FILM REVIEW: THEIR FINEST (12A)
SHOWCASE CINEMA DE LUX PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW
CAST: GEMMA ARTERTON, SAM CLAFLIN, BILL NIGHY, JACK HUSTON, RACHAEL STIRLING, JEREMY IRONS, EDDIE MARSAN, HELEN McCRORY & RICHARD E GRANT
RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 57 MINS
DIRECTOR: LONE SCHERFIG
Bill Nighy steals the show in this star-studded Dramedy.
We seem to lap up a good British-based war movie, and this comedy-tinted romantic drama – adapted from Lissa Evans’ novel Their Finest Hour and a Half – joins the ranks of recent similar efforts like The Imitation Game, even though it doesn’t take itself quite so seriously.
Set in London during the Second World War, it focuses around the British ministry, who turn to propaganda films to help boost morale, but it soon becomes clear that production could use a female touch – with Gemma Arterton’s (Quantum of Solace) Catrin Cole fitting the bill.
The ministry hires her as a scriptwriter in charge of writing the women’s dialogue to make the movie more believable – and before long her natural talent gets noticed by a witty producer named Buckley (Me Before You’s Sam Claflin).
The two of them end up working together on making an epic feature based on the Dunkirk rescue – starring delicately egocentric actor Ambrose Hilliard (Love Actually’s Bill Nighy) – and as the bombs hail down they (alongside their cast and crew) work tirelessly to make a film that will hopefully warm the hearts of the nation. Despite moments where Arterton and Claflin’s lead characters start to sway towards familiar clichéd territory, the clever script offers one or two nice ‘curveball’ turns (there’s one scene which really stands out) to keep things cooking nicely – and their on-screen chemistry really impresses.
But – as expected – it’s Nighy who steals the show with his effortless demeanour, by delivering some wonderfully witty one-liners while treating the audience to that raised eyebrow he’s made his trademark.
While Their Finest is not the laugh-out-loud film that the marketing will have you believe – it’s more of a slow-burner than you’ll probably expect – when the dialogue is this good, and the cast this amiable, you can easily look past that. And ultimately if you walk into your screening expecting more of a drama than a comedy then you’ll get much more out of it.
Rating: 3.5/5 – Mikey Clarke