Category Archives: Review

Review: The King’s Speech

“I am the voice of the nation. But I cannot speak.”  – King George VI

There are legends throughout history that havenever received true recognition for either the dangers that they have faced, the obstacles they have overcome, or the personal challenges they have swept aside. In the 21st century, one would imagine that we, as a race, would have collected an infinite amount of knowledge of our past and our tribulations; but, as it has been said before, mankind is itself far more fascinated with the wonder of our world; so much so that we never do take note of the wonder within ourselves.

The King’s Speech, directed by Tom Hooper, dictates the extraordinary true – yet seldom told or discussed – story of King George VI of England (Colin Firth), as the monarch, over the course of several years battles – and finally manages to conquer – his stammer, with the help of Australian commoner and speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) .

The King’s stammer had, since his childhood, prevented him from properly engaging in normal conversation, or delivering a speech – something which is indeed required of all modern day figures of the monarchy. The film begins in earnest before George VI ascends to the throne; as (as he was known before his coronation) Prince Albert of York seeks treatment for his stammer, eventually meeting Lionel Logue, an Australian immigrant who, using maverick psychological and corrective measures, grooms the Prince to become a confident speaker who is able to control his stammer, and continues to aid at his side after the Prince makes reluctant, yet necessary, impromptu ascendance to the throne, after the death of his father, King George V of England, and his brother King Edward’s sudden abdication to marry an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson.

The King’s Speech is a masterfully created, engaging, and appealing film which captures a remarkable true story in superb fashion. Indeed, The King’s Speech is a film which every member of an audience can identify with individually through the themes explored. What truly is remarkable about the film – more so than the well casted actors who portray its characters, undoubtedly giving the performance of a lifetime – is the orchestration of such common human themes through an intricate story involving one of the most complex of societies; the British Royal Family.

One can not only easily relate to how a true, earnest friendship is gradually formed between speech therapist Lionel Logue and the King, and the King’s ultimate acceptance of an individual whom is so far removed from the royal life and all he truly knows (as George VI had never even truly experienced friendship due to his obligations to the Royal Family and the throne) but also the King’s perseverance and determination to conquer his own personal difficulty, and become one of the most celebrated monarchs of all time.

The King’s Speech chronicles the challenges faced by King George VI in an engaging manner that is truly worthy of the reception lauded upon the film by critics worldwide, and is a film that will no doubt remain fresh in the modern cinematic world as the world delights over the newly wedded great-grandson of King George VI, His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, William, and his bride, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine.

The King’s Speech is indeed a modern must-see, a sublime treat which audiences across the globe will not only relate to, but thoroughly enjoy the not-often told story that the film presents: a story of how it takes leadership to confront a nation’s fear, but it takes friendship to conquer one’s own.

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Review: U2-360º Tour: Johannesburg

Sunday, 13th February. 20:30.

I’m seated in the fifth level of the enormous FNB stadium in Soweto, Johannesburg. The sound of the jubilant crowd around me is deafening, to say the least, and the lights that are emitted from a gargantuan structure, dubbed The Claw, which rests in the middle of the stadium, are enough to leave me blind.

The world’s biggest rock band has just entered entered the arena.

U2, the world-famous Irish rock band that consists of lead singer Bono, guitar maestro and back-up vocalist The Edge, expert bassist Adam Clayton and renowned drummer Larry Mullen jr, have toured the world many times over, and have, since their breakthrough album The Unforgettable Fire and their recent release No Line On The Horizon, been the subject of critical acclaim. Now, after releasing their eleventh studio album, U2 have set out to tour the world once again, with the 360º Tour – a tour bolstered by the presence of The Claw – the huge structure which presents video footage of the band through 360 degrees of onstage LED video screens – leaving no fan out of the action during any concert.

After supporting acts Amadou & Miriam and The Sprinbok Nude Girls have left the stage hastily, the time has now come for the main act, and in a flash of light and a roar of sound, U2 take to the stage with their opening number – the instantly recognizable hit track, Beautiful Day.

What makes any U2 concert effective, apart from Bono’s operatic vocals, The Edge’s textured approach to guitar, Adam Clayton’s bass or Larry Mullen’s rythmic drumming, is the band’s immediate connection to their audience. The band quickly grab their audience’s attention through a powerful yet personal performance, which is only bolstered by the onstage visuals provided by the Claw.

“…the lights that are emitted from a gargantuan structure, dubbed The Claw, which rests in the middle of the stadium, are enough to leave me blind.”

What was truly suprising about the Johannesburg performance was the surprising choice of set-list; U2 deigned to treat their audience to their earlier hits of their career – with songs such as Pride (In The Name Of Love), a song dedicated originally to Martin Luther King, but was on the night dedicated to former president Nelson Mandela’s health, Miss Sarejevo,  In A Little While, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, in which U2 were joined on stage by South African musical legend Hugh Masekela, and a revamped Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me.

The Irish quintet were on superb form all through the night, as their audience members sang, screamed, and danced – rocking the very foundation of the stadium itself!

After approximately three encores, the band closed their performance with a roaring rendition of With Or Without You, leaving their audience cheering for more as the band left the stage for the final time.

The concert itself had an indelible impact upon me – four hours of a concert that I will never want, nor be able to forget. The 360º Tour serves as a reminder that U2, almost 30 years on from their initial debut, are still a force to be reckoned with as they take their music and their cause to the global fray once more.