Their Finest (2017)

Director: Lone Scherfig

Writer: Gaby Chiappe (Screenplay) Lissa Evans (Novel)

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Sam Claflin, Bill Nighy, Jack Huston, Paul Ritter, Rachael Stirling, Richard E Grant, Jeremy Irons

 

Plot: A former secretary, newly appointed as a scriptwriter for propaganda films, joins the cast and crew of a major production while the Blitz rages around them.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Charming War Time Story

 

Story: Their Finest starts in the middle of World War II England, Catrin Cole (Arterton) takes a job on what she thought was a secretary role but it turns out to be a scriptwriter role for propaganda films to show how important the women were during the war.

Getting hired with a story about twin women that help in the Dunkirk rescue, the film must go on with Tom Buckley (Claflin) leading the writing, it turns into a battle between the two to show the strength of the women instead of the male hero in film. Full of himself actor Ambrose Hilliard (Nighy) is hired to the film and continues the clash between the genders but can this film inspire the way it is meant to?

When the Secretary of War (Irons) hears about the film, he commissions the inclusion of an American to help sell the war effort to America and how the everyday person is willing to fight and now the film is ready to be shot.

 

Thoughts on Their Finest

 

Characters/PerformanceCatrin is a secretary who finds herself working on propaganda scripts during World War II. She makes an impact on the film making process by bring forward a story of two brave women who tried to help in Dunkirk. This is a strong minded leading lady who doesn’t want to let the men in her life control her. Tom Buckley is the lead scriptwriter that clashes with Catrin before seeing the potential in the story and offers the chance to be a love interest for Catrin through the movie making process. Ambrose Hilliard is the big-name actor the studio always goes for, he is reluctant to take the film offer but soon learns what he can offer the production.

Performance wise, Gemma Arterton is great in the leading role showing she can take the roles that are around the strong women characters. Sam Claflin is also great in his role getting away from the early career where I often wondered if he could be a leading star. Bill Nighy gets to have a lot of fun in his role where he also gets the serious moments down too.

StoryThe story of how the film world wanted to inspire people to continue the fight against the Germans during World War II, this side of the story I found very interesting, I did also like the idea of trying to show the importance of women during the war and just how this film being made was to show this. What I found slightly frustrating was what felt like the tagged in romance side of the film which at times felt very forced.

Comedy/Romance/WarThe comedy works to the levels they need to without being a laugh a moment, the romance side of the film as I previously said felt forced with the war side of the film being very important to see how the nation was being effected by the conflict.

SettingsThe settings show the Britain during World War II, we see the destruction aftermath from the bombings and the struggles the people went through during the war.

Final ThoughtsThis is one for all the history fans out there, we get to see how an idea of a movie could give people hope during a time where people could feel hopeless. The film making process has been done before and sure we can enjoy this side of everything but the strong minded leading woman is always going to be a draw as we keep looking back to see just how important they were during the war effort.

 

Overall: One for all the people that enjoy a good charming film.

Rating

 

 

Zulu (1964)

zluDirector: Cy Endfield

Writer: John Prebble, Cy Endfield (Screenplay) John Prebble (Article)

Starring: Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins, Ula Jacobsson, James Booth, Michael Caine, Nigel Green

 

Plot: Outnumbered British soldiers do battle with Zulu warriors at Rorke’s Drift.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Classic Story of Heroism

 

Story: Zulu starts as we see the aftermath of one of the Zulu warrior’s attacks on the British military post before we see how Otto Witt (Hawkins) and his daughter Margareta (Jacobsson) is trying to discuss peace. He learns that the Zulu warriors are about to attack the Rourke’s Drift post one of the strongest military posts the British have.

When Lieutenant Chard (Baker) arrives at Rourke’s Drift to help construct a bridge he clashes with LT Bromhead (Caine). As the Zulu approach the military post Chard and Bromhead clash on defensive techniques in what is the story of 4000 Zulu warriors against a mere 140 British soldiers in what is one of the most famous battles in military history.

 

Thoughts on Zulu

 

StoryThe story is easy to follow but when you look at history you are left to wonder (without doing research) why the British were at war with the Zulu’s in the first place. The story only shows one epic battle that the British actually won against what seemed like impossible odds at the time.

History/WarWhen you look through the history books we have seen the British have been involved in many wars but this one could well be one of the greatest victories against the odds in our military history.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are based on the real men who were fighting in the battle of Rourke’s Drift in what is considered a battle for true heroism. The performances are all great throughout the film showing how organised the British soldiers once were when it came to battle for King and country.

SettingsLooking at the settings we see they used South Africa as the main setting which makes us understand the climate and condition the soldiers would have had to fight under.

Final ThoughtsThis will always be one of the classic war films that shows just how the British managed to overcome the impossible odds, we get to understand the military decisions being made throughout which makes this one of the greatest of all time.

 

Overall: Classic that will always be considered one of the greatest.

Ratingcard

 

 

The Killing Fields (1984)

killingDirector: Roland Joffe

Writer: Bruce Robinson (Screenplay)

Starring: Sam Waterston, Haing S Ngor, John Malkovich, Julian Sands, Craig T Nelson, Spalding Gray

 

Plot: A journalist is trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot’s bloody “Year Zero” cleansing campaign, which claimed the lives of two million “undesirable” civilians.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Important Moment in History

 

Story: The Killing Fields starts in Cambodia 1973 when New York reporter Sydney Schanberg (Waterston) arrives in the war-torn country to meet his representative and friend Dith Pran (Ngor) who shows him around the country. When the war gets to a new level of danger the American’s are leaving the country but Sydney wants to stay to cover the atrocities going on in the country but Dith refuses to leave his side even after Sydney gets his family out of the warzone.

Staying behind Sydney, Dith, Al Rockoff (Malkovich) and Jon Swain (Sands) continue to report the atrocities around Cambodia for the news around the world where they will end up having to experience things no one on Earth should ever have to get through.

 

Thoughts on The Killing Fields

 

StoryThe story mostly shows how on local had to survive to get out of the Cambodia before he becomes a victim of the war between Cambodia and Vietnam. We do also have a look at how the reporters are seeing what is going on but they get safe leading to the American’s wanting to help their friends while he survives what is going on. This is shocking story that will leave you in shock, fear and moments of tears in the final outcome.

Biography/History/WarThis film is very important because of what happened in Cambodia and how the people were treated, with this we get to see a time in history which will need to be seen to understand what they went through.

Characters/PerformanceWith each character based on the real people it is hard to look at what we think of the character’s action they take and experiences they must go through. Looking at the performances you can see just how brilliant they all were through the film with Ngor stealing the show.

SettingsEach setting shows us just how horrific the situation in Cambodia was and how if effected anyone involved in the devastation of the war.

Final ThoughtsThis is a hard film to get through because of the subject matter and I can see plenty of people not wanting to see it but this is also essential viewing for any historical film fans.

 

Overall: One of the hardest films to watch but also one of the greatest films to see.

Ratingcard

 

 

Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

kingDirector: Ridley Scott

Writer: William Monahan (Screenplay)

Starring: Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Liam Neeson, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Brendan Gleeson, Maron Csokas, Edward Norton

 

Plot: Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the crusades of the 12th century, and there he finds himself as the defender of the city and its people.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Long History Lesson

 

Story: Kingdom of Heaven starts as we meet Balian (Bloom) a blacksmith whose wife has committed the ultimate sin, suicide. When his father the great warrior Godfrey de Ibelin (Neeson) arrives offering to take him to the promise land of Jerusalem to become a warrior he takes the chance to escape the past which is haunting him. When his father dies, he must continue on without him across the seas and the dessert.

Arriving in Jerusalem Balian must start to find his faith once again in a town where prays can be had by any religion un the strict leadership of King Baldwin (Norton). Balian finds himself having to lead the armies of Baldwin as he finds himself in the middle of a religious war during the crusades.

Kingdom of Heaven gives us the story of the battle for Jerusalem during the crusades, I am not good with all my history so most of this I had no idea before watching which made this film all the more difficult to understand what was going on. The battles sequences all come off very well without being wow.

The performance all seem to be what you would expect from the stars involved with the elder being good for their smaller roles and Bloom struggle to be the leading man. In the end this feel just like all the other historical war films with nothing special about what is going on really.

 

Overall: Overly long history lesson that we didn’t need to know.

Ratingcard

 

 

Dad’s Army (2016)

dasDirector: Oliver Parker

Writer: Hamish McColl (Screenplay) David Croft, Jimmy Perry (Original Series)

Starring: Toby Jones, Michael Gambon, Bill Nighy, Blake Harrison, Tom Courtenay, Bill Paterson, Catherine Zeta-Jones

 

Plot: The Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard platoon deal with a visiting female journalist and a German spy as World War II draws to its conclusion.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Insultingly Bad

 

Story: Dad’s Army starts as World War II could have been lost when a carrier pigeon is released from London but we move to Walmington-on-Sea as we meet the Home Guards, there is Captain George Mainwaring (Jones), Walker (Mays), Frank Pike (Harrison), Godfrey (Gambon), Arthur Wilson (Nighy), Frazer (Paterson) and Jones (Courtenay) who are preparing for any invasion.

With journalist Rose Winters (Zeta-Jones) arriving in town to report on the Home Guards we learn her truth motive and the unlikely heroes must show their real skills.

 

Thoughts on Dad’s Army

 

StoryI am a big fan of the sitcom and the mishaps the home guards must go through, this story is so insulting to what the sitcom was we are left with a flat story that has ruined the much-loved character for no reason what so ever.

Comedy/WarThis should be a comedy, it is not, but the war based side of this story works well enough.

Characters/PerformanceThe characters are easily the most popular British sitcom character but this films turns them into laughing stocks not understanding where the comedy comes from characters except Godfrey. These actors don’t know how to re-create the comedy struggling to reach any of the levels they need to reach.

SettingsThe setting looks well re-created and might be the only thing the film gets right.

Final ThoughtsThis is easily the biggest insult from British cinema trying to re-capture the fun of a sitcom which was near perfect.

 

Overall: How did I get through this pathetic attempt that only butchers the source material.

Rating5