The Aeronauts (Tom Harper, 2019) wr. Jack Thorne; Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Phoebe Fox, Himesh Patel, Vincent Perez, Anne Reid; release 6 December
Pilot Amelia Rennes (Felicity Jones) and scientist James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) find themselves in an epic fight for survival while attempting to make discoveries in a gas balloon.
This film is mostly out of control. The action/adventure sections of the film are the best part, and quite exciting. But Felicity Jones is unbelievable - and implausible. Only a woman of the streets would act the way she does in public. Her character, Amelia, is divided into two completely different modes. She has her quiet moments, during which she is being drawn to Redmayne's character, James. But for most of the film she is shrieking her head off - in other words, over-acting. Meanwhile, Redmayne is already too withdrawn when he's conscious, and becomes completely absent during the greatest drama when James has passed out due to hypoxia. I think he's miscast. This is mostly just a straightforward action/adventure story, and he's not that kind of guy.
There are a number of flashbacks or whatever - scenes without the balloon - that are of no interest whatsoever. Pity they couldn't have been left out.
I conclude that the film is poorly structured, and unsatisfactory overall. George Steele's photography, however, is stunning. The scenes with nothing but balloon and sky are, well, beautiful. One feels one could watch them for quite some time. In fact, they would make perfect scenes for a landscape wall in one's house. Are they available yet?
Matthew Taylor, in Sight&Sound: "As vertiginous spectacle, the film can be vivid and arresting, though not every CGI-assisted elemental tribulation convinces. Some of the best moments are the simplest: a swarm of butterflies circling the balloon, or the eerie tinkling of church bells from far below. You wish the film had more time for effective grace notes such as these, and a bit less for the humdrum business that characterises the scenes on terra firma. As it is, The Aeronauts makes rather heavy weather of its intended uplift."
Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 6 February, 2020 | Now: 18 February, 2020