises that the prisoners are being subjected to sleep deprivation and is affronted when Mandel dismisses his concerns and affirms that he will not be given access to Slahi's MFRs. While Couch remains in the dark, Hollander receives the latest missive, in which Slahi reveals that his interrogators started to get more aggressive after he had reminded them that the United States had backed the jihadists during their struggle against the Soviet-Najibullah alliance. They had demanded to know why he had deleted the contacts from his phone when he had been arrested, but he insists that he was simply trying to protect innocent friends from harassment.


Couch's team is delighted when a reporter publishes a hostile story about Hollander, but he is aware that she has used the article to justify her plea for habeas corpus. However, she has a setback of her own when Emmanuel fails to find out anything about the prisoner from Marseille, even though Slahi has recently written about his anguish on discovering that he was called Omar Sharif and had committed suicide in his cell.


In 2008, Hollander is ready to go to court and Duncan is shaken when she is knocked down by protesters. They win their case and Duncan feels betrayed when they discover Slahi's signed confessions. She is distraught when Hollander accuses her of being over-emotional and removes her from the case, as she had been so convinced of his innocence and had held bake sales to promote his cause. However, after his interrogators had presented him with a farewell cake, Slahi is handed over to military intelligence agents, who put a hood over his head and drag him out of the room.


When Hollander visits, she mentions the confessions and Slahi loses his temper because she doesn't believe that they were beaten out of him. He complains that has no idea of the strain he is under because he has been falsely accused and has no way of proving it. However, Hollander snaps back that she is committed to the cause of right and threatens to withdraw from the case unless he starts telling her the truth. At a Christmas party, Couch also has a testy confrontation when he accuses Buckland (who had questioned Slahi) of mistreating prisoners and jeopardising his case by giving defendants the chance to plead duress. Buckland reminds him that their friend's throat had been cut on his aircraft and accuses Couch of being unpatriotic in vowing to prevent him from seeing the MFRs.


He has a change of heart, however, and tells Couch about Rumsfeld's order to use `enhanced interrogation'. As Couch reads the MFRs, Hollander receives Slahi's latest communication and the accounts tally in exposing the torture techniques employed to break his resolve over 70 excruciating days. We see him chained in the stress position, as heavy metal music is blasted into his freezing cold cell to prevent him from sleeping. He is waterboarded by two soldiers wearing Halloween masks before a female colleague sexually humiliates him. Moreover, Mandel threatens to have Slahi's mother brought to Gitmo unless he co-operates.


Despite continuing to plead his innocence, Slahi starts to hallucinate about the family wedding, his ex-wife, his mother and his encounter with al-Shibh. He has his head held underwater during a speedboat ride and is so mentally and physically exhausted that he buckles when Mandel threatens to rape his mother. Both Hollander and Couch are appalled by what they read and the latter resigns from the case because his conscience as a lawyer and a Christian prevents him from sending a man to Death Row on the basis of a forced confession. Seidl brands him a traitor, but his conscience is clear and he urges Hollander to seek out a box containing proof that Slahi passed two polygraph tests.


Having flown out to Cuba to give him the good news, Hollander suggests that Slahi publishes his writings and he thanks her for standing by him. Duncan rejoins the defence team in time to learn that the man from Marseille was called Ahmed Jabar and that Hollander has spoken to his widow. When he finally gets his day in court via a video link in December 2009, Slahi conveys his disappointment that the American justice system is as corrupt as that in Mauritania. But he holds no grudge against those who have wronged him because the word for `forgiveness' in Arabic also means `freedom'.


In March 2010, Slahi receives a letter of acquittal from the judge and he starts to bounce on his bed. A closing caption reveals that government appeals would keep him behind bars for another six years, by which time his mother had died. But Hollander and Duncan continued to visit him and helped him publish his memoir prior to his release without a single charge ever having been brought against him. Further text updates Slahi's situation, as we see images of the man himself singing along to Bob Dylan's `The Man in Me'. He has yet to receive an apology for his incarceration, while only five of the 779 prisoners held in Guantanámo Bay have been successfully convicted and jailed.


Sincerity seeps out of every frame of this denunciation of Homeland justice. But, despite the earnestness of the writing, direction and acting, it rarely rouses the viewer's ire and scarcely makes for compelling cinema. Everything is too carefully calculated for the action to break free of its shackles and provoke. There's something to be said for slow-walking wool-dyed patriots to an unpleasant truth, but the civility of Kevin Macdonald's approach precludes the seizing of hearts and minds and even those already onside are likely to find his movie gratingly worthy and even a tad dull.


The Oscar-nominated Tahar Rahim couldn't be better in the title role, while Jodie Foster (in only her third feature in a decade) invests Nancy Hollander with a dignity and determination that reinforces the rectitude of her case and her conduct of it. But, in the film's major miscalculation, the narrative focus falls the liberal white woman's struggle to expose a right-leaning regime's readiness to flout the rule of law rather than on the living hell being endured by the blameless African being tortured into accepting the role of scapegoat. Furthermore, the minor characters are fotofits and, while Shailene Woodley is given little to work with as Teri Duncan, Benedict Cumberbatch seems too intent on reining in his wayward Louisiana accent to convey the severity of the crisis of conscience that should have made Stuart Couch the character with whom the diehards would be most likely to empathise.


Shooting in South Africa, Macdonald is indebted to production designer Michael Carlin for making Gitmo look so alarmingly authentic (`They built this place out of reach of the court for a reason.'). Equally effective are Alwin H. Küchler's contrasts between the blinding Cuban sunshine and the gloomy interrogation and consultation rooms, while editor Justine Wright does a decent job of cutting between the ongoing legal investigations and Slahi's written recollections. But Tom Hodge's score typifies the pictures's penchant for brandishing its cultural acuity and resistibly smug sense of having right firmly on its side.


WHY DON'T YOU JUST DIE!


Matvei (Aleksandr Kuznetsov) arrives on the Moscow doorstep of Andrei (Vitali Khaev) and Natasha (Elena Shevchenko) with a rusty hammer behind his back. He has been persuaded by his girlfriend, Olya (Evgeniya Kregzhde), to murder her cop father for raping her when she was 12 years old. However, Andrei is as wily as he is tough and he overpowers the intruder and handcuffs him to the shower pipes in the bathroom after a furniture-shattering tussle that uncovers a stash of cash hidden in the sofa.


A flashback reveals how Andrei and partner Yevgenich (Michael Gor) had acquired the loot after shaking down the parents of a wealthy sex killer. However, even though he knows that his childhood pal needs the money to pay for his wife's life-saving operation, Andrei opts to keep the lot for himself and Olya simply wants her share because she is struggling to make ends meet as a stage actress. Looking on with drill holes in his leg after Andrei had tortured him into revealing the purpose of his visit, Matvei sees the cop kill his partner with a double-barrel shotgun and perish at the hands of his daughter after they fail to prevent Natasha from hanging herself. But one last bullet has to be fired before the sole survivor can stagger out into the sunshine.


From the moment Andrei silences the barking dog that has been terrifying Matvei in the hallway, you get an idea of how this decidedly unChekhovian chamber drama might play out. The gun is present and correct and there are several soul-searching discussions. But 29 year-old first-time writer-director Kirill Sokolov is much more interested in staging hilariously disconcerting cartoon violence than ruminating on the human condition and the Russian soul.


Abetted by production designer Viktor Zudin, Sokolov turns a small Moscow apartment into a gladiatorial arena, as the hapless Aleksandr Kuznetsov consistently proves himself unworthy of the fawn Batman hoodie he wears to the showdown. But it's the Spaghetti Western rather than Peplum pictures that provide Sokolov with his inspiration, as he makes amusing use of Dmitri Ulyukaev's outsize close-ups as composers Vadim QP and Sergey Solovyov merrily pastiche Ennio Morricone on a soundtrack that even finds room for a twangy rendition of `The House of the Rising Sun'.


Sergio Leone isn't the only influence on the action, however, as Sokolov references everyone from Sam Peckinpah and Chuck Jones to Quentin Tarantino, Guy Ritchie and Sion Sono. He even opens with a quote from Irish satirist Flann O'Brien about the disorientating nature of punishing violence and slips in a droll digression about handcuff locking mechanisms. But the spurts and spatters of the gushing gore will get more coverage than the mordant wit that seeps into the performances of Kuznetsov and Vitali Khaev, as they don't just trade blows, but strive to obliterate each other with hammers, knives, power tools and flying TV sets. The latter's slow-motion progress through the air towards the duped Kuznetsov's skull is probably the visual highlight of a gleefully stylised feature stuffed with indelible images (kudos to the stunt and SFX teams). Yet, for all its socko savagery, this is also a considered treatise on the machismo, misogyny, corruption and moral bankruptcy that underpin life in Vladimir Putin's Russia.


NEMESIS.


John Morgan (Billy Murray) flies back to London from Turkey with his wife, Sadie (Jeanine Nerissa Sothcott). In addition to attending a charity function, he also hopes to meet up with daughter Kate (Ambra Moore) and her new girlfriend, Zoe (Lucy Aarden). However, gangland boss Damien Osborne (Bruce Payne) wants a quiet word with his maverick lieutenant, while brother Richard (Frank Harper) is unhappy with the way in which he has been sidelined.


Morgan is also being pursued by alcoholic detective Frank Conway (Nick Moran), who has always blamed him for the fiery car death of his copper father. But, while he has to endure Conway bursting into the black-tie function to make embarrassing accusations about the source of his largesse, Morgan seems set to head home unscathed as he settles down to a family dinner in his luxury high-rise apartment.


Producer Jonathan Sothcott has made much of the fact that there's a steady market for the BritCrime thick ears he peddles through his Shogun Films company. But demand and quality are two very different things and they feel chasms apart in this lacklustre farrago, which was seemingly inspired by Peter Collinson's vastly superior 1967 home invasion thriller, The Penthouse.


Sothcott and director James Crow deserve credit for completing the picture during lockdown, which explains why so many scenes are set indoors. However, the enclosed nature of the action reinforces the sense of the walls closing in on John Morgan, whose veneer of urbane villainy crumbles after Zoe reveals both her true identity at the end of the dinner party and the grotesque reality of Morgan's people-trafficking crimes. Any sense of tension is dissipated, however, by Kristiana Zhekova's self-consciously jerky camerawork and the stiltedness of Adam Stephen Kelly's tin-eared dialogue, which is utterly bereft of the kind of bleak wit Kirill Sokolov brings to Why Don't You Just Die!


Julian Glover and Ricky Grover fare better than most with cameos as Morgan's suave associate and the barman at the gentrified East End boozer in which Conway shares his woes. But Billy Murray and Frank Harper do nothing we haven't seen before, while Nick Moran twitches valiantly as a bobby on the brink and Jeanine Nerissa Sothcott has to suffer the indignity of the most gratuitous nude scene in many a long while. On the basis of this alone, Crow should stick to low-budget shockers like Curse of the Witching Tree (2015) and House of Salem (2016). Everyone involved will move on and do better work, but how relieved Danny Dyer and Craig Fairbrass must be that they had their phones switched off when Sothcott was casting.


TURU. THE WACKY HEN.


Poultry seller Mr Cocorico (Blair Haines) fobs off retired music teacher Isabel (Roxanne Bachmann) with a scrawny hen that doesn't lay. However, she learns that Turuleca (Elisabeth Gray) can talk and they become such good friends that Turu follows the ambulance taking Isabel to the big city hospital after she bumps her head in a fall off the roof and loses her memory.


Leaving behind Vincent the lovesick station rooster, Turu latches on to the Daedalus Circus that is facing closure because media tycoon Aleister Troubley (Stephen Hughes) is bent on avenging himself on ringmaster Antonio (Thomas Shutter) because his father had sacked him in the days when he was a contortionist. Aided by his doltish sidekick, Rudy (Garrett Wall), Troubley has given Antonio a midnight deadline to repay a loan.


However, Antonio's DJ son Matthew (Tomás Ayuso) and his trapeze artist friend Lucy (Sara Montgomery) discover Turu's talent for singing and the circus is soon doing a roaring trade, as the right-on Antonio waives his opposition to performing animals because Turu can give her consent. Nevertheless, on arriving in the city, Turu sets out to find Isabel and return to her cosy cottage in the country, while Troubley still has a wicked scheme up his sleeve. All depends upon how fast Isabel can pedal on a borrowed bicycle and whether Hippolyta (Elise Bugeja) can persuade Rudy to change sides.


As everyone knows, Argentina had the distinction of producing the world's first animated feature. Sadly, the Italian-born Quirino Cristiani's El Apóstol (1917) has long been lost, as has his follow-up, Without a Trace (1918), and most of Peludópolis (1931). Using the latest CGI techniques to give the figures and backdrops density and texture, Turu, the Wacky Hen may be more technically sophisticated. But this Spanish co-production won't be going down in animation history, even though its story is well known across the Hispanophere.


Directed by Victor Monigote and Eduardo Gondell from Keytoon Animation Studio, it can't be faulted for the novelty of the narrative. How many other singing chicken movies are there? But the pleasingly kooky character design isn't matched by the quality of the dialogue or the storytelling, as the scripting trio of Juan Pablo Buscarini, Pablo Bossi and Eduardo Gondell pad out the action with knockabout chase sequences and sub-par ditties like the reworded variation on Los del Río's `Macarena'. The egg-hatching finale is cute, though.


TINA.


Documentarists Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin have an impressive track record. Having earned the Academy Award for Undefeated (2011), a poignant account of the struggles of the Manassas Tigers American football team, they took the Primetime Emmy for LA 92 (2017), which chronicled the riots that rocked the City of Angels. Now, they seem set to attract their biggest audience with Tina, even though this profile of rock legend Tina Turner is by far their most conventional outing to date.


The story of how Tina survived the abuse she suffered at the hands of musical mentor and husband Ike Turner has been retold frequently since she first confided it to People magazine music editor, Carl Arrington, in 1981. Five years, later, she recruited Rolling Stone editor Kurt Loder to help her repackage it in the bestselling memoir, I, Tina, which provided the basis for What's Love Got to Do With It, the 1993 Brian Gibson biopic that earned Oscar nominations for Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne.


Turner has always expressed reluctance to revisit this painful period in interviews. But this rockumentary feels as necessary as it's timely, as its content not only bolsters the message of the #MeToo and Time's Up campaigns, but it also demonstrates that there is life after abuse, as Turner has managed to enjoy both professional success and personal happiness in the wake of her 18-year ordeal.


Ironically, the partnership had started with 17 year-old Anna Mae Bullock pursuing Ike Turner after she had seen his Kings of Rhythm play in East St Louis in 1957. Having been abandoned by cotton-picking parents who had been involved in their own abusive relationship, Anna Mae was eager to make her mark and persuaded the musician (whose 1951 single `Rocket 88' has been cited by many as the first rock'n'roll record) to listen to her sing. Bowled over, he modelled her stage persona on the comic-strip character, Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, and renamed her Tina because the names rhymed. They also channelled a little James Brown into the way she strutted on stage.


Following the 1960 recording of `A Fool in Love', Ike made Tina the star of his show and recruited three backing vocalists-cum-dancers, who became known as The Ikettes, to give the Ike & Tine Tina Revue some extra pizzazz. Lindsay and Martin make solid use of archive footage to show the combo in action, but they focus little on the brand of music it produced and how Tina evolved from gospel chorister to earthy rocker. They also pay little heed to the chart fortunes of the couple after they married in 1962 and the make-up of their target audience.


But they make it clear that Ike was a vicious taskmaster, who frequently beat his wife to remind her who was boss. Assistant Rhonda Graam suggests that Ike had been so nettled by saxophonist Jackie Brenston getting the credit for `Rocket 88' that he had developed a phobia about being upstaged. Yet, on stage he let Tina take the spotlight, while on chat shows, he played the strong silent type to her fizzing firecracker. To some extent, this decision to foreground Tina backfired, especially when producer Phil Spector barred him from the studio during the 1966 recording of `River Deep - Mountain High', the last hurrah of the fabled Wall of Sound that was a bigger hit abroad than it was in the United States. Tellingly, Ike blamed Spector for the failure by averring that the track was too Black for white audiences and too white for Black ones.


The brutality that prompted the sometimes suicidal Tina to tell Arrington that she had been `living a life of death' matters much more than the music the duo produced during this period. But Lindsay and Martin skirt over triumphs like Tina's Grammy nomination for `The Hunter' (1969) and the same year's tour with The Rolling Stones, which is particularly relevant as much is made of the fact that Tina's stage persona had a considerable influence on Mick Jagger. Similarly, we are treated to a live performance of `Proud Mary' (1971), but hear nothing of `Nutbush City Limits' (1973) or her tour-de-force rendition of `The Acid Queen' from Ken Russell's Tommy (1975) before Tina finally found the courage to quit mid-tour in 1976 and file for divorce.


Keeping only her name in the settlement, Tina was forced to play cabaret gigs in Las Vegas in order to provide for her sons and to pay off the debts with which Ike had saddled her. She even toured South Africa in 1979, although this error of judgement is airbrushed out of the narrative, as Roger Davies stepped in to manage Tina and guide the 44 year-old to new heights following the release of her fifth solo album, Private Dancer (1984). We later get to see her perform the 1965 Beatle hit `Help!' in front of an adoring audience, but no mention is made of the role played by producers like BEF's Martin Ware and Ian Craig Marsh, who helped transform her sound. No credit is given, either, to the designers and stylists who revamped her image. But we are reminded that Tina made an old Bucks Fizz song her own when she reluctantly recorded `What's Love Got to Do With It'.


Fresh from scooping three Grammys, Tina teamed with Mel Gibson on George Miller's Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985). She also duetted with Jagger at Live Aid, but this is overlooked, as is much of the musical output that enabled her to become one of the first female artists to sell out stadium tours. We see footage of her belting out `I Can't Stand the Rain' in front of 186,000 at the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro in 1988, but the release of her autobiography brought the media focus back on to the living hell with Ike that she was not unnaturally struggling to exorcise.


She was helped in this regard by Buddhism and Erwin Bach, a German music executive 16 years her junior, who caught her eye when he collected her from Düsseldorf Airport in 1986. They started dating soon afterwards and eventually married in 2013, some 14 years after Tina had recorded her 10th and last studio album. She has continued to perform intermittently, however, and it's surprising that Lindsay and Martin opt against showing her 2008 Grammy turn with Beyoncé. They do discuss Katori Hall's Tony-nominated stage show, Tina: The Tina Turner Musical (2016), and make it clear that Tina is still a glamorous force to be reckoned with in her 80th year, when the now-Swiss citizen spoke with valedictory candour at her Lake Zurich home in 2019, just a few months after her 59 year-old son, Craig, had committed suicide. There's a reason the actuality opens with `Ask Me How I Feel'.


Yet, for all its affirmative affection, their film is more of a summation than a revelation. It's also archly selective and curiously reluctant to give credit for the writing and production of the songs that have made Tina Turner an icon. There's nothing wrong with the fact that she has largely interpreted the work of others since the mid-1980s. But she wrote dozens of songs during her partnership with Ike and it might have been interesting to learn why she stopped after they broke up. It would also have been instructive to discover the part she played in the selection of tracks for her later solo albums and their interpretation in the studio.


Given that this has been billed as Tina's farewell to her fans, it feels like a missed opportunity to examine her musical legacy. Clearly, it has been agreed that the human interest angle should take precedence and the concomitant points are made with sincerity and trenchancy. But, for all the slickness of the authorised visuals, Martin and co-editors Taryn Gould and Carter Gunn are careful not to scuff the brand or divert our gaze in this final act of closure from the trailblazing 5' 4" powerhouse at the centre of the stage.


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