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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.