Mr Pip (Andrew Adamson, 2012). Great acting, terrific locations, lovely shooting (thanks John Toon), interesting themes (and you Lloyd Jones) – it’s hard to recognise the film that so underwhelmed them in Toronto a year ago (see here and here) before it was apparently tightened up and made clearer. As in the Jones novel, Dickens’ Great Expectations is a totem but there’s more to it than simply the civilising value of education contrasted with a barbaric civil war or one girl’s personal development. This is also about whether the western novel can co-exist with other systems of knowledge, Christian and pre-Christian: note that Mr Watts’ first act as a teacher of local children and the last white man in the wild is to wipe a prayer from the blackboard but he goes on to join the village’s most visible and committed Christian in making a sacrifice that changes the story. It may be fair to say that the war is underplayed or less seen than heard (machete sound effects) but the most risky idea – Melanesian actors in Victorian costumes re-enacting Great Expectations in (among other places) a tropical Oamaru – comes off, believe it or not. You can pack nearly all of your post-colonial themes into that one bold image. The great acting we mentioned is by Hugh Laurie and teenage newcomer Xzannjah, largely. Also, in a movie that wants you to read, did you notice the Lloyd Jones product placement? (A copy of Choo Woo in a Queensland school library).