Charlotte Gray (2001)

GILLIAN ARMSTRONG

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

United Kingdom/Australia/Germany, 2001.  Ecosse Films, FilmFour, Pod Film, Senator Film Produktion.  Screenplay by , based on the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by . Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

Exciting World War II drama about a young Scottish woman (Cate Blanchett) who follows her pilot lover () to France only to become so enrapt in her work with the French Resistance that she grows beyond her love for him. While staying with a fellow resistance fighter (), the peaceful small town where she at first was doing routine sabotage operations is overtaken by Nazi soldiers and the constant fear of betrayal and death is everywhere. Gillian Armstrong directs with the usual lush touches that mark her films, including steady pacing, beautiful period details (especially the costumes by Janty Yates) and excellent characters, aspects that make up for the odd times when the story falls a little flat (not to mention the fact that, for some odd reason, Blanchett and friends speak English while still in London and by the time she gets to Paris she is still speaking…English). Blanchett is simply fascinating, a powerful actress who can carry an entire film on her shoulders as if it were nothing and make it feel totally compelling. Anyone who enjoys a good spy movie will have no qualms with this gorgeously photographed thriller (it certainly makes up for everything that Fred Schepisi’s Plenty lacked) that also features great supporting work by  and .

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