I’d love to tell you Nomadland is overhyped, says Tom Shone in The Sunday Times. It scooped the top Oscars without anyone in the UK having clapped eyes on it, and sounds miserable: widowed sixtysomething Fern (Frances McDormand) loses her home and drifts around America in a van, looking for work. But “the open road has never looked better” than in writer and director Chloé Zhao’s “melancholy poem about loss and restlessness”. McDormand, who won her third Oscar for the role, has “the promise of mischief in her grin and a little lunacy in her eyes”. Her sprightly stoicism “comes close to comedy”.
Halfway through she “takes a dump in a bucket”, says Johnny Oleksinski in the New York Post. She doesn’t exactly scream “GIMME OSCAR NOW!” when she does it, “but you can see the words burning in her eyes”. The film’s real stars, however, are the “actual, remarkable nomads” Zhao found to play versions of themselves. We never forget that this is a real America of “often unforgiving environments”, but we also don’t lose hope.
Somewhere inside this “lovely and desperate” 108-minute masterpiece, there’s “the ghost of a western”, says Anthony Lane in The New Yorker. Fern’s horse is her van and the enormous skies of violet and rose look down on her country. Motion pictures lean towards movement: “The medium is not made for staying still.” While the possibility of danger “hangs around”, it stays away from Fern, packed tight away in her snug van. “On she goes.”
Nomadland is out now on Star (Disney+). Watch the trailer here.
Did Line of Duty’s finale hit the mark?
“After six series, 645 (or so) red herrings, multiple knifings, shootings, tortures, one defenestration and a catchphrase or two, Line of Duty’s supervillain ‘H’ was finally unmasked,” says Ben Dowell in The Times. Spoiler alert: it was the hapless Detective Ian Buckells. “Seriously?” Anyone could have been a more convincing mastermind than this “dim, sleazy golf-club bore, who has been a right wally since series one”.
Nearly 13 million people watched the season finale, and many weren’t best pleased by the big reveal. But having a villain as hapless as Buckells was inspired, says investigative reporter Billy Kenber in The Times. “Instead of being a criminal genius, H was revealed as a blundering cop motivated by greed who had been protected and promoted by a corrupt system.” Sounds familiar: “Many fans suspected the ending was an attack on the government.” The writer, the vocally anti-Boris Jed Mercurio, is keeping quiet.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves with the political parallels. This is Line of Duty after all, says Anita Singh in the Telegraph, and silliness still reigns supreme. Mercurio ended the series with “a truly hilarious-coda”: the tortured policewoman Joanne Davidson living in a chocolate box cottage, waltzing off on a dog walk, hand in hand with her girlfriend, dressed like a Boden model. “If this is what a life of corruption gets you, where do I sign up?”
Line of Duty is on the BBC iPlayer.