Belfast Telegraph

Home Life Features

DVD: Nighy serves up a fine masterclass in wartime comedy

 

During the Second World War, Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton, right, with Bill Nighy) financially supports her painter husband Ellis (Jack Huston) by taking a paid position as a secretary at the British Ministry of Information, which produces propaganda to buoy up the nation's spirits.

Their Finest

(Cert 12, 118 mins)

Four Stars

Roger Swain (Richard E Grant) heads up the film division and he entreats scriptwriters Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin) and Raymond Parfitt (Paul Ritter) to unearth a true story of wartime heroism.

The real-life rescue of wounded British soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk by twin sisters using their father's boat is just the ticket.

Catrin is asked to pen the female characters' dialogue and she toils alongside Tom and Raymond to give voice to the sisters while the cast, including theatrical ham Ambrose Hilliard (Bill Nighy), ensure their upper lips are stiff for the cameras.

Their Finest is an exceedingly fine wartime comedy, which drafts frothy drama and heart-tugging romance into active service.

Inveterate scene-stealer Nighy gives another masterclass in deadpan delivery and arched eyebrows while Arterton is a delightful foil, banging a drum for gender equality in the face of chauvinist condescension.

Director Lone Scherfig's picture is a sweet and charming confection, with a full conscription of reliable cliches to keep the cinematic fires burning.

Damon Smith

Unforgettable

(Cert 15, 100 mins)

Two Stars

San Francisco-based online editor Julia Banks (Rosario Dawson, with Katherine Heigl inset) has escaped her troubled past with the support of sassy best friend, Ali (Whitney Cummings). Sheltered from a violent old flame (Simon Kassianides) by a restraining order, Julia thinks she has found the perfect replacement in divorced father David Connover (Geoff Stults).

Julia transplants her life across the country to be with David and his young daughter, Lily (Isabella Rice). David's ex-wife Tessa (Katherine Heigl) is still heavily involved in raising their child.

Julia's discomfort intensifies when it becomes apparent that Tessa still adores her ex-husband and intends to win back David in order to appease her iron-fisted mother (Cheryl Ladd).

Unforgettable is a trashy psychological thriller, made to a tried and tested recipe from a bygone era, when perfectly coiffed anti-heroines were hell-bent on destroying picture-perfect families.

Dawson and Heigl aren't stretched in two-dimensional roles, the latter eliciting pantomime boos as her "psycho Barbie" takes out her frustration on knots in her daughter's flowing locks.

The final showdown is a hoot for the wrong reasons including some ill-advised dialogue in the throes of death and a cliffhanger tease usually reserved for TV soap operas. Hell hath no fury like a mentally unstable, hair-obsessed ex-wife scorned.

Damon Smith

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph