Glorious 39 Review

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An idyllic pre-war Summer in the British countryside is ruined for the eldest daughter of the Keyes family when she discovers conspiracy and possibly treason closer to home than she thinks.


Doyen of TV period drama, Stephen Poliakoff’s return to the big screen is occasionally inspired but often flawed. The Elysian setting — a final, sun-touched summer of peace spent by influential MP Alexander Keyes (Bill Nighy) and his family in Norfolk — is well-crafted, but gives way to a dizzying plot when adopted daughter Anne (Atonement’s Romola Garai) stumbles upon a violent conspiracy involving some LPs, a cabal of appeasers, and a grumpy Jeremy Northam.

Garai is spellbinding, as Poliakoff builds tension against a backdrop of golden cornfields and jazz-filled salons, but the MacGuffin stretches belief beyond breaking point, distracting from a potent tale of identity.

Stupendous turn from Romola Garai in the lead role but, while this sets up intrigue and atmosphere well, the plot devices creak audibly towards the end.