Sunday 1 February 2009
To see Gus Van Sant's gripping and moving account of the political rise and assassination of the gay rights activist Harvey Milk. In just over two hours, Van Sant tells the story of how Milk took on a growing anti-gay movement in 1970s America, using the growing muscle not only of the gay community in San Francisco but also of a surprising group of allies who included the Teamsters and Governor Ronald Reagan, to see off a referendum that could have seen gay people sacked from jobs in public schools and social services. His victory and success also cost him his life. Sean Penn is utterly compelling in the title role of Milk, and were it not for his previous Oscar success and sentimentality over Mickey Rourke, he would surely be the top contender for a Best Actor Oscar this year. In a brilliant year for Hollywood movies, this is another one that has to be seen.