Gemma Arterton

REVIEW: Their Finest (2016)

Newly appointed scriptwriter for propaganda films at the Ministry of Information, Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton) joins the cast and crew of a major production aimed to bring “authenticity with optimism” to the public while the Blitz rages on.

Their Finest was a surprise in the best possible way. It’s funny, touching and doesn’t go for clichés like I thought it would. It’s got some brilliant performances, Gemma Arterton is fabulous and Bill Nighy (who plays veteran actor Ambrose Hilliard) is wonderful, watching their relationship grow was lovely to watch.

Their Finest is a film about filmmaking and stories. It’s always nice to put the people who make and write films front and centre and seeing how Catrin and Buckley (Sam Claflin) write a film together, working around obstacles like terrible actors and changes in location was great. While those who know next to nothing about filmmaking will not get lost watching it, the small attention to detail when it comes to filmmaking in the 1940’s is delightful.

There’s always the threat of the Blitz hanging over the characters but they still find the best in a bad situation and it is that good old example of British resolve. Their Finest is also quite a feminist film, Catrin and Phyl (Rachael Stirling) are only getting the chances they have because young men are off fighting but they get to show they are good at what they do and deserve the recognition. Also it features a perfect example of my favourite theme; media being able to inspire those who don’t usually see themselves in media.

Their Finest is a wonderful film that balances comedic romance with period drama. I feel this is pretty much a perfect example of the term “crowd pleaser”. 4/5.

REVIEW: The Voices (2014)

thevoicesposterlargeJerry (Ryan Reynolds) works in a bathtub factory in a small town and just wants to fit in – though hearing his pets talk to him doesn’t really help him much. He becomes interested in his colleague Fiona (Gemma Arterton) but his interest takes a deadly turn and his life spirals out of control as he struggles to deal with the consequences of his actions. His dog Bosco tries to be the voice of reason while his cat Mr. Whiskers encourages Jerry to do evil deeds.

The Voices is a tough film to talk about as it doesn’t really fit any typical genres, it’s a dark comedy but it’s also a horror film and it deals with mental illness too and its tone shifts from one aspect to another within a blink of an eye. Some people will hate that, some will love it – I was one of the later. It’s also a hard film to talk about as it’s hard not to go into spoiler territory – if anything it’s best going into The Voices knowing as little as possible.

Ryan Reynolds is brilliant as Jerry as he manages to balance his dark side with his earnestly wanting to be good. He manages to make a guy who is a killer somewhat sympathetic, which is definitely a weird thing to feel when watching a film about a murderer. I think this is one of Reynold’s best performances to date (I haven’t seen Buried) and it’s something that definitely shows his range.

The Voices also stars Anna Kendrick as Lisa, one of Jerry’s work colleagues who fancies him and she’s incredibly sweet and naïve. Her scenes with Arterton and Reynolds are great and really all three off the main cast bounce off each other really well but this is Reynolds movie.

I can’t not talk about Mr. Whiskers and Bosco – they are both incredibly funny and in the case of Mr. Whiskers enjoys to swear a lot. Their interactions with Jerry are some of the highpoints of the film.

The Voices is funny, dark, weird and stylised. Some will love it, others will hate it. The allusions to mental illness and schizophrenia may rub some people the wrong way but I think it was handled pretty well. The sudden shifts in tone were sometimes jarring but did add to the overall feel of the film. 5/5.

I’ve put the trailer in my review because that’s what I normally do but I’d really recommend not watching it as it does give some surprises away.