Shooting the Past

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  • 1999
  • 8.5  (1,300)

Shooting the Past is a 1999 British television film directed by Stephen Poliakoff. The film stars Lindsay Duncan, Timothy Spall, Liam Cunningham, and Emilia Fox. The movie is set in the London headquarters of The Beeches, an archive of photographs, books, and maps that has been in operation for over one hundred years. The plot of the movie follows the mystery of the archive and the group of people who work to keep it running.

To begin the plot, the archive is at risk of being shut down due to funding issues, and Christopher Anderson (played by Spall) has been sent in to assess the value of the archive's contents. Anderson is rude, dismissive, and entirely uninterested in what the archive has to offer. However, when he comes into contact with the archive's custodians, Marilyn (played by Duncan) and Oswald Bates (played by Cunningham), everything changes. Anderson has an abrupt awakening when he realizes just how valuable the archive is and how much it means to those who work tirelessly to keep it running.

The movie focuses on the stories hidden within the archive's contents. And as Anderson begins to explore the photographs and documents, he discovers that each piece of work holds not only a story but an entire world waiting to be explored. The archive becomes its own character in the movie, as the photographs and stories that the characters discover allow us to see the world in a different light.

One of the critical themes of the movie is how important it is to capture and remember history. The archive is a symbol of the fragility of history and the importance of preserving our past. It is through the archive that we are able to connect with those who came before us and discover stories and lessons that had long been forgotten.

Shooting the Past is a film that hinges on the performances of its actors, and they all deliver. Lindsay Duncan brings an emotional depth to her role as Marilyn. Her passion for the archive and the people who have left their stories within it shines through in each scene she appears in. Timothy Spall's portrayal of Anderson is equally captivating, as he transforms from a man who is only interested in figures and numbers into someone who feels connected to the past in a way he never thought possible. Liam Cunningham, playing Oswald Bates, brings his signature commanding presence to his role as the archive's other custodian. Emilia Fox also delivers a nuanced performance as a woman desperately searching for the truth about her family history.

Throughout the movie, we see how the archive has the power to change people, how it can inspire them to learn, to connect, and to empathize with the countless stories that have been left behind. It shows us the power of photographs and how they can tell stories that are impossible to convey with mere words.

Overall, Shooting the Past is a beautifully crafted film that invites us into a world where stories have been carefully preserved for over a century. It is a movie that reminds us of the importance of our history and the need to safeguard it for generations to come. The acting, writing, and direction all come together to create a work that is both emotional and thought-provoking, leaving a lasting impression on its viewers.

Shooting the Past
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    8.5  (1,300)