1917 (2019)

Sam Mendes gives us a tense masterpiece which gives the impression that it is captured in one long shot. Besides pulling off a technical and aesthetic masterpiece, it also serves as a reminder of the horrors of war and how unnecessary it is.

The film is poetry in motion, with crescendos and troughs, it keeps all your senses engaged because you don’t want to miss a thing. The sheer scale and craft will dazzle you, just as the humanity and fear will shake you. Nuanced acting by the principal and supporting cast make it a rich and deep viewing.

You come away from the film not only appreciating the freedoms you enjoy because brave people gave their lives but also contemplate how difficult the conditions were and how quickly you had to move on in grief and loss.

Worthy of all the awards and accolades, this is a bit of world history brought to life from the stories by the director’s grand father Alfred Mendes.

5/5

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Bodyguard (2018)

An officer suffering from PTSD is assigned to the home secretary and follows is all manner of politics, power, lust and terror.

Brilliant performances by Richard Madden, Keeley Hawes and the supporting cast, with tight writing and classic British treatment of avoiding melodrama, it is a tense and unavoidable watch!

Rocketman (2019)

Taron Egerton has a difficult task, to capture both the trauma and talent of Elton John. He does so very well, keeping his own but depicting what we think Elton would be like in his real personal life.

We are given insights in his life changing events, using music and slow-mo which actually leave a mark, etching it in your memory. The supporting cast is perfect, notably Richard Madden as John Reid, Jamie Bell as Bernie Taupin and Bryce Dallas Howard as his mother Sheila Eileen.

The film is engaging and treads the tricky road between emotional ruin and musical genius with great precision. It speaks of the anguish of wanting to be loved and accepted, and losing yourself in addiction as a result of failing to do so. A carnival of feelings, music and costumes!

Cinderella (2015)

An age old tale which was retold by director Kenneth Branagh with a few new twists and turns and some bold Disney moves. Please read bold as code for when the protagonist, Lily James, actually stands up for herself in the most polite and dignified way possible.

Richard Madden, possibly prettier than Cinderella herself plays the role of Prince Charming, with ease. Fairy Godmother Helena Bonham Carter had a blink and miss role, which she did with her usual histrionical flair.

It was Cate Blanchett who walked the tight rope as step mother, who had to show us a new way of being mean. She descends quietly from civility to monstrosity, slowly becoming caricature-like evil. She achieves a new high for couture and nastiness.

The highlights of the film are the magical transformations that Cinderella and her team go through, not to mention the crystal slippers by Swarovski. The film is high on art and aesthetic value with a few warm ‘U’ rated Disney theme messages.

It makes you believe, if only for the duration of the film, that there can be ‘a happily ever after’.

3/5