Watchable Heart-warm True-Story WWII Veteran Britflick with the great Michael Caine & Glenda Jackson
- The Great Escaper review by PV
There is a certain breed of British film director who has started often as an actor for the BBC and gone on to direct (back when white males were allowed on BBC training schemes) and then who make these sort of low-budget twee British films often with BBC/BFI/Lottery money. Like SWIMMING WITH MEN, MADE IN DAGENHAM and more, made by some of the same team.
The films that result are fine for what they are - TV-drama-style films, heart-warming of course, family viewing, mildly amusing, often with a heartwarming MESSAGE rammed home throughout, with some huggy teary lovey-dovey happy-sad poignant ending - but these days sadly distracted from the story by an obsession to tick the diversity boxes (as demanded by BAFTA diversity worship quotas - which I am SO against, ALL such race quotas are racist, The end).
So what is the film like? Predictable, safe, twee - does what it says on the tin. Michael Caine is a great actor and steals every scene. I've never been a fan of Glenda Jackson BUT fans will enjoy what may have been her last film. Nothing wrong with it. Based on a true story, embellished of course. SO there we are. MAYBE good for educating kids re the Second World War.
One thing annoyed me. In the last 15 years I have visited many hospitals and care homes thanks to family illness/age. I have never ever met a black British care worker, Not once, African immigrant nurses and care workers, yes. Many Asian ones, loads from Thailand and the Philippines. Some East Europeans. No black British. But the BAFTA diversity standards mean of course they cast a black British woman as care worker.
And the disabled solider helping the veterans is a black British guy too - and there were a SMALL number in Afghanistan but they are a small % in the army, so maybe do some research, film makers, and be more realistic. Sadly, this diversity worship parachuted tickbox casting is standard now. Just watch TV, the adverts and drama. Sigh. BUT at least they did not go full woke and cast BAME actors on the beaches of Normandy in 1944 (though they sneak one into a Swing dance. Hmm. Just about possible, if a GI, maybe, though US army units had segregation...BUT only 6000 blacks in the UK in 1939 out of 44 million population, so not many British blacks in UK armed forces, though of course there were separate West Indian battalions and in Asia, the Indian ones, Muslim-only or Hindu-only or Sikh-only, I think. DO THE MATH, as the Americans might say). It COULD have been much worse though...and is, in other films.
So watchable but all everso smug and dare I say it, lazy - take a true story and write it up for a state-funded low profile British film.
Michael Caine is great though, age 90. This may well be his last film.
Sad to think that the breaks he got in his day would now not be open to him as a white British working class boy, HOW MANY who look and sound like him are on TV drama or adverts or British films? Equality and diversity in action means racism/sexism against working class white boys. Such racist sexist hypocrisy, BAFTA-sanctioned, using public money, Shameful.
3 stars. Lost one for diversity worship but gained it back for the cyclist scenes with Caine - no spoilers but that was GREAT!
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