Set Fire To The Stars Review

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Aspiring poet John Brinnin (Wood) sets off to guide his hero, firebrand poet Dylan Thomas (Jones), on a tour of the States. Booze, women and the Welshman's volatile temper ensure this is no easy task.


Stylish and well-played if a little thin, Set Fire To The Stars charts Dylan Thomas’ (Celyn Jones) first US poetry tour supervised by Harvard grad/wannabe poet John Malcolm Brinnin (Elijah Wood). Like a literary Scent Of A Woman, it’s a mismatched duo movie — Jones gives good bluster, Wood gives good fretting — but it never adds up to excoriating drama. Chris Seager’s monochrome cinematography is striking, Gruff Rhys’ jazz score likable and there are strong scenes — a mad hook-up with a Beat couple (Kevin Eldon, a wired Shirley Henderson), a surreal reading of Thomas’ Love In The Asylum — but it lacks the depths and passions to burn brightly.

There are solid turns from the leads but the drama never quite catches ablaze in the way you'd think the fiery Thomas would have wanted.