Release Date (UK) – 20 November 2009
Certificate (UK) – 12A
Country – UK
Director – Stephen Poliakoff
Runtime – 129 mins
Starring – Bill Nighy, Romala Garai, David Tennant, Christopher Lee
With such an all star cast it’s easy to see why Stephen Poliakoffs latest drama has got a cinema release, rather than the usual BBC TV two-parters he makes. However his TV style slightly lets down this dramatic period film, as the length and pace feel much more suited to television. Set in 1939 the film looks at the lesser explored side of the British was effort and the Nazi Appeasement and scheming that the British Government used. Bill Nighy plays a senior member of parliament and the film focuses on his family relationships and dramas, in particular focusing on adopted daughter Anne (Garai) who slowly unravels discoveries of how the government are trying to appease Hitler to avoid war.
There is plenty of tension building and it’s an exciting film but the usual Poliakoff dramatic relationships are favoured screen time over the Nazi plot and details so it can be slightly confusing at times. The film is beautifully shot with a studious attention to detail that evokes the period effectively from the music right down to hairstyles. Romala Garai is great in the lead, but it seems she may be being typecast with period drama roles – you may recognize her from Atonement and along with many other cast members she a regular Poliakoff actor. The star cast perform with their usual superb acting, but nothing stands out particularly as they are already all such great standard actors. A sort of crossover between the girly period drama and the boys war film this is a perfect film to take your other half to if you can never normally agree on a film.