Monday, April 24, 2017

Movie Review … Their Finest

Since cinema began, it has been used for a myriad of purposes.  Primarily entertained and informed with the silver screen having a major impact in its early decades.  Based on the novel ‘Their Finest Hour and a Half’ by Lissa Evans, ‘Their Finest’ explores how the medium was used to stir emotions.  Set during World War 2, the way movies were used to convey patriotic messages is something still used in today’s tech-savvy environment.

In the midst of the demoralising London Blitz and the Battle of Britain, the Ministry of Propaganda decide to take matters in their own hands.  Determined to create a morale-boosting movie for its citizens they enlist the services of script-writer Catrin (Gemma Arterton).  Helped by fellow writer Tom (Sam Claflin) and actor Ambrose (Bill Nighy), Catrin has her work cut out.  Attempting to derive positive elements from a deadly conflict, all try to shed light on a war’s grim darkness.

‘Their Finest’ demonstrates what happens when its fullest potential isn’t used.  The central characters are intriguing as is the scenario they are in.  Their efforts in boosting morale at home via film is interesting as is the way they try to boost each other’s morale in times of stress.  It’s fascinating how films made during this era now provide a document to social mores of the era.  Catrin’s strong determination to overcome a sexist environment is also well expressed with Arterton and company giving solid performances.

The problem lies with Lone Scherfig’s uneven direction and muddled script.  Situations are created with potential for interesting character development but are never fully realised.  The tone is uneven with the drama, humour and romance poorly mixed.  This has the effect of failing to allow the viewer to truly invest in what’s happening.  The constant fear of being killed in bombing raids is well done as is the cinematography which effectively captures the daily horror of war in the city.

‘Their Finest’ offers fair viewing if one doesn’t ponder on its short-comings.  The cast do their best with what they’re given and even its imperfections can’t hide cinema’s power cinema.  It shows its ability to change and develop in any era with its tools in sending messages still widely used.

Movie Review Rating out of 10:  6

Movie Review by Patrick Moore

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Patrick Moore's Movie Review is an alternative look at movie releases in Australia.



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