As the winter chill begins to dawn on us, so too has the realisation that we’ve almost completed an entire semester of law school online. Whilst some of us have fully embraced this new reality of lecture recordings and zoom clerkship panels, others are in need of a gentle reminder that law students are destined for more than memes and procrastination. This last edition of ‘How to Feel Better with FAME (Film, Arts, Media and Entertainment) – A Law Student’s Guide to Social Distancing’, features our recommendations for all the best shows, movies and artwork which has inspired or motivated us in our study of the law. 💪✨
If you’re looking for a little pick up to get you through these last couple of weeks of uni, then this is the read for you.
Batman Arkham Series: Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One.
Image Credit: Poster for Batman Arkham from Gadget360
A series of four games (with various iOS additions and the like) released across 2009 to 2015 by Rocksteady and WB, this series was pretty pioneering in its establishment of the trend of free-flow combat. Paul Dini wrote the first two – so, if you loved Batman: The Animated Series, you’ll love these, and vice-versa. My personal faves are the second and the fourth – Arkham City and Arkham Knight – which host completely gripping storylines making them less combat-heavy and more like watching Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy for 60-odd hours. Pretty awesome.
One could say Batman is legally bound by his own enforced “moral code” (yes, that is very deliberately placed into quotes) and this is explored, questioned, and stretched across these games. The intersection of questions of justice, vigilantism, anarchy, and mortality tap into the philosophical questions posed historically across the Caped Crusader’s anthology. Of course, the quality of the game is helped immensely by the sheer brilliance in the voice acting – notably, Mark Hammil reprising his role as the Joker. The graphics and world design also surpass any and all expectations for a game released 11 years ago.
The first game, Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) follows Batman trying to prevent the Joker from destroying Gotham City after he takes control of the Asylum and those within (a delightful collection of past foes). Arkham City (2011) takes place a year later, after Professor Hugo Strange has enclosed an abandoned part of the city and turned it into a massive asylum. While slowly dying from an illness inflicted by the Joker (ofc), Batman must escape his incarceration and uncover Strange’s scheme ‘Protocol 10’. Look out for the Ra’s Al Ghul boss battle – it is epic.
Arkham Origins (2013) is a prequel to Arkham Asylum, and look, to be honest, you could probably skip this one, so I will too.
The series is then concluded with Arkham Knight (2015), positioned nine months after the events of Arkham City. The Scarecrow and the mysterious Arkham Knight have seized control of Gotham in a ploy to destroy Batman physically and mentally, once and for all…
By Coco Garner Davis
Eve Cornwell Vlogs: Streaming on YouTube
Most people, including law students, tend to see lawyers as more than human and are oh-so-capable at everything simply by virtue of their profession. In the current crisis, it can be comforting to know that lawyers, like us, are also struggling to adjust to new working conditions.
Eve Cornwell is a law graduate from the University of Bristol. She is currently completing her training contract with Linklaters London and is an up-and-coming creator on YouTube. She centers her content around her experience as a law student and a trainee solicitor, and has dabbled in the representation of law in pop culture. Her videos range from tours of the Linklaters London offices, to vlogs of her stressful journey applying for vacation schemes.
In these particular videos, we get a glimpse into what it was like for a trainee solicitor to move into an online working and learning environment, and the difficulties that came along with it. While the content itself is comedic in nature, the struggle was definitely real.
In these stressful times, although there are deadlines to keep in mind, it is important to take a step back once in a while and look out for yourself. Do what you need to do and get it done; but go at a pace that is comfortable for your circumstances
By Dion Leow
Primal Fear: Streaming on Netflix
Image credit: Edward Norton (left) and Richard Gere (right) in Primal Fear from Amazon Prime
(Content Warning) – sexual abuse and murder
An eclectic and gripping 90’s classic. This film showcases Richard Gere as the hot-shot attorney seeking pro-bono stardom by winning the impossible case of the year. Based on a novel by William Diehl, this is a story of a lawyer who is bound to the law’s maxim of ‘innocent until proven guilty’.
A young teenager named Aaron Stampler (played by Edward Norton) is arrested over the violent murder of the archbishop of Chicago. Throughout the entire film we see more and more evidence giving motive for the boy’s action, but Martin Vail (the attorney) can’t bring himself to believe that the damaged Kentucky kid did it.
This film has one of the biggest twists of the 90’s and features astounding performances from several familiar (and young) faces of Hollywood today. For these two reasons alone it is worth a watch.
By Matt Healy
Daredevil: Streaming on Netflix
Image Credit: Daredevil Poster from Techspot
Looking for something to distract from the post Zoom blues? May I offer Marvel’s Daredevil. Live vicariously through Matt Murdock (lawyer-by-day; badass-by-night) as he fights crime in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen. Blinded as a young boy, Murdock must now uncover a conspiracy of the criminal underworld with nothing but his heightened senses and intuition.
Whether you’re partial to comic book thrills or shirtless people performing breathtaking fight choreography; Daredevil has it all. As law students, you might also enjoy the glimpse into both ends of the advocacy spectrum afforded by the show. Either way, it’s a better show to binge than How I Met Your Mother for the sixth time (guilty).
By Caiti Galwey
Dark Waters: Streaming on Amazon Prime
Image Credit: Mark Ruffalo as Attorney Robert Billot in Dark Waters from Empire
Featuring Mark Ruffalo and Anne Hathaway, the true story of which Dark Waters is based on has stark parallels to the water crisis in current day Flint Michigan, with Ruffalo’s character drawing parallels to many of us pursuing a legal profession. Adapted from the ground breaking New York Times magazine article by Nathaniel Rich, this movie is a mix between a satisfying legal thriller and The Blind Side 2.0.
Ruffalo plays a tired corporate attorney who has sold the last prosperous years of his legal career representing big powerful companies. When an ordinary farmer approaches him with a conspiracy theory involving toxic chemicals and a poisoned town, Ruffalo can’t resist the chance for redemption. His decision eventually leads to one of the longest ongoing environmental suits in the United States.
The movie does an incredibly good job of highlighting what we all know about the legal profession. Its portrayal of an overwhelming imbalance between exhausting procedural intricacies and heartening small wins does well to showcase the reality of public interest law, or as The Atlantic described it, the chilling tale of corporate indifference.
Knock Down the House: Streaming on Netflix
Image Credit: Knock Down the House Poster from Awards Daily
For those few unlucky souls who follow me on social media, it is unlikely you don’t already know about my unhealthy obsession with the bartending, Instagram live streaming, Mark Zukerburg silencing, big corporation fighting, Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or otherwise known as AOC. That’s why my recommendation of Knock Down the House, documenting her grassroots campaign and political journey to the White House, will be of no surprise. The doco follows AOC (before she was on anyone’s radar) and four other incredible non-career female politicians, each with an inspiring back story, a seemingly unbeatable opponent and a progressive platform. Do yourself a favour and give it a watch. Their stories are the light, tears and laughter that we all need amidst a very dark time in US politics right now. Brb, going to have a cry.
Chrissy’s Court: Streaming on Quibi
Image Credit: Chrissy Tiegan for Chrissy’s Court from Pedestrian
If you don’t know of Quibi yet, you heard it here first! As the newest addition the streaming wars, Quibi is a mobile optimised online streaming platform. It stands for ‘quick bites’ and it has certainly been delivering just that with its content. Episodes of shows on Quibi are limited to 10 minutes or less — optimized for a generation of viewers with an average attention span of 4minutes and 20 seconds (thanks David Dobrik) and instant gratification.
Chrissy’s Court is one of the hilariously cringey new reality series on Quibi. The format of this show will be no surprise to many of us who grew up having a childhood crush on Judge Judy (no? just me?). Watch Chrissy and her mum Pepper, as they take the power of the law in their own hands, solving qualms and quabbles one at a time. There is no issue too small for Chrissy’s Court, in fact, the more frivolous and trivial, the better. From a lover’s quarrel to a food based rap battle, there are plenty of interesting characters looking for some extremely unqualified and 100% legally binding judgments. Just like on her Twitter, Chrissy Tiegan can do no wrong.
By Delinna Ding
Steaphan Paton (born 1985) is a Melbourne-based artist and member of the Gunai and Monero Nations. He works in the mediums of painting, sculpture, installation and video. I first came across his work at the Sovereignty exhibition at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in 2016-17, and I recall his installation of three cloaks often.
Featured works: Yours Faithfully the Sheriff, The Magistrate, The Officer in Charge (all 2016, paper, archival glue, oil pastel and synthetic polymer paint on canvas) Installation view, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne. Photograph by Andrew Curtis (cropped). Image from ACCA.
The cloaks are made of many paper documents pieced and sewn together – infringements, fines and letters of demand sent to the artist by different authorities, including sheriffs, magistrates and officers. By referencing the long-standing tradition of cloak-making, decorated with geometric designs from his Gunai and Monero heritage, Paton displays symbols of Indigenous identity in immediate confrontation with the exercise of disciplinary control by the government. His work makes a powerful comment on the way Indigenous lives are bound by assertions of Commonwealth authority; confined by overwhelming piles of legal documents seeking to control and punish. His expression of culture and Indigenous sovereignty is both formed and curtailed by Western hegemony.
Check out more of Steaphan Paton’s work here.
By Reetika Khanna