So far on the OWF Film Diary... Basically, this column is my attempt to chart a whole years worth of film-watching, posts will arrive frequently, chronicling every film I watch this year both offering reviews and setting myself the ultimate goal of watching (and writing about) as many films as humanly possible
With the first high-brow offering of the year so far, today's column focuses on one of the contenders to walk away with a number of the highest accolades at this year's Academy Awards...
Film #10 The King's Speech
An incredible film. Aside from impeccable story-telling and the three breath-taking central performances (which may well all be rewarded with a Best Film, a Best Actor, a Best Supporting Actor and a Best Supporting Actress Oscars) the film's composition is immaculate. There are so many cleverly built shots, subtly and simply composed, but enormously enriching for the viewing experience without ever becoming gimmicky or distracting. The moment I noticed this first was in the initial exchange between Colin Firth's Bertie and Geoffrey Rush's Lionel Logue, which is established through alternating shots from two camera positions, with Lionel to one side and Bertie to the other, so we are given the impression that they are side-by-side despite being opposite. It is a very clever way to introduce the idea of the pair's relationship, and the importance each man will have to the other as the film progresses, and is only one in a line of wonderfully executed scenes.
Going back to the performances, I would suggest that few performances this year could rival Colin Firth's mesmerizing and deeply touching Bertie- with a stifling regal weight on his shoulders, he manages to make the character both complex and seemingly impenetrable as well humanist and fragile. It is his performance on which the entire film hangs, and the most profoundly emotional sequences (especially when Bertie talks about his mistreatment at the hands of a nanny) are exquisitely acted and perfectly sympathetic. It's always nice to see a good, measured performance by Helena Bonham Carter as well, reminding us that she is so much more than just a series of over-zealous caricatures in her civil partner's films.