THE infamous story of 29-year-old TV news reporter Christine Chubbuck has gone on to spark not one but two films about her life and, more specifically, her suicide on live television in the summer of 1974.

Last year we had the part documentary, dramatized re-enactment Kate Plays Christine which saw actress Kate Lyn Sheil attempt to get inside the mindsight (and physical appearance) of a woman who would ultimately choose to shoot herself on the air.

This is a more straightforward but no less affecting film that focuses on Christine’s (Rebecca Hall) day-to-day time as a reporter in Sarasota, Florida. She does her best to tell stories she feels matter while becoming increasingly frustrated by the sensationalism that has crept into the business and her channel in particular as it struggles to compete in the ratings.

There are certain script issues which speaks to scriptwriter Craig Shilowhich’s first-time effort, not least a meandering quality to some of the subplots, particularly one involving Christine’s co-worker George (Michael C Hall) wanting to date her that feels unneeded in the larger scope of the picture.

But it’s significantly elevated by a kind of low-key intensity in the direction by Antonio Campos (Simon Killer, Afterschool), as well as Hall’s truly captivating and poignant central performance. Hall plays her with more than just a woman-on-the-edge conventionality, bringing pathos and complexity to a determined but deeply troubled human being.

The “if it bleeds – it leads” mantra that so informed the sensationalism-themed Nightcrawler (a strange companion piece to this film in many ways) and relayed to her team by her no-nonsense boss Michael (Tracy Letts) infuriated Christine more than anything, the inhumanity of it for the sake of viewership compounding her fragile state of depression and anxiety.

Christine’s notorious final words were: “In keeping with Channel 40’s policy of bringing you the latest in ‘blood and guts’, and in living colour, you are going to see another first – attempted suicide.” Would you look away? It’s an uncomfortable question that this disquieting film isn’t afraid to ask with stark, haunting clarity backed up with empathy and understanding. 4/5