Friday, 10 February 2012
Third star on the right and straight on 'til morning
I stumbled across the trailer for Third Star many months ago and was immediately desperate to watch it. Unfortunately, it turned out to be one of these small film festival types which are barely released anywhere, meaning I had to wait impatiently for the DVD release. And luckily in Germany, I've had all the time in the world to catch up on films and TV shows, so finally got around to seeing it. And I rather enjoyed it. A small independent British film, Third Star tells the story of James (Benedict Cumberbatch), a 29 year old cancer sufferer, who decides to take an ill-advised trip around the English and Welsh countryside with three of his closest friends. Although the premise sounds tragic at first, Third Star is actually a rather touching comedy drama which explores the ideas of friendship and love against a looming backdrop of suffering and loss.
The story may sound a little too familiar - and in a way it has been done quite often before - and although I certainly did not see the ending coming (I can be a little slow sometimes though...), the journey it took to get there sometimes felt a little repetitive and the characters perhaps a little too typical and underdeveloped. However what the film lacks in originality (and, I have to say, pace) it more than makes up for in the performances of its wonderfully strong cast. Benedict Cumberbatch in particular shines as James, perfectly capturing his frustrations and anger, yet also his moments of happiness and peace. The hugely underrated JJ Feild, who I have loved ever since Northanger Abbey, is perfect as the jaded and unstable, yet ultimately caring best friend and Tom Burke and Adam Robertson give similarly strong performances. We may have seen this situation many times before, but thanks to a strong band of actors, it still resonates and emotes, and features several moments of pure brilliance. Shot absolutely beautifully in the wild English countryside (God, I miss England) this film is well worth a look.
"So I raise a morphine toast to you all. And if you should happen to remember it's the anniversary of my birth, remember that you were loved by me and that you made my life a happy one. And there is no tragedy in that."