Third Star – Empire Cinema, Leicester Square, London
Firstly, it has to be said that I am still disappointed that this film hasn’t had a wider screening. Only having it shown at a handful of cinemas worldwide is a pity and a shame.
So, was a four hour round trip and spending more money on travelling to London, simply to go to the cinema going to be worth it?
The answer quite simply is yes, most definitely.
It was quite possibly the strangest cinema experience I’ve ever had. A tiny 45 seater screen, and only around a dozen of us in there.
The film itself: Benedict Cumberbatch plays James, who is 29 and terminally ill with cancer, and who decides to head off on a road trip with his friends, the loyal and protective Davy (Tom Burke), free spirited Bill (Adam Robertson) and seemingly frequent absentee Miles (JJ Feild) to his favourite place on Earth, Barafundle Bay.
The acting is superb. Benedict Cumberbatch as James gives a wonderful performance that at times is incredibly difficult to watch. He never tries to gain the audience’s sympathies, instead appearing bitter and angry, James is an arrogant and often unlikeable character who cruelly announces some home truths in an effort to hurt those caring for him, in particular his mocking of Davy’s desire to be needed.
It’s these qualities that stop the film from being overly sentimental and morbid, it is however Cumberbatch’s subtle performance which keeps you feeling for him the entire time, mostly due to simple facial expressions showing the pain and anguish he is experiencing, most notably in the scene when Miles shares his views on the afterlife and Bill’s opinion that they will “live on through their children”.
JJ Field’s completely understated performance as Miles is equally superb, a man struggling after his own father’s death, who clearly has something to hide from his peers. A man of few words but who’s facial expressions and body language speaks volumes.
Tom Burke is possibly the most endearing character in the film, as the needy and loyal Davy, his performance shows the sheer desperation of wanting the best for his dying friend but also the need to be needed and given the gratitude he feels he deserves.
Alongside these three is Adam Robertson, who I have to admit to having no prior knowledge, but he is an actor whom I shall definitely be watching for in the future. As the driving force behind much of the film’s humour, I felt he brilliantly pulls the film away from becoming too melancholy and in several scenes gives it the boost of optimism it needs.
Although what’s a film without some obscure cameos, Karl Johnson’s turn as a makeup wearing ferryman caused much chuckling amongst our small audience. Then we have Hugh Bonneville, appearing in a rather fetching outfit, only on screen for around five minutes, he still manages to give a memorable performance as the lonely, beachcomber looking for his own personal treasure, conveying pride, sadness and humility in such a small space of time.
Of course, it needs to be mentioned that there is a fifth, magnificent character in this film- the Pembrokeshire scenery,
The cinematography captured the beauty of their surroundings effortlessly, whether it be the glorious sunsets, the horses galloping across the perfect grassy hills or that incredible shot overlooking Barafundle Bay once they finally arrive at their destination.
As far as Hattie Dalton is concerned, for a directorial debut, for me, this is a triumph.
There isn’t a single moment of this film where I felt as though I was being forced to turn into a blubbering wreck, although in all honesty, I don’t think I’ve cried that much in a cinema since Titanic.
Third Star is a genuinely upsetting film which ends cruelly and abruptly, this simply exaggerates it’s poignancy. Another reason why I found this a unique cinema experience, is that I have never known an entire audience remain in complete silence until the end of the credits, it felt like everyone needed time to compose themselves before continuing with their day.
This film will stay with me for a very long time, the emotional rawness still being felt nearly 24 hours later.
I don’t recommend having any in depth discussions straight after seeing this film. Two hours after seeing it, my Mum asked me how it was and was then faced with me in tears again and only managing to tell her that it was incredible.
I will definitely be looking out for a DVD release and am in the hopes that this film will eventually gain a much wider audience. It truly does deserve it.