Glorious 39 DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Feature 7.0
Video 8.0
Audio 8.0
Special Features 6.0
Total 7.0
Distributor: Madman
Running Time: 123
Classification:
 M15+
Reviewer: Simon Black

7.0


Glorious 39

In the two years preceding the outbreak of World War II the appeasement movement flourished in England, if not continental Europe itself.  So desperate were the British to avoid war they actively negotiated on Hitlerís behalf over the matter of Czechoslovakia, and essentially turned a blind eye to the dictatorís incorporation of Austria into the Reich. 

Tempers ran high on both sides, with Hitlerís opponents arguing the only method that would truly counter his incessant territorial demands was the application of force, an approach that was eventually taken, obviously, following the German invasion of Poland in September 1939. 

Glorious 39 is set in the deceptively idyllic English summer of that world-changing year.  Budding actress Anne (Romola Garai) is the daughter of a prominent English MP (the venerable Bill Nighy, Love Actually).  When she stumbles across a cache of government files indicating a sinister plot to further appease the Nazis, Anne, her family and her acquaintances are all drawn into a dark world full of deadly secrets, and it quickly becomes apparent that someone considers the files in question to be worth killing for. 

Though the storyline is fictional, writer/director Stephen Poliakoff proves adept at imbuing the work with plenty of pathos, and the ensemble case which includes David Tennant (Dr Who), Jeremy Northam (Gosford Park) and Academy Award winner Julie Christie put in uniquely excellent performances.  The end result is an artfully executed speculative period thriller, and a clever reimagining of both  the months leading up to World War II and the turmoil inherent in the homeland politics of the day. 

Audio & Video

The scenery and settings are stunning, as is Danny Cohenís cinematography. The anamorphically enhanced 16:9 transfer is quite lovely, with some intentionally drab shots of present day London contrasting brilliantly with the vibrancy of 1939ís Ďgloriousí summer.  The English 5.1 surround audio is equally impressive. 

Special Features

Thereís a fairly run of the mill audio commentary with Poliakoff and actress Romola Garai, and a hugely aggrandizing featurette entitled ĎOn the Edge of War: Uncovering Glorious 39,í in which Poliakoff is made out to be some sort of cross between David Lynch and Orson Welles.  A few interesting BTS tidbits, but mostly this consists of cast members gushing about what a genius the little-known auteur is.






 
 



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