The Sam Claflin Appreciation Post

Today I’m doing something a little bit different from my usual forte, because today, my dear friends, I dedicate a post of my blog to the beautiful and talented British actor Sam Claflin.

Sam is probably best known for playing Finnick in The Hunger Games movies, but other than that, he mostly flies under the radar. Which results in people who take a deeper dive into his filmography emerging with: “OMG, WHY IS NO ONE TALKING ABOUT THIS GUY??? He has the range!”

That’s what I’m here for!

Link to Sam’s IMDb page.

Finnick card from Etsy

Sam Claflin

  • actor
  • also known for his dimples
one of the most beautiful smiles in showbusiness

I’ve been racking my brains for months, but I cannot for the life of me remember how I first got to know him. It was definitely a case of knowing the name before seeing any of his movies, most likely in connection with The Hunger Games sequels. I remember Catching Fire being on TV once, but not deeming it essential, I didn’t bother watching it, though I vaguely recall just having it on as a background. I think it was the Snow White and the Huntsman movie I saw him in first, and I went to see My Cousin Rachel in the cinemas when it was out. And although I appreciated his outing on Peaky Blinders, it wasn’t until summer last year that I finally discovered all of his talents.

And I’ve come to the conclusion that IMDb ratings don’t mean shit.

So, onto the actual post. I tried to avoid as many spoilers as possible. Although… spoiler for everything, his characters have a habit of not being alive at the end, but I maintain that even if you’re aware of this fact, the films are still worth watching, end of spoiler for everything.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), Mockingjay Part 1 (2014) and Part 2 (2015), directed by Francis Lawrence

I’ll start with the most obvious one. Catching Fire is the second instalment in The Hunger Games series, the movies adapted from books by Suzanne Collins. Sam plays Finnick Odair, victor of 64th Games from District 4 and a tribute in the Quarter Quell, alongside the main heroine Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). No other actor could have done a better job portraying Finnick. He captured his arrogance, but also his vulnerability, brilliantly. Finnick appears to be a playboy at the beginning, your typical boyband member/underwear model type (and he’s blond and has an American accent!), until we learn what he had to go through after his victory in the Games, and how deep his love for Annie is.

I have a very difficult and very complicated relationship with The Hunger Games. I found the last book, Mockingjay, especially painful, and the ending made me want to throw my Kindle against the wall, so you understand why I didn’t bother with the movies. Then I got into Sam, and the movies happened to be available on Amazon Prime at the time, so I decided to give Catching Fire a go. Luckily my conflicted feelings have nothing to do with Finnick, who is, together with Johanna Mason, my favourite character. Aside from the fact where he, you know, dies. With that at least I’m not on my own–Finnick is a popular character and majority of the fandom is unhappy about his death. They should have made a change from the books and have him survive, the movies would then have something going for them. When it comes to that, they should have changed a lot about Mockingjay, and dividing a book where you expect revolution to happen, but get “Peeta-Peeta-Peeta waah-waah-waah” instead, is not the best of ideas. I never watched the second Mockingjay and only fast-forwarded through the first one for the Finnick scenes. It’s surprising how little he’s in it. He has two conversations with Katniss, and towards the end he’s recording the video where he talks about his experiences post-victory, but even here the camera keeps switching to Katniss’s dumb, open-mouthed face.

Catching Fire has 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the highest of all THG films, and it’s also the one with most Sam Claflin. NOT a coincidence! The soundtrack is also sick and happens to feature my favourite band, Imagine Dragons. (Spotify link here.)

Their Finest (2016), directed by Lone Scherfig

Now onto some quality! A drama with some comedy and romance mixed in, Their Finest takes place during WW2. The main character is a young screenwriter, played by Gemma Arterton, who joins the production crew of a propaganda movie for the Ministry of Information–yes, this is a movie about a movie! Sam is Tom Buckley, a fellow screenwriter, who hires her to write “slop”, as he calls it, meaning “girl talk”. The film they’re working on is about Dunkirk evacuation (of course it is…).

The cast is phenomenal; there’s Bill Nighy, Richard E Grant, Rachael Stirling, as well as Paul Ritter and the great Helen McCrory, both of whom have sadly passed away this April.

Their Finest is hilarious at times, but poignant too. Buckley has a bit of an ego on him, but he’s likeable. He and Catrin (Gemma’s character) banter a lot, but you can see they begin to truly care about each other. They have great chemistry.

how cute is he in glasses?

Why do you think that people like films? It’s because stories are structured; have a shape, a purpose, a meaning; and when things gone bad they’re still a part of a plan; there’s a point to them. Unlike life.

Buckley, Their Finest

Churchill is only name-dropped once.

More importantly, we have a lesbian character (the one played by Rachael Stirling), who is alive at the end.

This is also rated 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s the second time Sam has worked with Lone Scherfig.

Journey’s End (2018), directed by Saul Dibb

While Their Finest is set during WW2, Journey’s End is set during WW1. This one is an actual war movie, adapted from the play by RC Sherriff, yet it’s not your typical war movie. Because in this one, it doesn’t matter whether they’re allies or Germans–it’s all about the life in the trenches, and the effects of it on the soldiers. Don’t expect much military action.

Sam plays Captain Stanhope, who leads the company of soldiers when it’s their turn to spend six days at the dugout near St Quentin in northern France. They expect a big German offensive is coming, they just don’t know when, so nobody has any idea which men will be in the trenches at the time they attack. (History note: it’s the Operation Michael on 21 March 1918). A young, naïve, still idealistic officer Jimmy Raleigh (the young talent Asa Butterfield) requests to join Stanhope’s company, as he knows him from back home; they used to play rugby together and his older sister Margaret is engaged to Stanhope. As the General’s nephew, he gets his wish, but he’s not prepared for how much the war has changed Stanhope.

This is truly an outstanding performance by Sam. Mentally shot to pieces and almost an alcoholic, Stanhope is not exactly thrilled to come face to face with an old friend in this state. Especially as the said friend would doubtless report everything to Margaret. When Raleigh arrives, his reaction is a literal “Shit!”

My favourite scene is Lieutenant Osborne (Paul Bettany), tucking Stanhope into bed. Osborne acts like a father-figure to the men, they call him Uncle. Here’s a collage of my screenshots of that scene–it’s very dark, which is the general feel of the movie:

The only thing missing is a bedtime story. As a matter of fact, Osborne was reading Alice in Wonderland in the opening scene, shame they didn’t add that!

It’s a really moving film that hits right in the feels. Rotten Tomatoes rates it at 91%.

There are no women in this movie, apart from Margaret reading a letter from her brother at the very end, though she has no lines. In this case it really doesn’t matter. Stanhope carried her photograph on him at all times, and didn’t want her to know what’s become of him.

My Cousin Rachel (2017), directed by Roger Michell

The best Daphne du Maurier adaptation in recent years.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I saw this on the big screen when it was released, because I like the book. (It was out around the same time as Wonder Woman, which everyone was hyping about, but I went to watch My Cousin Rachel instead. My most favourite book of all time, Rebecca, is, of course, by the same author.) The titular Rachel is played by Rachel Weisz, with Sam in the role of the narrator Philip Ashley. He actually has a double role here, he also plays Ambrose, though that’s only for a couple of scenes at the beginning without any lines. Iain Glen is Nick Kendall, Philip’s godfather and legal guardian, and Holliday Grainger is his daughter and Philip’s childhood friend Louise. Everyone is good in this and everything is good in this. Roger Michell knows his stuff.

In one interview, Sam correctly referred to My Cousin Rachel as gothic thriller, and gothic thriller it is. (Same as Rebecca. NOT a romance.) If you’ve read the book you know that Philip swears revenge on Rachel, whom he blames for the death of Ambrose, his closest person, only to fall head over heels in love with her when he meets her. It’s a very ambiguous story, and we’re not given any answers at the end. The film sticks pretty close to the book, any changes are minimal. There’s only one major difference and that’s at the end, with an added epilogue, which does not really contradict anything from the book. Sam did a great job with Philip, who starts out as completely clueless about women, almost loses his mind, and ends it in some dark places. His misogyny is only a result of his upbringing by Ambrose, a woman hater that wouldn’t even allow female dogs in his house. It’s really Rachel Weisz that steals the show, as she’s supposed to. Daphne du Maurier was a master with her intriguing female characters whose names start with R!

Rachel Weisz, Sam Claflin, bluebells. This is the perfect picture. Everyone else go home.

Above screenshots are an example of a change from the book–in the book it was primroses, not bluebells.

Rotten Tomatoes rates My Cousin Rachel at 76%. Compare it to 2020 version of Rebecca on Netflix, which completely missed the point of the story, but got a bigger hype, so more people know about it.

The Nightingale (2018), directed by Jennifer Kent

All the trigger warnings apply–this is not a joke!

The Nightingale is set in 1825 in Tasmania. This is the story of Clare, a young Irish convict (Aisling Franciosi), who pursues British officer Hawkins (Sam) through the wilderness, to avenge her family. This is Sam as a villain, and truly a despicable one he is. He likes having the power over those below him. And that’s precisely it, it’s by playing a villain that actors showcase their true talent. Anyone can play a love interest in a romcom, but not anyone can sell a villain. Sam does.

Bad Sam!

Heads-up, this movie is really violent. Multiple rapes and a murder of a baby happen. You can guess why Clare is on her quest for revenge. She recruits a native tracker Billy, played by Baykali Ganambarr, to help her get Hawkins. Clare, although a survivor of terrible violence, is not exactly without prejudices, she calls Billy “boy”. As the movie progresses, she starts to look at him as a human being. We see more examples of trauma caused by colonialism too. A hard to watch film, but important.

You might know Aisling Franciosi from her total of five minutes on Game of Thrones as Lyanna Stark. Personally I care nothing for Lyanna (Team Elia Martell). It’s not relevant to anything in this post, I’m just saying. Anyway, The Nightingale was an opportunity to flex her acting skills, and flex them she did, and she deserves all the praise for it. So does Baykali.

Rotten Tomatoes rating is 86%.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), directed by Rob Marshall

This one got a mention on Some Photoblog before.

No complicated feelings for this franchise! Pirates of the Caribbean is my second favourite cinematic universe. The first is Marvel. There’s all the good stuff: adventure, action, humour, horror, romance–and good romance at that. Sam appears in the fourth instalment of the franchise, his first big movie (prior to that he starred in TV mini series only). He plays Philip Swift, a missionary captured by Blackbeard (Ian McShane). The first time we see him, he’s tied to a mast of Blackbeard’s ship. As mutiny breaks out, Jack Sparrow and another pirate go to untie him, and Salaman, the other pirate, tells him he’s either with them or against them, upon which Philip responds: “I’m not with you, neither am I against you.”

Salaman to Jack: Can he do that?

Jack Sparrow: He’s religious, I believe it’s required.

Sam’s first scene in his first major movie was with the legend that is Johnny Depp*–not a bad start!

The pirates are on a quest for the Fountain of Youth, which guarantees the drinker eternal youth. But they also need a mermaid’s tear, so they go on a hunt for a mermaid. Mermaids in this universe are malevolent creatures (or it depends how you look at it, if they lure men to their deaths, I say good for them), but nevertheless they manage to capture one, with the help of Philip. He regrets this almost immediately and spends the rest of the movie protecting her, and names her Syrena. She’s played by Astrid Berges-Frisbey.

I’ve never been one for any characters of religion, but between Philip Swift and the Hot Priest from Fleabag, I might just change my mind. Philip is a modest man of God, who believes everyone’s soul can be saved. The way he protects Syrena gives me all the feels. She falls for him too.

This is Sam’s cutest love story.

The Rotten Tomatoes rating for this one is irrelevant. What do they know?

Okay, well, for consistency, it’s 33%. Out of all the POTC movies, it can be objectively said On Stranger Tides is the weakest, but Philip and Syrena’s storyline is the best thing about it. And there’s always fun in swashbuckling action. What a great way to start a film career!

*Some Photoblog loves and supports Johnny Depp

Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), directed by Rupert Sanders

A dark retelling of the classic tale of Snow White. You know the story, the evil queen, here named Ravenna (Charlize Theron), wants Snow White (Kristen Stewart) dead and orders the huntsman Eric (Chris Hemsworth) to bring her back Snow White’s heart as a proof. The huntsman saves her instead and, with the help of the seven dwarves, they set off to take Ravenna down. Sam plays William, a childhood friend of Snow White and a duke’s son. For years he believed Snow White was dead, but when he hears she’s still alive, he rides off to save her without a moment of hesitation. He joins the bad guys, pretending to be one of them. And he’s very skilful with a bow and an arrow.

The film is okay, a bit uneven, and it’s not clear who is actually supposed to be Snow White’s love interest, Eric or William. I ship Snow White with William, of course, and we know from the sequel, The Huntsman: Winter’s War that they got together. A son of a duke is a better choice for a queen than a huntsman, in any case.

But they don’t fight for her, the two men actually become friends.

wet hair and still looks good

The dwarves are also funny. And the movie is nice to look at. Every time I see it’s on TV, I always leave it on. I like it.

People like to give Kristen Stewart shit, but I don’t.

49% from Rotten Tomatoes.

As for the sequel, The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Sam is only there for one single scene, where he talks to Eric. There’s not much to say about that one.

Sam has worked with both Hemsworth brothers–Liam plays Gale in THG.

photograph from Observer photoshoot

Adrift (2018), directed by Baltasar Kormakur

Survival drama, based on a true story.

Shailene Woodley plays Tami Oldham (now Tami Oldham Ashcraft), a sailor who spent 41 days adrift in the Pacific. Sam is Richard Sharp, her fiancé. Tami arrives to Tahiti as part of her travels, where she meets Richard, a sailing enthusiast and they fall in love. They sail off on Richard’s friends’ boat on a voyage to San Diego, but get caught in hurricane Raymond. Tami finds herself alone, in the middle of the ocean, without a working navigation system.

Tami and Richard’s romance is so… wholesome. There is a scene where he proposes to her aboard. I’m not normally a fan of proposals, the whole going-down-on-one-knee-with-a-ring thing makes me cringe. So if I tell you I like this one, that means something. Spoiler, but not really as it’s a real story, Richard Sharp was unfortunately swept overboard and never found. Tami, though, still sails to this day.

A moving, inspiring film.

Rotten Tomatoes rating is 69%.

Enola Holmes (2020), directed by Harry Bradbeer

Oh dear. This one gave me such a hard time, it took me all of six months to figure out how to deal with its very existence.

Look at the picture below. The man on the right is Henry Cavill as Sherlock Holmes. Who is the man on the left?

“What are we doing in this movie, Sam?”

I’m going to assume, if you haven’t seen Enola Holmes, that your answer was Watson. He looks like Watson, and he should have been Watson. But no, he’s Mycroft. (Who’s supposed to be seven years older than Sherlock. Sam is three years younger than Henry.) Please be aware that this is NOT a canon Mycroft, as we know him from Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories. He has nothing in common with the real Mycroft, apart from his job at the government. His deduction skills, which are superior to Sherlock’s, have been completely erased. This Mycroft is a one-dimensional, conservative cartoon villain, complete with cartoon villain moustache. This change was needed for the sake of an original character, a teenage sister of the Holmeses, the titular Enola. She’s smarter than her brothers, because the narrative wants to her to be so. This butchered version of Mycroft was necessary to provide conflict for the original teenage heroine.

This is the reason why I dedicated a paragraph in my Sherlock Holmes post to Mycroft. It was important to me to put the truth out there.

Okay. Listen. What they did to Sam’s look here was criminal. From the above image you can’t see it, it’s the pic I took of my TV screen, and I wouldn’t post it here if you could see it, and I’m not posting any screenshots. Look it up. I remember seeing a tweet that went along the lines of: “did they have to press Sam’s hair like that? and did he have to have such a moustache?” Sure, you can dismiss the tweeter as being shallow, but they had a point. Because you cannot make a genuinely handsome guy ugly. (Unless you’re, like, using prosthetics to turn him into an alien or a supernatural monster or something of that kind.) You can let him grow any horrible moustache, style any idiot haircuts you can think of. That perfect bone structure is still there. The dimples are still there. Also, he has beautiful lips. What it results in, is that it makes him just look ridiculous.

Sam has a moustache in two of his best movies, Journey’s End and Their Finest. That is fine. In The Nightingale, where he plays a horrible person, he has sideburns. He didn’t need any villain moustache for that, his evilness was clear from his actions. It’s not the fact that he has a moustache in Enola that I object to. It’s the cartoonish-ness of it.

Henry Cavill fans got the better of it–his Sherlock serves as pure eye candy. He doesn’t do much Sherlocking, he’s there to look pretty with his wild curls. A look that Benedict Cumberbatch mastered ten years before. That’s not a slight against Henry, btw. I liked him in The Witcher. It’s the writing.

This film didn’t need to be part of Sherlock universe at all, anyway. It should have been a story of a young girl’s adventure, hampered by a strict uncle–Mycroft character behaved more like an uncle, these guys don’t even have a sibling dynamic. (Trust me. I have siblings.) I wouldn’t have anything against that. But that would not have generated as much attention as Sherlock pastiche, eh?

Enola Holmes has a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. That kid has some strong connections.

A note on that social issues raised in this film: look, I get it. But it’s not that hard to insert some wokery into your fiction. I’ve done it myself. And I’m here for the feminist retelling of literally anything. God is a woman. I’m the biggest supporter of the madwoman in the attic. But Sherlock-verse doesn’t need to be a place for this, because Sherlock Holmes is not a misogynist. It’s the adaptations that give this misconception. Remember that Irene Adler outsmarted him!

The Riot Club (2014), directed by Lone Scherfig

This one made me feel unsettled.

Adapted from the play Posh by Laura Wade, it’s the story of two freshmen at Oxford University, who join this infamous club. An all-male elite dining club, members must be from private schools and rich. It’s based on real life Bullingdon Club, past members of which include former Prime Minister David Cameron, former Chancellor George Osborne and our current Prime Minister Boris Johnson (sigh). The way the club operates is: they book a table at a restaurant, trash the place, and then give a cheque to the owner to cover the damages.

No wonder we’re in such mess.

Sam and Max Irons play the new members. Sam’s character is called Alistair Ryle, and he’s a spoiled brat who hates poor people. Max’s character Miles is down to earth, and ends up disgusted with the practices of the club. He comes out of it much better.

at least the actors are better looking than the members of the real Bullingdon Club

I like a good villain, but not this type. It’s Draco Malfoy of the first five Harry Potter books, more or less. (I started liking Draco in the sixth book, after he used the body-freezing spell on Harry on the Hogwarts Express, and covered him with the invisibility cloak. I thought, yeah, finally you’re actually doing something, instead of running to hide under your parents’ skirts, and informing on your schoolmates to Dolores Umbridge. You get what I mean.) The reason the movie left me unsettled is because it can’t decide what it is. At the beginning, it seems like a comedy–we see how the club was established in the 18th century and a lord catching his wife getting jiggy with another man. Then we’re in the present, and the feel is like a contemporary drama. Alistair initially starts out as a sympathetic character, he even gets robbed while getting money out of a cash machine. (Also, I think he may have been autistic.) But then we find out he’s very much not. But, as ever, great acting from Sam.

I will say something in favour of the movie, though. Despite it focusing on an all male club, there are female characters, and they’re quite well developed, considering the limited time they get on screen. There’s Max’s girlfriend Lauren (Holliday Grainger), who takes no shit from him, or any of the posh boys. There’s the daughter of the pub landlord, in whose establishment the second half of the movie takes place. Even Natalie Dormer in a cameo as a sex worker. She flatly refuses their demands of being done by all of them under the table, and leaves. The director is a woman.

Lone Scherfig also directed the above mentioned Their Finest. She’s Danish, in case you wanted to know.

It’s got 67% on Rotten Tomatoes.

United (2011), directed by James Strong

I thought I’d give this one a quick mention.

In February 1958, on its third attempt at take-off, British European Airways Flight 609 crashed in Munich. It was carrying the Manchester United football team. Eight players lost their lives. The film is about this sad event, and how the team overcame the tragedy. Sam has the role of Duncan Edwards, one of the footballers who died (typical). He didn’t die at the place of the crash, but later in the hospital.

So, obviously, this is of interest mostly to football fans, but there wasn’t much of the sport itself. We do get to see Sam kicking the ball a bit. Sam likes football in real life, he did Soccer Aid in 2019.

in the present, the shirts are covered with logos of the sponsors

After one victorious game, the teams goes to a bar to celebrate, and Duncan advises newly signed Bobby Charlton (Jack O’Connell) to tell girls that he’s a plumber or an electrician, instead of a footballer. Because they only earn £15/week and their career is over by 30. How times have changed!

There is no rating on Rotten Tomatoes for this film. Probably because it’s not very well known.

I live in Manchester, but I have no interest in football. Still, it was a nice movie.

Every Breath You Take (2021), directed by Vaughn Stein

The latest of Sam’s movies, as of June 2021. You can tell from the title that it’s a psychological thriller. It’s not really much, very predictable, not helped by the fact that the trailer gave most of it away. I also easily guessed the final twist.

In the main role is Casey Affleck as a psychiatrist, whose client commits suicide. James, the brother of the dead girl, played by Sam, befriends his family–and thus trouble starts. He seduces the psychiatrist’s daughter, and also sleeps with his wife. James is the type of baddie I like seeing Sam play. He’s also the one who does most of the acting in this movie. Casey Affleck looks bored throughout, and the wife, Michelle Monaghan, is not given enough to do. As a psycho thriller, it’s very unoriginal, in parts even nonsensical in this age of internet and Google. Yet, for Sam’s sake, it’s worth seeing.

I made a better film out of it in my head–and that was before I even watched it!

The Rotten Tomatoes rating keeps changing still, but it’s around 20%.

What a missed opportunity.

Love Wedding Repeat (2020), directed by Dean Craig

One romcom, for the sake of variety. Could have been better if it lost the male anatomy jokes.

Seriously, it’s 2021, can we be done with the dirty jokes now, please?

Love Wedding Repeat takes place at a wedding. But it isn’t until halfway through that we find out there are multiple versions of the day. Don’t get fooled, though, it’s no Groundhog Day. Eleanor Tomlinson plays the bride, Sam is her brother. Aside from making sure the wedding goes smoothly, he also has to deal with an ex-girlfriend, who is one of the guests, the bride’s former boyfriend, who is not over her, and a misplaced sedative, while also trying to get the girl. He gets a lot to do, and what I liked was how he tried to be helpful to everyone. That doesn’t leave him much time for his own love life, which results in his love interest, played by Olivia Munn, sort of just standing around. She could have had an interesting story of her own, she’s a high flying journalist. At least she gets to wear a pretty dress.

Eh, whatever. There’s worse romcoms.

35% from Rotten Tomatoes.

The Corrupted (2019), directed by Ron Scalpello

Two Claflins for the price of one!

Sam’s younger brother Joe Claflin is an actor too; he appeared on Game of Thrones, the Watchers on the Wall episode (S4 E9). Here he plays Sean, brother of Sam’s character Liam. Brothers play brothers in this crime thriller.

Claflin Clan?

Liam is released from prison, determined to get his life back on track, and to reunite with his girlfriend and son. He gets tangled up in conspiracy and corruption. The caption at the beginning says “based on true events”. It’s to do with London’s Olympics bid, but I’m not sure what’s going on. The film has a decent idea, but the execution is a bit… unimpressive. I liked Sam’s character–showing his range again–and I liked the relationship with his girlfriend (Naomi Ackie). Although at first she is cautious–understandably so, as he’s just out of jail–they do reunite, and live as a family at the end. (Spoiler, but who cares.) Plus, we get Sam in a boxing ring!

Naomi Ackie appeared on Star Wars: The Rise of the Skywalker as Jannah. When I was watching TROS, it occurred to me that she could be a lost sister of Finn, John Boyega’s character. It seems this theory is shared by some of the fans. I’m not invested in the Star Wars fandom enough to check all the details are correct, so as far as I go, that is my headcanon.

Rotten Tomatoes gives it 30%.

Peaky Blinders (2013-), created by Steven Knight

Oh yes!

Sam does more films than TV, but he did appear on one of the most popular and critically acclaimed shows of the last decade, Peaky Blinders. He stars in Season 5 as a villain, and a juicy one–Oswald Mosley, a real life politician and member of Parliament, who became the leader of British fascists. Nasty stuff.

they showed him entering Tommy’s office in slow motion

Mosley butts heads with Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy), who was elected MP at the end of Season 4.

This is another fantastic performance by Sam, one of his best. Mosley rhetoric was abhorrent, but it was appealing to some sections of the population. We see this happening in our times too. We do indeed.

Manchester is one of the filming locations for Peaky Blinders, I posted pictures of the sets I went to see in February.

Sam will be back as Mosley in Season 6, which will be the last of the series. They’ve now wrapped up the filming and it should be on next year. I sure am looking forward!

Barbour winter photoshoot, from GQ magazine issue November 2020, UK edition

Of course, this is not the complete Sam Claflin’s filmography. These are just the films I thought were worth talking about.

So, what to conclude then, other than that I look forward to see Sam in his future projects. The next one is Daisy Jones & The Six, an adaptation of the book of the same name by Taylor Jenkins Reid, about the rise and fall of a band. Hopefully they should soon start filming, the pandemic has delayed it twice already.

Well, I hope those of you who have lasted till the end enjoyed this post and I hope you give some of Sam’s movies a watch.

And best of luck to Sam Claflin!


About the photos in this post: the captions should be self-explanatory. Screenshots are from trailers on YouTube. Journey’s End screeenshots are from my Amazon account.

And More Daisies

It’s still flowers at Some Photoblog!

I saw these pink daisies (I don’t actually know if that’s what they’re called) in one particular place in Castlefield, a little lane by the canal. This is the first time I’ve gone through there so the first time I’ve seen them.

I’m adding these big ones too, they also grow in Castlefield.

I cannot stop photographing flowers.

Lyme Park

My third and final Lyme Park post, featuring photographs on no particular topic.

While I was climbing the hill up to The Cage, I kept thinking of Jane Austen, and that it looked like a location from her novels. I don’t know why, because I was sure she was never this far north (she wasn’t). But I still had the feeling that it had a Jane Austen aesthetic. The house on the above picture has a souvenir shop inside it (there are tours but they were closing down as I got there, they close earlier now because of the pandemic), so I went in there–and it turns out that the 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini series was filmed here! It’s the one with Colin Firth as Mr Darcy. Of course, I bought a Mr Darcy fridge magnet.

I took a lot of pictures of the view from the hill on which The Cage is, but I couldn’t decide which ones to post, so I link you my video.

The Deer at Lyme Park

As promised, here is another Lyme Park post, this time animal-themed. Because they have deer.

See them, in the distance? (Also why climbing that hill was worth it.)

And here they are, closer. I don’t know what made them come down to the foot of the hill, but they look curious about something.

not deer in headlights

What I know is that they legged it back straight away. Getting this shot was pure luck, it would not have been possible only seconds later.

Apparently, the deer have been present at Lyme Park for over 600 years.

Looking it up, I see that there are a few collective nouns for deer: a bevy, a brace, a bunch, a gang, a herd, a leash, a mob, a parcel, and a rangale (never heard that word before). Oh, deer.

Finally something new to my animal collection that isn’t a cat or a bird!

Although… last September I went for a walk to one of my usual places, the wooded area near my home, pictures of which have featured on this blog numerous times, when I spotted a doe with two little ones. I literally stopped like “eh?” and she saw me too, and swiftly as a deer, they ran to hide away, before I took my phone out of my pocket. Understand that, though it is a wild, wooded place, it’s still the inner city of Manchester, so not a location where you expect this type of wildlife. How in seven hells did they get there, or indeed why they’d want to stay there, is a mystery.

I haven’t encountered them since. I hope nothing bad happened to them.

Hostile Environment

Greetings, good citizens, today I offer you another piece of work from Manchester Art Gallery.

The label first:

The work the artists sent:

Link to Tentative Collective.

Manchester Art Gallery were no doubt relieved the immigration officer was satisfied that they were in a position to pay for the artist’s travel and accommodation!

This is an example of Hostile Environment. What is a Hostile Environment? It is a set of policies to make life in the UK difficult for immigrants so that they rather leave on their own accord. It turns doctors, landlords, teachers, banks, etc into immigration officers. It intimidates, bullies, separates families, and also probably kicks kittens and puppies.

I only made up the kittens and puppies part–please note that the rest of it is all true.

The Hostile Environment was introduced by then Home Secretary Theresa May in 2012. (The same Theresa May that later became Prime Minister, only to be replaced by the current clown.) “The aim is to create, here in Britain, a really hostile environment for illegal immigrants,” was how she put it. On first glance, it might be tempting to agree with her, illegal immigrants are bad, you think. Legal immigrants are okay. Ah, but you see, once someone has the power to wave a magic wand, or snap their fingers like Thanos, and turn legal immigrants into illegal, what’s there to stop them?

image credit: New European

I was always afraid of the Hostile Environment, and it always worried me; it didn’t matter that I was not a subject to it. The immigrant hate, which I observed almost right from the moment I arrived to UK, had always made me feel uneasy. I don’t like hate. I mean, this type of hate, towards groups; I hate plenty of people and things myself but that is more personal and I don’t engage in any activity that would harm the people and things I hate. An example of a person I hate is the afore mentioned Theresa May, against whom I am powerless. The immigration van on the above picture, May’s own idea, should make anyone shudder. I mean, that is some horror movie stuff.

And yet–

a question I used to be asked during May’s premiership

Oh I don’t know, because I can think beyond myself?

Only she knows which option she ticked on the ballot. It’s irrelevant anyhow, she was the one to trigger Article 50 without any plan, she was the one to insist on leaving the single market and customs union, but I digress, this post is not about Brexit, it is about Hostile Environment.

The biggest victims of Hostile Environment were the Windrush generation. Whatever I say about them will not do them justice, so I’ll just leave a link to the Wikipedia article, which explains all in detail. The Windrush scandal has been covered by Amelia Gentleman, a Guardian journalist, from the beginning; she even wrote a book about it. It took long months before the rest of the media caught up and even by now, I don’t think many of the general public realise how bad it really is. I’m sure they just think it was a glitch, unnecessary bureaucracy or incompetence. They have no idea that it’s like that on purpose, that it is a very calculated system of psychological warfare. The present Home Secretary is Priti Patel, a vile, nasty, violent sociopathic bully, who is also hideous to boot, and has a permanent disgusting smirk on her ugly face. (Image Google her by all means, I’m not soiling my blog with her gross presence.) She herself is a daughter of immigrants, but hypocrisy is only a mild offence compared to her other traits. If the reincarnation theory is correct, then she is a reincarnated concentration camp guard. Maybe even Heinrich Himmler himself (side note, Himmler served as a Minister for the Interior, i.e. the same thing as Home Secretary).

The artists in my photo example are Pakistanis, the Windrush are of Caribbean origin, but I have read stories from white Australians and Canadians who were also caught up in the Hostile Environment. And now, of course, with Brexit and the ending of free movement, it applies to EU citizens. It has started already, people are being stopped at airports and thrown into detention centres. Post-Brexit rules allow travel without visas, but border officials have wide powers to exclude visitors. They also, like the writer of the letter in my gallery photos, must have felt “not satisfied”.

And this was the “good Europeans”, you know, Germans and the French and Italians, not “bad Europeans” like me, of former Communist bloc. What chance do the rest have? As for us, already here, the new “settled status” (I hate that name) is digital only, we have no physical proof of residency. When a situation occurs where we have to prove our right to stay, we can only hope that the system won’t be down. Otherwise, bad luck!

The Hostile Environment is not bad now because it affects white Western Europeans, it has always been bad. The only thing I can hope comes from this is that once people see it, they will realise the awfulness, precisely because it now affects white Western Europeans. Because that’s not a group you expect to have problems at the border, if you understand what I mean. It won’t be known for a while, as so far the only media that is covering it is Guardian, which, unfortunately, gets dismissed by too many as “leftist”, “socialist”, “liberal elite” paper. (But it’s okay for Daily Mail, Daily Express and Daily Telegraph to spread hate and incorrect information.) What can you do.

But why this obsession over immigration?

That, my friend, nobody can answer.

BIOS

  • basic input/output system, a set of computer instructions in firmware which control input and output operations
  • British Immigration Obsession Syndrome

Read more here.

The Cage at Lyme Park

It’s not a literal cage, it’s just named that way.

Lyme Park is a huge estate to the south-east of Manchester, near the village of Disley, Cheshire. It was recommended to me ages ago but it wasn’t until I got some time off work this June that I finally made a visit there.

I ended up with around 140 photographs, which for my outings is pretty average; but now I’m struggling with what to post on the blog. So I’m going to split them into groups, same as I did with my trip to Haworth. This post is dedicated to The Cage, a structure on a top of a hill. Climbing up there took effort, not gonna lie, but the result was worth it.

More pictures from Lyme Park will follow.

ETA: When I made this post, I was either too tired or too lazy to add more info about The Cage, so I’m adding it now.

The Cage was built by the warrior priest, Sir Piers V, in 1524, and was used either as a hunting lodge or a watchtower. In 17th century it was a holding prison for poachers awaiting trial, and this is where its name comes from. In the 1730s, Giacomo Leoni rebuilt it to make it more hospitable, so that it could be used as a banqueting room. Later it was a home for estate workers.

A Work Of Art

Following on from my previous post, here is another piece from Manchester Art Gallery.

This is the painting Hylas and the Nymphs by John William Waterhouse. It hangs quite high up, hence the awkward angle:

John William Waterhouse was an English painter of the Pre-Raphaelite movement and Hylas and the Nymphs is one of his most famous works. This is the gallery’s label:

(Look, I don’t know. Maybe the nymphs were just like: dude, you’re trespassing. It doesn’t have to be that deep. Waterhouse can hardly be blamed for some femme fatale shit, when it’s a story from Greek mythology. Also, I like Pre-Raphaelites. I like nice things. I’m a visual person.)

The image below is a scene from Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, the fourth film in the series, released in 2011, directed by Rob Marshall:

image credit: IMDb

Okay, I admit you have to squint a bit, but you can’t deny the presence of a tiny resemblance.

The two stunningly beautiful people are Philip and Syrena, played by Sam Claflin and Astrid Berges-Frisbey. Syrena is a mermaid, not a nymph, and there are no water lilies, obviously–I don’t know if that’s supposed to be a lagoon or what–but she does look like something Waterhouse would have painted. He seemed to have a thing for women of mythology and legends, and bodies of water. (Waterhouse, get it?) Philip is no argonaut, he’s a missionary, hence the cross he wears, but he was on a ship. Which is, I suppose, a logical occurrence in a movie centred on pirates. On Stranger Tides is probably the weakest in the series, but it’s still worth watching for these two, if nothing else. Their romance would surely inspire artists and poets alike. There was something so pure about it, stupid as the word is. I love Philip and Syrena, they own my heart.

*spoilers* Interestingly, much like Hylas, Philip was never seen again either. His fate is a bit ambiguous, as he’s injured, likely quite critically, and the above scene is the moment just before he and Syrena kiss and she pulls him into the water. It was established earlier in the movie that a mermaid’s kiss can heal, and she does tell him “I can save you, just ask”, though he doesn’t ask, he says he wants only forgiveness (he blames himself for her capture). She kisses him anyway (get in there, girl!), and the last we see of them is when they float underwater. But I’m positive Philip didn’t die, the reason why neither him nor Syrena appear again is that The Powers That Be decided not to include them in the fifth movie. *end spoilers*

POTC gets a lot of ridicule, which I maintain is unjustified. The movies have everything–adventure, action, a dose of supernatural/horror elements, lots of humour, great characters, one of the most iconic performances ever from Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow–and they always nail their romances. It’s not only Philip and Syrena. Take the fantastic Elizabeth and Will from the first trilogy, and Henry and Carina in the last film. And they don’t take themselves too seriously. Plus, the theme tune is the best.

So. Anyway.

What I wanted to say is:

The resemblance of the Philip and Syrena scene and the Waterhouse painting proves that Pirates of the Caribbean movies are a work of art.

To all you culture snobs out there–go step on Lego!