My Inspiration – Jessica Mellor (Daily Mirror)

Thursday, August 12 2010
My Inspiration – Jessica Mellor (Daily Mirror)

Once Were Warriors

Having been brought up never to rest on my laurels, I always felt lucky going from court reporter to the Screws (News of the World), first as a PA then as the then video columnist.

But the first time I felt truly privileged doing my job was the day I watched Once Were Warriors.

I reviewed it in the Screws on September 24 1995, and my small but nicely formed review called it ‘realistic, powerful and brutal’ but I needed many more column inches to truly do it justice.

However, although it was just a four paragraph review at the end of my column I did feel that even if one News of the World reader who usually only watches stuff like Top Gun or The Lion King checks out this small but amazing film from New Zealand, because of my review, then I’ve done a little bit of public service.

I also knew from that moment that I wasn’t going to be one of those female critics that steer away from action films or encourage women to be content with romcoms. It also opened me up to world cinema, which has since become a big part of my life – and my collection.

And despite writing for tabloids most of my adult life, I have favoured as many foreign films, low budget British fare and documentaries in my columns as I have mainstream stuff.

This had such an impact on me I would insist pals who borrowed tapes from my ‘home library’ watched this before anything else. Some didn’t thank me for it but the majority did and I think some even changed their opinion of Jess when they knew that their little mate had such a strong stomach for proper drama.

Beautiful, brutal and beguiling, few films that have gone since can match this for emotional intensity and I for one have a lot to thank this mesmerising movie from New Zealand for.

• Jessica Mellor is DVD Editor at the Daily Mirror; her weekly page has always been hugely supportive of our industry and covers titles across the board.

•HMV’s My Inspiration is about the artists, actors and directors we love, sharing with us the lyrics and songs, poetry and dialogue that have inspired them. The journey began in 2006, when David Bowie became the first artist to take part, selecting Syd Barrett’s Gigolo Aunt as his inspiration. Since that time, many of our greatest icons and best new artists from the world of entertainment have featured.

We at the Raygun are asking the UK home entertainment trade for the films, people, or even songs, that inspired them to become part of our business.