Hannibal – “Relevés” (Season 1, Episode 12)

It’s always a treat when a drama takes the time to pause and let its characters to engage with one another without the runaway narrative train pushing them forward. Hannibal takes a much-needed chance to breathe in the opening half of “Relevés.” There’s no killer-of-the-week: instead a more traditional investigative episode, as Will and Crawford…

Brick (2005)

A friend commented last year that Rian Johnson’s Looper made her feel “stupid” for having to read a plot synopsis to understand a sci-fi action film. Of course, Looper was an astoundingly complex film (to its benefit), and the same attributes are found in Johnson’s directorial debut, Brick. But where Looper’s complexities held audience attention…

Breaking Bad – “Fly” (Season 3, Episode 10)

“Fly” is one of my favourite episodes of Breaking Bad, yet many were disappointed by its simplicity. Admittedly, it’s not overly important to the show’s plot development, but as an insight into Walt’s obsessiveness and the bruised intimacy between Walt and Jesse, it carries spare, aching power. It wasn’t until a recent rewatch that the…

Game of Thrones – “Mhysa” (Season 3, Episode 10)

The Game of Thrones season three finale begins amidst a maelstrom of chaotic violence, Stark bannerman hacked to pieces surrounded by hellish flames. It’s a confronting opening even before the “young wolf” is brought forth, but it’s not representative of the episode as a whole, which takes the opportunity for reflection after the enormity of…

Insidious (2011)

It’s difficult for ghost stories to maintain the careful balance of tension and release across the length of a feature length film. Most feature some good scares, but thin characterisation necessitated by poor decisions leads to boring, uneventful stretches. James Wan overcomes this problem with Insidious by breaking the film up into three sections: a…