Cate Blanchett impresses as a Scottish clerk, who in 1943 goes to France, joins the resistance (led by Billy Crudup) and helps two Jewish boys. Exciting bursts of tough action enliven this routine, slackly paced war-romance.
Despite battling a dodgy ‘Scots’ accent, Cate Blanchett impresses as Charlotte Gray, a Scottish clerk living in London during World War Two, who in 1943 goes to France to rescue her Royal Air Force boyfriend, after he has been shot down. She becomes a courier for the French Resistance, led by Julien Lavade (Billy Crudup), and, with the help of his dad (Michael Gambon), assists two Jewish boys.
Exciting bursts of tough action enliven director Gillian Armstrong’s routine, slackly paced, often dull 2001 British wartime romance movie. Surprisingly, it is all very hollow in places, with the period details seeming strained and none too credible, and it does not even look especially impressive in Dion Beebe’s cinematography.
Anton Lesser over-plays his hand as the lip-smacking villain, and a hammy Gambon is dreadful. More excitement and emotional depth might have been expected from quality director Armstrong’s film of Sebastian Faulks’s prize-winning novel, scripted by Jeremy Brock. It ends up as just another quasi-TV movie.
Also in the cast are Rupert Penry-Jones, James Fleet, Abigail Cruttenden, Charlotte McDougall, Robert Hands, Michael Fitzgerald, Hugh Ross, Martin Oldfield, Nicholas Farrell, Mike Burnside, Gillian Barge, Ron Cook, John Bennett and Helen McCrory.
© Derek Winnert 2017 Classic Movie Review 5208
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