Oscar Pistorius tearfully apologised to the family of model Reeva Steenkamp on Monday (07Mar14) as he revealed his nightmare world of anti-depressants and sleepless nights since shooting her dead. The embattled South African Paralympian, who is on trial accused of murdering Steenkamp in February last year (13), took to the stand on Monday to begin his defence.
He was weeping as he entered the witness box and was heard saying, "Oh help me God", before launching into an apology to the model's family.
Racked with sobs and barely able to speak coherently, Pistorius told the court, "I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Mr. and Mrs. Steenkamp, to Reeva's family, to those of you who knew her and are here today.
"There hasn't been a moment since this tragedy happened that I haven't thought about your family. I wake up every morning and you're the first people I think of. The first people I pray for. I can't imagine the pain or the sorrow and the emptiness that I've caused you and your family. I was simply trying to protect Reeva. I can promise that when she went to bed that night she felt loved."
Pistorius then revealed he has been taking anti-depressants and sleeping pills since the shooting, adding, "I am scared to sleep... I have terrible nightmares about what happened that night. I wake up and I can smell blood."
Earlier on Monday, Pistorius openly sobbed and retched as pathologist Professor Jan Botha described the effects of gunshots on 29-year-old Steenkamp.
Pistorius, 27, is accused of intentionally gunning down his model girlfriend through a bathroom door at his South African home, but he claims he shot her by accident after mistaking her for an intruder.
He denies one charge of murder and three firearms offences.
Paralympian Oscar Pistorius has branded the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp a "tragic accident" and accused a leading police officer of attempting to destroy him. The track hero pleaded not guilty to one charge of murder and three firearms offences as his trial high-profile began in Johannesburg, South Africa on Monday (03Mar14) after a delay while an Afrikaans translator was found.
It is alleged the gold medal winner gunned down the blonde model during a bust-up in February last year (13), but his lawyers are expected to claim Pistorius thought he was shooting at an intruder.
In an opening statement read out by Pistorius' lawyer, the defendant accuses lead detective Hilton Botha of character assassination by suggesting the couple had been arguing prior to the shooting, insisting, "The state has no basis whatsoever that I intended to take Reeva's life. All the objective evidence will corroborate my version...
"(Botha's) statement was false and designed to falsely incriminate me for premeditated murder. He was in charge of inspecting the scene - it was contaminated. The idea that I wanted to kill Reeva cannot be further from the truth."
The defence also argues that witnesses could not have heard raised voices before Steenkamp's killing as they were too far away.
The trial continues.
Summit via Everett Collection
You can imagine that Renny Harlin, director and one quadrant of the writing team for The Legend of Hercules, began his pitch as such: We'll start with a war, because lots of these things start with wars. It feels like this was the principal maxim behind a good deal of the creative choices in this latest update of the Ancient Greek myth. There are always horse riding scenes. There are generally arena battles. There are CGI lions, when you can afford 'em. Oh, and you've got to have a romantic couple canoodling at the base of a waterfall. Weaving them all together cohesively would be a waste of time — just let the common threads take form in a remarkably shouldered Kellan Lutz and action sequences that transubstantiate abjectly to and fro slow-motion.
But pervading through Lutz's shirtless smirks and accent continuity that calls envy from Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland performance is the obtrusive lack of thought that went into this picture. A proverbial grab bag of "the basics" of the classic epic genre, The Legend of Hercules boasts familiarity over originality. So much so that the filmmakers didn't stop at Hercules mythology... they barely started with it, in fact. There's more Jesus Christ in the character than there is the Ancient Greek demigod, with no lack of Gladiator to keep things moreover relevant. But even more outrageous than the void of imagination in the construct of Hercules' world is its script — a piece so comically dim, thin, and idiotic that you will laugh. So we can't exactly say this is a totally joyless time at the movies.
Summit via Everett Collection
Surrounding Hercules, a character whose arc takes him from being a nice enough strong dude to a nice enough strong dude who kills people and finally owns up to his fate — "Okay, fine, yes, I guess I'm a god" — are a legion of characters whose makeup and motivations are instituted in their opening scenes and never change thereafter. His de facto stepdad, the teeth-baring King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), despises the boy for being a living tribute to his supernatural cuckolding; his half-brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) is the archetypical scheming, neutered, jealous brother figure right down to the facial scar. The dialogue this family of mongoloids tosses around is stunningly brainless, ditto their character beats. Hercules can't understand how a mystical stranger knows his identity, even though he just moments ago exited a packed coliseum chanting his name. Iphicles defies villainy and menace when he threatens his betrothed Hebe (Gaia Weiss), long in love with Hercules, with the terrible fate of "accepting [him] and loving [their] children equally!" And the dad... jeez, that guy must really be proud of his teeth.
With no artistic feat successfully accomplished (or even braved, really) by this movie, we can at the very least call it inoffensive. There is nothing in The Legend of Hercules with which to take issue beyond its dismal intellect, and in a genre especially prone to regressive activity, this is a noteworthy triumph. But you might not have enough energy by the end to award The Legend of Hercules with this superlative. Either because you'll have laughed yourself into a coma at the film's idiocy, or because you'll have lost all strength trying to fend it off.
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