The Wicked Boy: The Mystery of a Victorian Child Murderer

The Police News artist was sure to include the truncheon which was found at the murder scene in a suggestive manner in his drawing.

(by Kate Summerscale) In the  Prologue to this true-crime story, Summerscale describes a injured eleven-year old boy’s four mile walk along a dirt track in New South Wales, Australia, to report a crime.  The prologue is intended to, and does, make us wonder about the connection between the plight of this Australian boy in 1930 and the life of a twelve-year old boy – Robert Coombes, the “wicked boy” of the title – who killed his mother in Plaistow, East London in 1895.  That is the most interesting aspect of Summerscales’  book. The story of how Robert Coombes (with or without the connivance of his brother…

Continue Reading →

The Lawyer Drinks Alone

March 24, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | PETER'S WRITING, Ulalume |

(photo by Esther Bubley)

(A recent report in the “Australasian Lawyer” disclosed research suggesting the Legal profession was the most depressed profession, and the highest user of legal depressants).   Worse than in “Aubade” We work all day, and get drunk at night. Like Saul Goodman, glum and quiet, Hammering rusty nails, bedight In shame.  Sampling the contents Of a bottle in chambers, forlorn, In dark corners, with dark materials, Knowing only, qua Tulkinghorn, Those dark parts of the human soul So that one admits no other. Therefore we look on the bottle As one would a reliable lover. And why not?  The days Are measured out in units of six; The…

Continue Reading →

The Judge

December 9, 2014 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(dir. David Dobkin) To make a film as bad as this, more ingredients are required than Hollywood plot #7, additional clichés and dollops of sentimentality. To the mix must be added really good actors – (Roberts Downey and Duvall; Billy Bob Thornton and Vincent d’Onofrio, who is starting to look like a confusing cross between Charles Durning and Brian Dennehy) – so that the hapless viewer is all the more disappointed when it turns out that there really is no more to this than appears. Avoid.

Continue Reading →

The Insider

November 24, 2014 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Drama Film, FILM, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(dir. Michael Mann) (1999) Cancer man and chemist Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe) is shown the door but his erstwhile Big Tobacco employer strikes again when he breaches the confidentiality agreement. 60 Minutes producer and crypto-saint Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) is busy inducing that in aid of the effort to expose what everyone already knows: smoking is bad for you. Compelling and clever; rich performances, particularly by Crowe and Christopher Plummer as the 60 Minutes host, Mike Wallace (both characters the most compelling throughout by far, because they face genuine, human, crises of conscience).  

Continue Reading →

The Trial

(by Franz Kafka) An offense to natural justice, this nightmare procedural (originally entitled ‘The Process’) has K finding all about how but nothing about why. Kafka’s famous novel interprets both the times and the inhumanity of the human condition.

Continue Reading →

© Copyright 2014 The Varnished Culture All Rights Reserved. TVC Disclaimer. Site by KWD&D.