Belfast Telegraph

Swallows and Amazons: Kids flying high in a gentle yarn

By Damon Smith

While her husband is away at sea on a naval destroyer, Mrs Walker (Kelly Macdonald) spirits her four children - John (Dane Hughes), Susan (Orla Hill), Tatty (Teddie-Rose Malleson-Allen) and Roger (Bobby McCulloch) - away for the summer break to stay with farmer Mr Jackson (Harry Enfield) and his wife (Jessica Hynes).

En route, the children have a close encounter with James Turner (Rafe Spall), who is being chased on their train by a man called Lazlo (Andrew Scott). Turner escapes and the children subsequently conclude he must be a pirate and christen him Captain Flint after one of their favourite characters in Treasure Island.

Once the brood arrives at the Jacksons' farm, the children persuade their mother to allow them to sail over to an island and camp.

The journey is fraught with sibling rivalry and eldest John considers quitting. Once they set up camp, they discover the island already claimed by Nancy Blackett (Seren Hawkes) and sister Peggy (Hannah Jayne Thorp), who call themselves the Amazons.

Meanwhile, Lazlo tracks down Turner to a houseboat and prepares to snare his prey.

The film maintains a gentle pace, anchored by solid performances from the young cast.

Three stars

Belfast Telegraph


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