UKRAINE HUMANITARIAN APPEAL fund raising event. All proceeds after costs will go to the Disasters Emergency Committee.
Fake news did not start with the Trump era. Mr Jones, set in 1933, is the story of a Welsh journalist who exposed the Holodomor, a famine caused by Stalin’s agricultural policies in which up to 10 million people died. Jones was accused of being a liar by those with an interest in hushing it up.
James Norton is terrific as Gareth Jones, a teetotal, Russian-speaking Cambridge scholar from Barry, south Wales. Jones was a lucky reporter – he made his name after finding himself on an aeroplane with Adolf Hitler, and in possession of an exclusive interview. In the film, directed by Poland’s Agnieszka Holland, Jones goes to Moscow, ostensibly to try to interview Joseph Stalin too, but he follows his journalist’s nose for a story to slip into Ukraine, where reporters were banned. “Everywhere there is the cry, there is no bread. We are dying,” Jones would later report of his shocking experiences of the starvation he encountered.
Mr Jones has a Hollywood-friendly cast to play the trio of lead characters – James Norton, Vanessa Kirby as reporter Ada Brooks and Peter Sarsgaard as Walter Duranty, the British-born Moscow editor of the New York Times, who spits out contempt and cut-glass English vowels with every line. Director Agnieszka Holland– an Oscar nominee for 1990’s Europa Europa, and whose recent credits include episodes of The Wire – doesn’t move Mr Jones along quickly. Unless that is, she’s artificially speeding up the trains and bicycles bearing Jones’s breaking news, or the man himself, a figure in black running through a stark white palette of Ukrainian snow. It’s like he’s entered a horror film – which at this point, he has.