Six Minutes to Midnight – Film Review

Six Minutes to Midnight is a war drama piece set in 1939, on the cusp of one of the most historic moments we now know as World War II.

In a story inspired by the real-life history of Augusta Victoria College located in Bexhill-on-Sea, Eddie Izzard plays Thomas Miller, a man of Anglo-German ancestry who has taken a spot as an English teacher at the finishing school for girls, all from high-ranking elite Nazi families. In secret, Miller is actually a British agent who has gone undercover to investigate the disappearance of his predecessor, undercover agent, Wheatley (Nigel Lindsay).

When Wheatley’s body is found washed up on a beach shore and in a rather unfortunate series of events, Miller is on the run, falsely accused of killing his predecessor and must clear his name while uncovering a sinister plot ahead with the school and its girls.

Admittedly, I was unsure if Izzard would be a right fit for a serious and mature role as British agent, Thomas Miller. Luckily, my worries soon subsided, as I found myself truly believing Izzard’s performance as an undercover British agent masquerading as a school teacher.

Judi Dench felt very underutilized and a little wasted as school headmistress Miss Rocholl. Dench, has always been incredible, but in Six Minutes to Midnight, I was honestly hoping to see a little more of her on-screen. Despite her minimal screen time, her performance is still great.

The most notable cast member, however, is Carla Juri as Ilse Keller, providing a wonderful performance and had me captivated at any given moment she appeared on screen. Truthfully, I was not familiar with Juri’s work prior to seeing Six Minutes to Midnight, but since witnessing Juri’s standout performance, I’ll have to make sure to keep an eye out for her future films.

While the lavish production values and gorgeous cinematography are constantly present, I couldn’t help but feel that the story was little underwhelming and could have done with a few more tweaks to its writing. The writing just feels passable and doesn’t strive to be exceptional. The film, however, certainly looks the part with its gorgeous countryside scenery and impressive costuming. Props to Chris Seager, Amanda Smith and Lucinda Wright for providing us lovely cinematography, set decoration and costume design, respectively, all throughout the film that make up for the somewhat unfortunately muddled story. The story may be a bit of a letdown but visually, the film blossoms.

Despite my criticism, Six Minutes to Midnight still manages to be entertaining. I even had a few chuckles at some funny scenes along the way. Yes, it may be predictable, but you can feel the passion and love poured into creating it, which ultimately helped me enjoy the movie. If you’re looking for a simple film with a talented cast just to just relax and enjoy, Six Minutes to Midnight will do just that. But for diehard war drama fans who are looking for something compelling with depth, unfortunately you won’t find it here. Six Minutes to Midnight is far from perfect, but I can’t deny that it does contain an interesting charm that doesn’t leave you.

Six Minutes to Midnight will be in Australian cinemas from April 22, 2021.

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