EIFF 2014 – Day 2

Jun 21, 2014 | Posted by in Edi Int Film Festival, Movies

My second day involved me going to two Press and Industry screenings, both of which made me sign a review embargo that takes hold until Monday, I’ll put a brief summaries of the movies below and update this post on Monday once embargo as been lifted. The screenings I attended were the Giles MacKinnon directed Castles in the Sky starring Eddie Izzard and the Andy Goddard directed Set Fire to the Stars starring Elijah Wood.

Castles in the Sky

This film chronicles the story of Robert Watson-Watt (Eddie Izzard) and his team as they use all of their intelligence and skill to invent the radar which helps turn the tide of World War 2 and in particular the battle of Britain.

The film was pretty light in terms of World War 2 action, most of which came in grainy stock footage but it was a very good story that was really well acted. Eddie Izzard does a great job as Robert Watson Watt. Another highlight for me came from Celyn Jones’ Taffy. The film wasn’t a stranger to humour with a good amount of humour peppering the script such as talk of building a death ray as well as the general ridiculousness of what was involved to get the equipment they needed to make this work. One thing the film does exceptionally well is not glossing over the historical significance of what was achieved by inventing the radar. Something that The Monuments Men should have really taken note of.  
Set Fire to the Stars

A semi-autobiographical drama shot in black in white with the function of celebrating Dylan Thomas’ Centenary. The focus is on a week of Dylan Thomas’ (Celyn Jones) life as he is due to attend a series of poetry readings in America. Elijah Wood plays John Malcolm Brinnin who is tasked with showing him to these venues.

I had lots of fun watching this film, Elijah Wood and Celyn Jones made a very capable double act and Jones brought a superb sense of depth to the character of Dylan Thomas, he was played as annoyingly eccentric yet profoundly wise, it would have been easy for such a version of the character to descend into farce or caricature but that line was never crossed. The story was very well paced and the diversity in the events portrayed kept the film ticking along nicely, a lot of fun while it lasts with a well written script and excellent acting.