Having moaned in my last post about how weary I'd become of watching WW2 films, here comes another one. I'd been under the impression from what I'd read, as well as from the trailer, that this would be a lighter take on the subject of the war, and it is, in fact, a refreshingly different one. However, despite a number of gently comic moments, I wasn't expecting the central romance to be quite so dominant in the storyline, and that did tend to dull my appreciations. If I'd been in a more generously receptive mood I might have valued the film more.
It's the early 1940s following the Dunkirk evacuation and the London blitz is ongoing, when the order goes out from Churchill's war cabinet to create a propaganda film showing British stiff upper lip, doughty determination and resistance against the Nazi onslaught. as well as depicting active participation by ally USA in the struggle to make that involvement more palatable to an American audience.
Gemma Arterton plays a scriptwriter who is drafted in to assist with the film, working with others including Sam Claflin (a name I didn't recognise but discovered that he'd been in 'The Hunger Games' films). Their initial working relationship is a testy one, though you can guess the direction in which it's going to go. The mindset of the company is that the assistance of women is only needed because most of the men are away fighting. But once the war is over........
Bill Nighy plays one of the actors in the film-within-the-film, a droll presence and, for me, always a welcome one despite his ever seeming to play the same character no matter in which film he appears. This is a more substantial part than we normally see him playing, though still on the 'bitty' side. He delivers lines desiccated in their dryness as only he can.
Also in the cast, in a much smaller role, is the fine Eddie Marsan, as well as Richard E.Grant as the surly, overseeing figure ensuring that the final product comes up to government requirements. In addition, in an uncredited, one scene, cameo role is Jeremy Irons, puling out all the stops.
The film deals with the tribulations of the film crew as they try to get their film accomplished while bombs are raining on London, the effects of which are, of course, devastating to both property and to lives. Meanwhile the romance between Arterton and Claflin plays out, which I must say I found a distracting nuisance, and much less entertaining than the trials of their film-making.
The film is mainly shot in near-black and white, with scenes in sepia tint, as has become conventional now for war films. But we eventually do see full technicolour near the finish, in brief excerpts from the completed propaganda film.
Danish director Lone Sherfig manages okay with her material. She did give us the very commendable 'An Education' in 2009, a film to which I awarded a rare '8'.
I'm certain that most others will have a better opinion of 'Their Finest ' than I can muster. Maybe my mood wasn't at the right setting from the start. As it turned out I did find it all a bit of a drag...........................5.5.
4 hours ago