"A Scathing Truth"
A Review of "The Hippopotamus" by Nathan H. Box
Director: John Jencks, Writers: Stephen Fry (Novel), Robin Hill, Starring: Matthew Modine, Russell Tovey, Fiona Shaw
Rating: 5 Stars, SHOWTIME!
For my 17th film of the 43rd Annual Seattle International Film Festival, I decided it was time to see something British. "The Hippopotamus" is a brilliantly written movie about disgraced poet Ted Wallace played by Roger Allam. Ted, who hasn't had a book of poetry published in years, is called to his friend's country manor. Once there, he is asked to use his magic for discernment to investigate a strange series of unexplained miracles.
As a poet and sword yielding rhetoric, Ted Wallace is unmatched. The dialogue Stephen Fry created here is fast, smart, and focused on wit. At times, this film can feel like it was constructed by "The West Wing's" Aaron Sorkin. With all his prowess, he may have missed his true calling as an investigator.
The movie focuses on his investigation into his friend's son; who many believe possesses the power to heal people with nothing more than his touch. As the case unfolds, a race against time is established by an outside source. Here, things become even smarter and funnier.
As the film draws nearer to its climax, we encounter the true purpose of poetry. It is a tool used to make sense of the world, imagined or otherwise. When the scathing truth about the healing hands is revealed, you feel as if you just witnessed poetry in action.
Without a doubt, "The Hippopotamus" was my favorite comedy of the 2017 festival. Its writing was crisp, smart, and clean. Its plot was engaging and enthralling. Its climax was unexpected and thrilling. I don't know about you but I don't think I can ask much more from a movie.
Be good to each other,