Directed By: Antonio Campos

Starring: Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Maria Dizzia, J. Smith-Cameron, John Cullum, and Timothy Simons

I had the distinct pleasure of voting this past weekend.  As you can all probably guess, I'm voting to be able say Madam President by the time the next Commander-in-Chief is sworn into office in January.  I recognize that with all the chaos that is unfolding, there is a pretty large possibility that we could turn back the clock on the idea that is America and that things could tragically go the other way with a narcissist who endlessly whines.  As this election season has gone to hell (and hopefully back come November 8th), one body has drawn just as much fire as the candidates themselves.  I'm not talking about the FBI despite the fact that James Comey and his agency are quickly moving up on this list.  I'm talking about the media.  Chasing ratings and the almighty advertising dollars that follow, many media outlets have chosen profit over principle and goaded gullible, ill-informed Americans who don't vote in their best interests to take this country to the precipice of ruin.  It's the dangerous culmination of a trend toward infotainment that's played out for decades in the corporate media.  Indie drama Christine takes us back to the beginning of this trend in the most tragic of ways.

Christine Chubbuck (Rebecca Hall) is a journalist at a local television station in Sarasota, Florida.  Aspiring for something more, she does a regular community affairs segment that delves into local issues that matter to the people.  Unfortunately, the issues she's tackling don't matter enough to generate meaningful ratings, and her station manager Michael (Tracy Letts) — who wants something sensational on air — has taken notice of this.  The ratings don't really matter to Christine, and she gives Michael hell for it.  When owner Bob Anderson (John Cullum) pays the station a visit to poach talent for a new venture in Baltimore, Christine certainly wants to get on his radar.  Unaware of the cost, she is willing to ruffle a few feathers, including those of Michael, to land this opportunity.  Her personal life isn't much better.  With no friends or a significant other, she lives with her mother Peg (J. Smith-Cameron).  To make matters worse, she's recovering from depression.  It's an altogether sad affair for Christine.  The turmoil in her personal and professional lives ultimately comes to a boil in a bloody television first.

Poignant, gut-wrenching, and tragically beautiful, Christine is a riveting independent drama.  Director Antonio Campos's latest feature film crackles with old school soul as this period character study all about the unraveling of its main character.  You can see it in the grainy cinematography that harkens back to yesteryear.  You can hear it in the carefully scripted dialogue that's central to a movie about telling the news.  You can feel it in the immersive world Campos recreates through costume and set design.  Yes, Campos employs many cinematic devices to craft an unabashedly throwback film that's both piercing and personal.  At the center of it all, we have one immensely compelling performance from actress Rebecca Hall.  Nervous ticks and all, she gradually brings the instability of Christine Chubbuck to life once again and explores the dark underbelly of depression.  It's a terrifically nuanced performance that crescendos to a bloody conclusion and elevates Christine to something more.

While the film is a deeply emotional character study of the tormented Christine Chubbuck, it's also a film that very much speaks to this troubling moment in history.  Campos has an unflinchingly negative view of the beginnings of infotainment and corporate media's willingness to debase institutions built on public trust.  He frequently highlights throughout the film how this undermines the integrity of the fourth estate.  At a time when the media is failing miserably at doing its job of reporting issues that matter to the public, this couldn't be a timelier message for moviegoers.  It ensures that Christine is not only a throwback piece but a film that has something to say about the here and now.  It's quite a clever move on the part of Campos.

is a slow brewing drama that rises to the occasion.  It bleeds and it leads.  This 70s period piece gets a 0.03% rating.  Have some wine coolers with this one.