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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Vintage Film Review, Charlotte Gray

Synopsis

A young Scottish woman joins the French Resistance during World War II to rescue her Royal Air Force boyfriend who is lost in France.

My Musings

This film had such bad reviews I only watched it out of duress to avoid X Factor. Released in 2001 I can't believe I took this long and it was a revelation. I am not saying that this should have won awards by the bucket load or the reviews were unfounded but they were unfair and maybe at the time expectation was too high.

Cate Blanchett can certainly carry a film, she is luminous in this. Acting as a British spy in occupied France while trying to find her pilot boyfriend who has been shot down, it sees her being drawn into helping the French resistance against the Nazis. Forging a close friendship  with a father and son looking after two Jewish boys it proves a intimacy and growing tension in the film as the net slowly closes around them all.

For a war film it is gently powerful and subtly tense. Billy Crudup who plays the french resistance son and love interest, brings a strong and sensitive performance that is not overshadowed by Cate's dominating presence. The horror of that time is nodded to in the end and left to the viewers imagination which can be more dramatic that showing the aactual events. The weaknesses come from the gaping holes in the plot and the action scenes could have been more dramatic and tense at times. When a group of friends are shot it should have been horrifying but just missed a little on impact for example.

It is beautifully filmed and the camera loves Cate with  more than a nod to the golden age of Hollywood.
This is a film that takes its influence from the old school of film making and in this case it does it justice. This is a film which has certainly stood the test of time against the odds and it is a film to lose yourself for a couple of hours. Definitely worth a watch.