On a beautiful cloudless day a young couple celebrate their reunion with a picnic. Joe has planned a postcard-perfect afternoon in the English countryside with his partner, Claire. But as Joe and Claire prepare to open a bottle of champagne, their idyll comes to an abrupt end. A hot air balloon drifts into the field, obviously in trouble. The pilot catches his leg in the anchor rope, while the only passenger, a boy, is too scared to jump down. Joe and three other men rush to secure the basket. Just as they secure the balloon, the wind rushes into the field, and at once the rescuers are airborne. Joe manages to drop to the ground, as do most of his companions, but one man is lifted skywards. As Joe, Claire and the other rescuers watch this strangely beautiful sight, they see the man fall to his death. Recalling the day's events at dinner with his friends Robin and Rachel, Joe reveals the impact the accident has had on his battered psyche. Ironically the balloon eventually lands safely,...Written by
Sujit R. Varma
STAR RATING:*****Unmissable****Very Good***Okay**You Could Go Out For A Meal Instead*Avoid At All Costs
One day,novelist and science lecturer Joe (Daniel Craig) takes his girlfriend Claire (Samantha Morton) out for a picnic in the beautiful English countryside.He has an ulterior motive-he means to propose to her.But then,suddenly and completely without warning,their lives are changed irrevocably forever when a red hot air balloon falls from the sky and a desperate struggle ensues to save the people on board.A man is killed and Joe is plagued with feelings of guilt and failure for sometime after.After a while,he does his best to put the incident behind him and move on with his life.But there's one person for whom doing that obviously hasn't been so easy for-fellow rescuer Jed (Rhys Ifans) who begins obsessively following Joe everywhere,leading him down a nightmare path of fear and madness.
All of the cast do exceptionally well.Craig crafts a perfect portrayal of a retiring English gent desperately ill-at-ease with the troubling situation in front of him.This is the making of a promising new English talent we are seeing here,following on from his success in the lead role in Layer Cake.Ifans,usually a comedic actor (sometimes even in films where the tone is pretty serious),here successfully starts to broaden his range with an impressively unhinged portrayal of a man unable to let go and desperately trying to make sense of the demons burning inside him.Supporting players Morton and Bill Nighy are also very good back up to these two actors who are shining their socks off.
The film has an impressive use of the camera,with inventively flashy visuals here-and-there and still shots that skillfully add to the tension of the story.This is complimented with a clever use of soundtrack that further revs up the story some notches.
Sometimes the story doesn't come together that well,and the plotting goes a bit wavey.Also,some of the dialogue and delivery can't help but feel a little uninspiring.But for the most part,Brit director Roger Michell has crafted a film that hangs together very well and proves to be very intriguing,as well as further high-lighting some fine British talent that deserves to go much further.***
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