A German rocket scientist arrives on a small Scotish island in the mid 1930s. He's there to run tests on a new type of rocket that is to be used for mail delivery between the island and the...
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A German rocket scientist arrives on a small Scotish island in the mid 1930s. He's there to run tests on a new type of rocket that is to be used for mail delivery between the island and the mainland. Initially he's met with scepticism, but slowly the islanders come to like and trust him. One of the young women falls in love with him, but with WWII around the corner life gets complicated.
This is the kind of film they used to make, amusing, heart-warming, troubling, authentic, with convincing performances by people without nose jobs, boob jobs, eye jobs, in other words real people. Shauna Macdonald plays the female love interest, and she is so real you want to give her a cuddle at the very least. Imagine that, a real girl in a movie, whatever next? Hollywood would hate her, because her freshness is a sharp rebuke to every false starlet in Tinseltown. This story has the same hilarious feel as Sandy Mackendrick's classic 'Whisky Galore', with the gnomic humour of remote Scottish islanders puncturing the pretensions of intruders from outside and enjoying a wee dram from time to time (the actual intervals between those times often being rather short). Director Stephen Whittaker displays a rare skill in pulling this off just right, and it is shocking to discover that he died before his film's release, aged only 56, which was clearly a substantial loss to the screen. Ulrich Thomsen does very well at playing a German rocket scientist who in the late 1930s goes to Scarp in the Isle of Harris to build a small rocket to carry postal packets between the islands. There he falls in love with the alluring Macdonald lass, and she reciprocates the affection. Some wonderfully colourful local characters decorate the tale, and the film is pure delight. There is of course the threat of imminent war with Hitler, and we learn that Hitler executed 1000 rocket scientists who refused to build weapons of war, which is a shocking statistic. Tragic love is never far from view, but lips must remain sealed in a review as to what happens in the end. This film is a magnificent example of just the kind of films which people in Britain should be making. But are they being properly released? In a nation whose tastes have been so corrupted by reality TV shows, where repulsive nonentities have become the national heroes, is there even a market anymore for a film like this? After all, there is no grunting sex, there are no close-ups of suppurating wounds or of anyone's genitals, there are no drugs taken, there are no mindless celebrities prancing around wanting to be looked at, and so one wonders whether there is anything to interest a public which has become so decadent and jaded that only the most extreme sensations can briefly alleviate the tedium of their pointless existence. Anyone who is looking for an antidote to the vacuity of contemporary Britain can take refuge in this refreshing and honest film.
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