I WAS SO YOUNG THAT I cannot recall what my age was when I saw this Jules Verne movie for the first time. Funny, I can see myself sitting in front of the television and I know it was a Saturday afternoon, because there was a TV show that showed a movie every Saturday afternoon. It was rare I ever missed a show. Because this happened so long ago, I do not have a full memory of the entire movie; however, I have 2 vivid images in my mind that have stayed with me all these years. The first is a massive sea monster that traumatized me when it appeared in the film. I do feel this sea monster is the reason I have always been squeamish anytime I have seen an octopus or squid. The other image that has stuck with me is a vessel that could travel underwater. Because I had never seen a submarine at that age, this vessel fascinated me when it appeared in the movie. Seeing the passengers walking inside of it as it traveled under the water made me want to join them. You may be wondering if I ever played with toys in the bathtub and the answer would be yes. However, my playing mostly involved flying saucers, rockets and boats. I never thought about a vehicle that traveled under water. THE REASON I AM TALKING ABOUT this memory is because soon after seeing that film, we went on a family outing to the science and industry museum in the city. One of the attractions there was an actual, full-size submarine. The connection was made; here in real life was the vessel that had first appeared in the fantasy movie I had just seen. I was beyond excited and pleaded to go inside the submarine. How did the film’s story know about submarines? It was some years later when I read the Jules Verne book that I realized he was aware of underwater vessels before most people. Through the years, I have seen movies where something in them had not yet entered the minds of the general public. When I come across situations like this it always amazes me how the writers can predict the practical use or the appearance of such an item or situation before it is part of our reality. You will understand better if you watch this dramatic romance considering what is taking place currently around the world. A few days before I watched this picture, I heard about a survivor of COVID 19 whose sense of smell and taste had not returned. THERE WAS TROUBLING NEWS CIRCULATING ABOUT people losing their sense of taste. This was distressing for Michael, played by Ewan McGregor (Doctor Sleep, Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey), to hear because he was a chef at an upscale restaurant. With Eva Green (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Penny Dreadful-TV) as Susan, Connie Nielsen (Wonder Woman, One Hour Photo) as Jenny, Denis Lawson (Star Wars franchise, The Machine) as Boss and Stephen Dillane (The Hours, Darkest Hours) as Stephen Montgomery; this film festival winning sci-fi movie was eerie and upsetting to watch because of what is going on around us presently. Putting aside the parallels between this story and present reality, I thought Eva and Ewan were well suited for each other. Their acting was excellent with its wide range of emotions. The story created this foreboding feeling that did not leave me; I kept hoping things would get better for the characters. I will say a part of me felt something was lacking in the script. There were scenes that did not feel complete for me and I felt unsettled by the ending. Of all times to watch this film; one must wonder if the writers had some inside knowledge or ability to see the future because I certainly felt the impact of this picture.
2 ½ stars
THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS used to be such a cut and dry proposition; at least in my mind. During my formative years (they may still be going on presently) when someone made a decision I would carry it out. Whether it was at home or school, this is how I was raised. I cannot recall as a child if I questioned any decisions, though I will say I am sure I interpreted some of them in different ways than they were intended. My sensibilities started to change when that teacher, I have talked about before, told me I would amount to nothing if I pursued a career in writing. It was at that very moment I began questioning authority. The idea of one person, let alone a relative stranger, making a decision that would directly affect me made me extremely uncomfortable and rebellious. What right did this person have to decide what I could and could not do? Not that I would cause a riot or something, but I would question their decision even if it was only an internal dialog in my mind. LOOKING BACK THRU THE eyes of an adult; I now see where some decisions were solely a lucky guess, while others had consequences. Remembering my gym teacher in high school who refused to give me a passing grade, so I would have to repeat the course over; condemned me to another year of abuse even though he was aware of what I went through the first time. The decision by a fitness instructor to let me choreograph an aerobic routine for her started me on a career path in the fitness industry. Now I am very much aware of the magnitude some decisions have not only on me but on society in general. Thinking about one individual deciding on something that has major ramifications on a vast amount of people has to be a scary notion; heck, it should be a terrifying thing. I would not want someone to decide something of importance so cavalierly. The reason I have been thinking about decisions is due to this film festival winning dramatic war film. It is one thing to read about it in history books, but it is totally different to watch the decision process in action. WITH GERMAN FORCES SWEEPING across Europe it was only a matter of time before Germany had Great Britain in its sights. Choices had to be made but which ones would be the right ones? Starring Gary Oldman (The HItman’s Bodyguard, The Space Between Us) as Winston Churchill, Lily James (Cinderella, Baby Driver) as Elizabeth Layton, Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient, Four Weddings and a Funeral) as Clementine Churchill, Ben Mendelsohn (Animal Kingdom, Rogue One) as King George VI and Stephen Dillane (Spy Game, The Hours) as Viscount Halifax; this film would be an ideal companion piece to the film Dunkirk since they are set in similar times. Gary was outstanding as Winston Churchill; he was the main focus actually of the whole film and script. I understood this however; I felt the script was a bit weak in parts. When Winston was on everything felt right, but in the quieter moments I was left wanting more out of the characters, more in depth interactions between them. Taking the action at face value, I enjoyed the cat and mouse approach to part of the story. Whoever decided Gary was the right choice for the role deserves a pat on the back. I would not necessarily say the same for the script approval, but still the film was worth seeing.
3 ¼ stars