Finnegan On Films: Three True Stories That Are Stranger Than Fiction

Posted by


Our movie guy, James Finnegan, recommends some true life stories which are stranger than fiction…

A wise friend once told me that there were three sides to every story – your side, my side and what actually happened.

Never is this more appropriate than when a true story is brought to the big screen.  After all, how can you possibly condense years and months of events and happenings into a couple of hours?

This week’s selections are three true stories each showing different facets of how people react when faced with challenges

Continued below…


Everest (RTE2 Saturday 9.40pm) is a film that has stayed with me since I first saw it.  I have friends who climb mountains.  It is their reason for living.

What this film makes very clear is that no matter how careful and prepared you are, random incidental events literally make the difference between survival and death.

In 1996, two commercial expeditions set out from Base Camp to climb to the summit of Everest.  There are rivalries between the two groups, as well as individual reasons within each group for why they are determined to succeed.

The film shows the amount of preparation, and challenges they face in terms of the physical and psychological demands.  They prepare as best they can, using prior experience and expertise.

Unfortunately random factors come into play.  Nature, especially on Everest, is unforgiving of errors and egos.

If ever you want to get some indication of what it is like to climb a mountain higher than there is air to breathe, without having to experience it for real, this is your film.  Sometimes “because it’s there” is not a good enough reason.

The cast is uniformly excellent with Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhall, Emily Watson, Kiera Knightly and Sam Worthington among others.

One of the greatest film directors of all time is David Lean and one of his greatest films is The Bridge On The River Kwai (TG4 Sunday 2.55pm).

It won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor for Alec Guinness as the stiff upper lip Lieutenant Colonel Nicholson.

It tells the story of the construction of the aforementioned bridge by British Prisoners of War.  However, what is seen by Nicholson as a project to enhance the survival prospects of the prisoner troops with organised and structured engineering is also a something that assists the Japanese War effort.  A classic film.

Meanwhile there is a Netflix film that is already receiving a significant number of award nominations.

Mank is the story behind the making of another classic film ‘Citizen Kane’.  Orson Welles’s film about the life of a media baron and is regarded by many as the greatest film ever made.

This is the story of the writing of the screenplay by Herman Mankiewicz, and the fascinating events that inspired it.

Shot in black and white in acknowledgement of the Welles movie style, it is essentially an homage to Hollywood’s Golden Age and stars Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried and Charles Dance as William Randoph Hurst, the inspiration for the story.  Enjoy and stay safe.

Comments are closed.