Streaming highlights: August 28 to September 3: Dark Money, High Score & Dog Doc

IN DEEP: Max Fincham plays Isaac Mensah in the emotional drama Dark Money.
IN DEEP: Max Fincham plays Isaac Mensah in the emotional drama Dark Money.



BRITISH drama Dark Money asks the impossible question, how much does silence cost, particularly when the powerless are up against the powerful? But, perhaps, the more poignant question raised across the mini-series' four episodes is, does the guilt ever subside?

Dark Money is the horribly believable story about a black British teenager, Isaac Mensah, who is sexually abused by a Hollywood producer while working on a blockbuster film the US. On his return his family throw a party in their council estate home, but Isaac withdraws to his bedroom. After some prodding he reveals to his parents that he was molested in the US and he has a video recording on his phone.

After a solicitor advises Isaac's parents that litigation would be expensive because the abuse occurred in the US, they meet with the producer's lawyers. The Mensahs are offered 3 million pounds if they sign a disclosure statement, but the offer is only available for five minutes.

Due to their mounting debts the Mensahs agree to the terms and Isaac's father is shown a year later living in a luxury family home but racked with guilt and anger.

Some of the child acting and dialogue is clunky, but you cannot fault the performances of Isaac's parents Babou Ceesay and Jill Halfpenny, who intensely feel their son's trauma and bring the shared grief of the family to life. Dark Money raises many questions which are difficult to answer.



GAME-CHANGER: Nintendo's best-loved character Mario in High Score.

GAME-CHANGER: Nintendo's best-loved character Mario in High Score.

IT'S difficult to believe there was a time when video games were suddenly uncool for kids. So much so that it precipitated the great video game crash of 1983, or Atari shock, when sales in home consoles plummeted from US$3.2 billion to $100 million in two years.

This is one of the most interesting tales from the six-part series High Score. Much like Netflix's The Toys That Made Us series, High Score is a nostalgic journey aimed at people who grew up in the '70s through to the '90s about how iconic video game characters like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Mario came to life.

We meet the programmers behind the games like Space Invaders creator Tomohiro Nishikado, and Howard Scott Warshaw, who made the ill-fated E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Atari game in five weeks at the behest of director Stephen Spielberg. ET is often cited as the worst video game ever and partly blamed for the 1983 crash.

High Score is also beautifully filmed, combining archival footage, fresh interviews and colourful graphics to keep the narrative engaging and informative.

However, if you aren't passionate about video games you might wanna hit the skip button.

Dog Doc: What can they do for Waffles, an adopted dog with health problems.

Dog Doc: What can they do for Waffles, an adopted dog with health problems.



Director Cindy Meehl knows how to tell an animal story, that's for sure. Her 2009 documentary Buck, about a horse whisperer in the American West, was outstanding.

In Dog Doc, she's turned her attention to a alternative veterinary clinic (Smith Ridge) in upstate New York that features a team of doctors who focus on "integrative veterinary medicine" with strategies such as vitamin C injections to treat cancer, cryosurgery for tumours, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture and natural diet supplements.

The clinic's head vet, Dr Marty Goldstein, is a real engaging character, and his staff are delightful. One telling sequence shows Goldstein addressing young vet students at his alma mater (Cornell University), inviting them to change the direction of their field.

The film follows a few case studies, and the camera's capture of the dogs, particularly their eyes, is quite emotional.

The movie is fresh, still screening in the US, after debuting at the Tribeca Film Festival last year.

This story Dark Money doesn't buy happiness for traumatised family first appeared on Newcastle Herald.