Glorious 39 Reviews
I found the buildup very atmospheric, but the film explores some dark territory, a bit like Poliakoff's earlier "Capturing Mary", and if you are a cat person like myself, you might be distressed by what happens to Britain's pets at the end (it's war, you see, and arrangements had to be made.)
The cast is quite impressive, though a couple of the British stars get killed quite early (I'm not saying who.) Bill Nighy was particularly good as Garai's father, more subtle than in most of the films I've seen him in.
The ending was a bit of a letdown: as the film had a dreamlike quality to it, I expected a twist a la "The Others" or "The Sixth Sense", which didn't come.
It's a bit shit, basically.
Set on the brink of WWII, Glorious 39 tells the story of Anne Keyes (Romola Garai)the adopted daughter of an English aristocrat and politician (Bill Nighy). She has a modestly successful career as an actress, and lives a comfortable and happy life with her beloved brother & sister (Eddie Redmayne & Juno Temple). That is until she stumbles across some recordings being stored by the government on her family's property, and before she knows it she has unravelled a political plot, that sinks her further into harms way and rapidly isolates her from the people she loves.
Glorious 39 is a hard film to review, because my generous score is a rather selfish one, that many of you may not agree with when you come to see it for yourselves. It was all about likability you see. This receives only a 48% fresh rating here on RT and, to an extent I understand why. The story is original, but the plot goes off on tangents and the overall narrative and atmosphere begins to clunk as we near the conclusion, which in itself is actually rather of a disappointment. By most of your standards, you would call it a rather average film.
However, every so often a film comes along that, despite script or plot, performace or craft, drags you right into it's core and you become completely engrossed and compelled by the story and the characters that are unfolding and interacting in front of you. There is no guessing why this is, but the likability factor kicks in and you are suddenly enjoying yourself. That is the best way for me to describe my experience of Glorious 39.
Despite it's shortcomings, it has a great sense of style, an original and IMHO compelling story, led by a relatable lead who you can't help but root for. It's has spotless slick 30's style and great performances, and has a slight feel of an early Hitchcock. It is a flawed film, that watched with low expectations and an open mind, could be a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable ride.
Summary - 8.0 - A weak ending and a few narrative shortcomings may put some off, but a riveting build up, excellent cast, and great sense of style and urgency make this an enjoyable and engaging, yet low-key thriller for those with an open mind. Not quite glorious, but a pretty fine effort.