The best of entertainment from November 2019, as chosen by Red Bee’s entertainment experts.
BEST FILM (1): OFFICIAL SECRETS
This slow burn spy thriller is a quiet, gripping true story of a courageous GCHQ translator charged with a breach of the Official Secrets Act in a bid to prevent the Iraq War. It feels a timely and urgent piece of storytelling with a stunning central performance from Keira Knightly. This isn’t Jason Bourne thrills, but it is twice as gripping because of its authenticity and the dilemmas at its heart.
BEST FILM (2): SHAUN THE SHEEP – FARMAGEDDON
You don’t have to know anything about Shaun, Farmer John or the ins and outs of Mossy Bottom Farm to experience real joy at this second installation in the Shaun the Sheep movie franchise. What was surprising was how many adults were in the cinema…unaccompanied by children. Maybe it’s a sign of the times that so many grown-ups are attracted to a film in which the characters don’t actually speak. It’s laugh out loud funny for adults and kids alike, and Aardman Animations are at their most joyful and playful. An easy win for a dreary December day.
BEST TV DRAMA: HIS DARK MATERIALS
The BBC and HBO’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s novels is an autumnal triumph. It is no surprise given the pedigree of Exec Producers Jane Tranter, Julie Gardner and writer Jack Thorne, but this is a masterpiece of family drama. 13-year-old Dafne Keen is the breakout star, but closely pursued by Framestore’s exquisite creation of the Daemons. In the office we have all been playing at discovering who our lifelong soul mates are through the Discover Your Daemon app on the BBC Twitter account.
BEST PODCAST: BROKEN BY JEFFREY EPSTEIN
Topical this month, given the recent calamity that was the Prince Andrew Newsnight interview, Broken tells the story of alleged sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Delving into his past and taking evidence from some of the women who have testified against him, this six-part podcast sheds light on the murky world of the super-rich, detailing how Epstein would reportedly use his vast wealth to coax ypug girls into his circle of influence. Chilling stuff, culminating in a forensic analysis of his death by suicide. If indeed it was a suicide. Many questions asked and, as the story gains more attention, many more to be answered, we hope, in season two.
BEST DOCUMENTARY: BIKRAM - YOGI, GURU, PREDATOR
Tracing the origins of Bikram ‘hot’ yoga back to the 1970s, this Netflix documentary chronicles the founder Bikram Choudhury’s rise to fame, his intense cult-like yogi followers and his unforgiving boot camp-style teacher training courses. It also homes in on the abuse, psychological manipulation and sexual abuse allegedly experienced by his students, which cast a shadow on his successful yoga empire. Surprising still is how, despite this, Choudhury continues to practise and promote his schools worldwide.
Stay tuned for more in December