17 November 2010

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1

I was left with no doubt that this was indeed just the first part of the last installment of the Harry Potter series - and that would be my only beef with this film. It in no way stands as a movie by itself, and I feel it should. However, it's a mouth-watering starter (albeit a 146 minute salad course) that left me hungry for the finale. Deathly Hallows Part 1 is something of a road movie (we've left Hogwarts behind) as Potter & Co hit the road to seek out a series of artefacts. Which can be a problem as this is the darkest Potter film yet (unbroken by comic relief), featuring many deaths, a sustained nightmarish tension (is this really for five-year-olds?), with the promised show-down between Potter and Voldemort only available in Part 2, there is a certain lack of forward momentum.The performances, thought are uniformly delightful and excellent, especially from Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort and the three young leads (who would have thought Emma Watson could turn out to be an actress and not just a pretty face?) who make even the non-set pieces watchable. Director David Yates has made a beautiful film, from dazzling special effects and visuals that always seem fresh, to exciting storytelling, to chills and scares to gorgeous art direction and breathtaking scenary - it looks like a movie with a non-stop budget, rich and dense and detailed, and very much a labour of love.

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