Monday, April 24, 2017

Film Review: Their Finest

Their Finest - 4 and a bit stars

Okay, I am a sucker for English films. A big sucker for English films, but if all films were a bit like this, I think the world would be a much better place.

So Their Finest (released in Britain as "Their Finest Hour and a Half") is a historical comedy set during The Blitz. One Mrs Catrin Cole, from somewhere deep in the valleys of Wales is called up by the Ministry of Information to assist in writing the scripts for their "Keep Calm and Carry On" propaganda films. The film tells the story of a British Ministry of Information film team making a morale-boosting film about the Dunkirk evacuation during the Battle of Britain and the London Blitz.

Okay, Dunkirk, the Battle of Britain. Romantic Comedy. Well, yes - and it works delightfully as we embark on a two hour journey into what it was like to live in through the Blitz and be a part of the spin machine that operates during wartime (Funny, it feels a bit like that now).

The cast are excellent. The film's prtoagonist, Catrin Cole, played by Gemma Arterton is just the right mix of plucky, resolute and fragile and the rather downtrodden screen writer. Her love interest, Buckley, is played with ablomb and a stunningly awful moustache by Sam Claflin - who seems to be doing a great line in playing redeemable arseholes of late (Think Me Without You and The Hunger Games Trilogy.

Stealing the show, in his own inimitable way is Bill Nighy, who plays Bill Nighy. Other notable mentions include Eddie Marsan, who plays Nighy's crotchety manager, and Helen McCrory, who ends up being his manager. Lovely cameo parts which bring warmth and humour into what could have otherwise been a heavy film.

The direction of the film is another of its strengths. Lone Scherfig, who is responsible for wonderful British Films including An Education and One Day. She has a steady hand and knows how to milk the British psyche for its wonderful nuances and failings.

Part farce, part romantic comedy, part look at the horrors of war and just what the British put up with during world war two, I will be recommending this movie for a long time.

I also love it when you have a film that has you doing spit-takes for most of the film only to have you crying buckets for the last ten minutes. (I haven't sobbed like that in ages)

Set in the back streets of London as well as somewhere concocted as "Devon" (it was filmed somewhere off the Welsh Coast) this is a film which you can take your Mum along to and know she's not going to be offended. I know I got out of the cinema and called my Mum, telling her to go and see it.

This is a marvelous film, with just enough lightness to make a war story very human and very enjoyable. It's also a fantastic insight into the propaganda machines which drive our world today.

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