By Don Simpson | January 6, 2015
Director: Erik Poppe
Writers: Erik Poppe, Harald Rosenløw-Eeg, Kirsten Sheridan (additional material)
Starring: Juliette Binoche, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lauryn Canny, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Chloë Annett, Larry Mullen Jr., Mads Ousdal, Eve Macklin, Denise McCormack, Carl Shaaban, Adrianna Cramer Curtis
The opening sequence of writer-director Erik Poppe’s 1,000 Times Goodnight is pretty astounding. Rebecca (Juliette Binoche) is an imbedded war photographer in Kabul, thoroughly documenting a suicide bombing from the ritualistic preparations to the devastating aftermath of the explosion. Throughout the film, we are reminded that Rebecca thrives off of the sheer adrenaline of dangerous situations. Ethics be dammed; she continuously puts herself in harm’s way, not considering the risks at hand, or the possible repercussions of what she is capturing. Rebecca might hope that at least one of her photos will make the world a safer place, but Poppe intelligently juxtaposes her good intentions with the truth that Rebecca is downright addicted to danger.
Rebecca’s career prompts an endless stream of questions from her husband, Marcus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), and their friends. It is not long before Rebecca is forced to choose between her extremely dangerous career and her seemingly idyllic family life in Ireland. The men in the film try to control her, to tame her. Marcus needs Rebecca to own up to her responsibilities at home, to be there for their two young daughters. First and foremost, Marcus just wants everyone to be safe and happy.
1,000 Times Goodnight rests solely upon Juliette Binoche’s shoulders. It is Binoche’s keen understanding of her character that provides us with a window into Rebecca’s soul. Because she often finds herself having to lie, much of Rebecca’s truth is communicated to us via nonverbal clues. With her eyes alone, Binoche tells us so much about Rebecca; though, yes, some of Rebecca’s actions will remain utterly incomprehensible.