Top Five Christmas Films 2017: Enjoy a New Year's Day session with Titanic


New Year's Day, E4, 7pm.

Director: James Cameron. 194mins. (12a).

17 year old Rose DeWitt-Bucater (Kate Winslet) embarks from Southampton to New York to return to her native Boston, aboard the mighty RMS Titanic, about to set sail on its first voyage.

She will marry her companion, the rich and handsome 30 year old Cal Hockley (Billy Zane) on the wishes of her snobbish mother Ruth (Frances Fisher). Rose wants nothing more than to escape the two of them and the confines of her constrictive life as a society darling.

One night, she tries to commit suicide by jumping off the stern of the ship, but is pulled back by poor artist Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio). They begin a romance that her mother and Cal attempt to crush until Titanic strikes an iceberg.

It becomes apparent the ship will sink and the race is on to survive disaster.

Review by Jason Day

OK, OK, I know what you are thinking.

Titanic - 5/5? With Celine Dion singing the main song?

And Leo and Kate falling in love?

And the old bird, twittering away?!

But bear with me as I persuade you that this is a classy, sublimely perfect, romantic Hollywood epic par excellence...about the horrible deaths of more than a thousand people.

Firstly, it is technically superb, featuring a dazzling mix of CGI, model miniatures, submersible film of the actual Titanic wreck and a near-sized replica of the ship with some exceptionally choreographed stunt work of 'passengers' hurtling to their deaths, captured in wincing, bone crunchingly real sound effects.

Secondly, those performances are superb. From Leonardo DiCaprio's wistful, artistic wastrel, Kate Winslet's winsome but independent society girl and Gloria Stuart's hugely funny, gamey support performance as Winslet's older self, we are seduced into believing that these fictional people could actually have trodden the decks of this infamous, tragic liner.

Thirdly, full kudos to James Cameron, then famous for his epic science fiction blockbusters Terminator (parts 1 & 2), Aliens and The Abyss, for making us believe in the magical nonsense he created to showcase a new interpretation of the most famous maritime disaster of all.

It ain't all perfect (listen to the 'mockney' lookouts and irritatingly prescient talk about Picasso and Freud) and it certainly isn't all factually correct, but what it is is an example of superb, glossy filmmaking in the grand old style of movie maestros.

For more, see the fill review:

Cast & credits
Director: James Cameron. 194mins. 20th Century Fox/Paramount/Lightstorm Entertainment. (12a)
Producers: James Cameron, Jon Landau.
Writer: James Cameron.
Camera: Russell Carpenter.
Music: James Horner.
Sets: Peter Lamont.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Billy Zane, Kathy Bates, Frances Fisher, Glori, a Stuart, Bill Paxton, Bernard Hill, David Warner, Victor Garber, Jonathan Hyde, Suzy Amis, Danny Nucci, Ioan Gruffudd.