3 out of 10

Release date: 24th March 2017

Director: Christopher Menaul (Summer In February / First Night / Feast of July)

cast: Jenny Seagrove, Julian Kostov, John Hannah, Ronan Keating, Amanda Abbington, Felicite Du Jeu, Susan Hampshire, Brenock O’Connor, Joanna David, Gwen Taylor, Izzy Meikle-Small, Andy Gathergood, Sophie Skelton with Peter Wight and Nicholas Farrell

Writer: Jenny Lecoat



This Bill Kenwright production of the story of one of WW2’s many unsung heroes, Louisa Gould pays perfunctory lip-service to her. This brave woman and a network of trusted friends and family risked their lives and freedom to give shelter to an escaped Russian POW in occupied Jersey, Channel Islands.  The CI was the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by the Germans in the WW2, and was used as a POW camp in part. Russian workgangs were common place and escapes regular.

Louisa Gould (JENNY SEAGROVE – THE GUARDIAN) takes in escapee Fyodor (who she called Bill)(JULIAN KOSTOV – LEATHERFACE) and her network of friends help to hide him from detection for abotu 2 years from the Germans. It’s a shame then that this tale doesn’t get a film to match the material. What we get is an episode of The Royal or Heartbeat with extra Germans. Every line is a tired cliche, every character a cipher, and it doesn’t land a single punch until the very final shot. It’s cosy Sunday afternoon programming for people who like their films undemanding, even the ones with a harrowing subject matter.  This plays to the lowest common denominator and as a story is predictable, sentimental and as hackneyed as they come. Even the performances are largely broad from an over experienced cast. It’s interesting to see veteran, beauty Jenny Seagrove in a rare film lead, and singer Ronan Keating (POSTMAN PAT). The former struggles to inject, but still suceeds in delivering a good, solid performance, yet the script does her no favours and she’s left to look like a phoney actor. Ronan Keating similarly embodies a cardboard cut-out of a role, but he’s purely there as a stunt-casting anomaly. He fails at blending in, and struggles with an accent that’s all over the map.

The production values are good, and the period well-evoked, so it scores some kudos from Britpic Posse for looking the part, its a shame it runs like a lazy made-for-TV special. With a bit more grit, a better script and more naturalistic acting styles this is a sotry worth the telling. Maybe, it will get revisited one day – because Louisa Gould deserved a more fitting memorial than this film.

3 out of 10 – This true story of extraordinary bravery needed a better film than this over-simplified, watered down drama.



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