December 23rd, 2014


The Deathly Hallows

I never made any great emotional investment in Harry Potter (though I did enjoy the ride- both the books and the movies) and- given that I didn't greatly care-  hadn't got round to the last of the films until now. Ailz- who is a true believer- just bought the box set and yesterday, in between fetching my mother cups of tea and glasses of gin, I finally got up to speed.

By this stage of the proceedings all the world building has been done and all the characters established so it's down to the three young actors to carry the weight. With a little help from the special effects, of course. The big surprise is Rupert Grint- once a terrible over-reactor- now quiet and intense. The other two were always reliable. It's easy to take all three of them for granted. The producers cast three unknown kids with no significant prior experience and hung a series of eight movies on them; it  could have been disastrous, but it wasn't.  The kids grew up, they didn't develop acne or a cocaine habit, they held their own with the cream of the British acting profession and they emerged at the end of the process as pros with continuing (and in the case of Danny Radcliffe, starry) careers. It's all pretty amazing.

The first half of Deathly Hallows drags slowly through some lovely winter landscapes. The second half is all glorious bim, bam, bosh. Ralph Fiennes gets to earn his fee, Michael Gambon, in spite of his character being dead, infuses his scenes with a lovely, humane glow, Julie Waters turns into a raging avenger ("Not my daughters, you bitch!"), Emma Thomson speaks half a line and Matthew Lewis, as Neville Longbottom, owns every scene he's in.  Things are wound up satisfactorily. And more satisfactorily I thought than they were in the books.

British film industry, you done us proud!