DVD & Blu-ray

UK DVD & Blu-ray Releases: Monday 9th May 2011


The King’s Speech (Momentum): Oscar winning drama about the unlikely relationship between King George (Colin Firth) and his unconventional speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush). Directed by Tom Hooper, it wowed festival circuit and went on to win Best Picture, becoming one of the highest grossing British films of all time. [Full review] [Buy it on Blu-ray and DVD]

The Way Back (E1 Entertainment): Drama about a group of prisoners who break out of a Russian gulag in the early 1940s and venture across Asia in their escape. Directed by Peter Weir, it stars Jim Sturgess, Ed Harris and Colin Farrell and Saiorse Ronan. [Full review] [Buy it on Blu-ray and DVD]

I Saw The Devil (Optimum Home Releasing): Dark and violent Korean thriller about a twisted serial killer (Choi Min-sik) and the man who pursues him (Lee Byung-hun). Directed Kim Ji-woon, it has attracted acclaim but also a degree of controversy for its more extreme scenes. [Buy it on Blu-ray and DVD]

Blue Valentine (Optimum Home Releasing): Powerful US indie drama depicting how a couple (Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams) fall in (and out of) love over the course of several years. Directed by Derek Cianfrance, it reaped critical acclaim and Oscar nominations. [Full review] [Buy it on Blu-ray and DVD]

Upside Down – The Story of Creation Records (Revolver Entertainment): British documentary about influential UK indie label Creation Records and their maeverick founder Alan McGhee, who signed acts such as Ride, Teenage Fanclub, My Bloody Valentine and Oasis. Directed by Danny O’Connor, it features interview with McGee and the bands he signed. [Full review] [Buy it on Blu-ray and DVD]

Client 9 (Dogwoof): Documentary about the rise and fall of disgraced New York governor Eliot Spitzer, who was caught up in a prostitution scandal which triggered his resignation just a few months before the financial crisis in 2008. Directed by Alex Gibney. [Buy it on DVD]


Casshern Sins: Part 1 (Manga Entertainment) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Chico and Rita (Cinema NX Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Civilisation: The Complete Series (2 Entertain) [Blu-ray / DVD]
Laputa – Castle in the Sky (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / DVD]
My Neighbours the Yamadas (Optimum Home Entertainment) [Blu-ray / DVD]
The Pillow Book (Park Circus) [Blu-ray / DVD]

> UK Cinema Releases for Friday 6th May 2011
> The Best DVD & Blu-ray releases of 2010

Awards Season Behind The Scenes

The Sound of The King’s Speech

Soundworks have posted a lengthy interview with John Midgley on the sound of The King’s Speech.

Sound is obviously crucial to the story of the film and in this 30 minute interview the production sound mixer explains how the soundscape of the film was achieved.

Midgley worked on the first three Harry Potter films, Children of Men (2006) and Hotel Rwanda (2004) and was

The King’s Speech marks his second Oscar nomination and he was previously recognised for his work on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999).

> My LFF review of The King’s Speech
> John Midgely at the IMDb

Awards Season video

BAFTA Backstage Interviews

BAFTA have posted a series of backstage interviews from last nights awards, including backstage chats with Colin Firth, Tom Hooper, David Seidler, Aaron Sorkin and Sir Christopher Lee.

N.B. The sound in some of these clips isn’t exactly awards worthy as Edith Bowman’s microphone doesn’t appear to be working properly.

Just click on the following links:

> Full list of BAFTA Nominations


Rupert Murdoch on The King’s Speech

Wall Street Journal film critic Joe Morgenstern has revealed that Lionel Logue helped cure Rupert Murdoch’s father of his stutter.

At the end of his most recent column, he writes about a recent conversation with his media mogul boss who asked him what he should see:

“With ‘The King’s Speech’ gaining the Oscar traction it deserves—the latest boost being an expression of approval from Queen Elizabeth—I can’t resist going public with a story that I’ve relished telling to friends, and to the people who made the movie. Several weeks before it opened, I had a conversation with Rupert Murdoch, who popped a question familiar to movie critics: What should he see?

I suggested “The King’s Speech,” and, not wanting to spoil it with too many details, gave a shorthand description: Colin Firth as King George VI, who has a terrible stutter, and Geoffrey Rush as a raffish Australian speech therapist.

Yes, he replied, Lionel Logue.

“So you know the story.”

Not the story of the movie, he said. “Lionel Logue saved my father’s life.”

When I responded with speechlessness, he explained that his father, as a young man, wanted passionately to be a newspaper reporter, but couldn’t interview people because he stuttered. Then he met Lionel Logue, who cured him in less than a year”

This is not the first time Keith Murdoch has been directly connected with a film.

After beginning his career in journalism with The Age in Melbourne he made a name for himself covering the Gallipoli campaign in Turkey, a military fiasco which was brought to the screen as Peter Weir’s Gallipoli (1981).

His son Rupert was by then a powerful newspaper owner and helped produce the film before going on to buy Twentieth Century Fox in 1985.

> Rupert Murdoch, Keith Murdoch and Lionel Logue at Wikipedia
> Gallipoli at IMDb
> Joe Morgenstern’s piece at the WSJ
> The King’s Speech LFF review

Awards Season News

Tom Hooper wins the DGA award

Tom Hooper was the surprise winner of the DGA award last night for The King’s Speech.

Although David Fincher was favoured by many Oscar pundits after The Social Network dominated the season so far, Hooper won the union’s prize for outstanding achievement in feature film at last night’s ceremony in Hollywood.

The nominees were David Fincher (The Social Network), Christopher Nolan (Inception), Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) and David O. Russell (The Fighter), a line-up which was mirrored in the Oscar nominations, aside from Nolan who missed out there as the Coen Brothers (True Girt) were favoured by the Academy.

The DGA is a key award as only six times in 62 years has the winner not gone on to claim Best Director at the Oscars, with the most recent exception being 2003, when DGA winner Rob Marshall (Chicago) lost out to Roman Polanski (The Pianist).

With a just a month until the Oscars on February 27th, some are now predicting that The King’s Speech is now the favourite to beat The Social Network.

After the film about King George and his speech therapist won at the Producers Guild of America last weekend, it looked like the tide could be turning against Fincher’s film which had dominated the awards season so far.

But it looks like The King’s Speech will now be entering the final stretch as the favourite, although why does a gut feeling tell me that it’s not totally over for The Social Network?

> DGA awards
> Awards season analysis at In Contention, Awards Daily and Hollywood Elsewhere

Awards Season Behind The Scenes Interesting

How the King Got His Speech Back

After rave reactions on the festival circuit The King’s Speech finally opens in the UK today and the story of how it came to the screen is a fascinating one.

The film traces the relationship between Prince Albert (Colin Firth) and an unconventional speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), who helped him overcome a crippling stammer as he eventually assumed the throne – as George VI –  and helped rally his people during World War II.

Directed by Tom Hooper, it is a superbly crafted period piece but also a genuine crowd pleaser with surprising levels of humour and emotion.

Already a frontrunner for the Oscars, Colin Firth follows up his performance in A Single Man with another reminder of how good he can be in the right role, whilst Rush is equally good as the man who helps him.

This is the kind of film that might appear on the surface to be another British costume drama beloved of middle class, Telegraph reading audiences but it is actually much more than that.

By exploring the pain and anguish behind the King’s stutter, it is not only a surprisingly emotional film but also a sneakily subversive one.

Not only does it allows us to see how Logue’s irreverent treatment stripped the ultimate aristocrat of his social hang ups, but how two people from different backgrounds eventually became friends.

But the story behind the film is equally fascinating, involving a veteran screenwriter with a stutter and the late Queen Mother.

At 73 David Seidler is considerably older than many of his screenwriting peers, with previous films including Tucker: The Man and his Dream (1988), directed by his high school classmate Francis Ford Coppola, and The King and I (1999).

What makes the film uniquely personal for the writer is the fact that as a child he grew up with a stutter and found inspiration in how King George VI overcame similar difficulties.

Although born in England, Seidler was raised in America in Long Island and underwent speech therapy over a number of years before managing to cope with the condition at the age of 16.

But the experience left its mark, and speaking to Newsweek recently he said:

“You carry it within you for a long time. I’m still a stutterer, but I’ve learned all the tricks so that you don’t hear it”

It was over thirty years ago that he first started work on a script for what would eventually become The King’s Speech and in his research the enigmatic figure of Lionel Logue kept cropping up.

Even years after the King had died, Logue was still a figure of whom little was known as the issue was still a painful one for the royal family and, in particular, the Queen Mother.

After some detective work Seidler eventually tracked down Dr Valentine Logue, a son of Lionel who was now a retired Harley Street brain surgeon.

In 1981 they met in London and Logue Jnr showed the screenwriter the notebooks his father had kept while treating the monarch.

However, Logue wouldn’t do the film unless the writer secured written permission from the Queen Mother. After writing to Clarence House, he received the following request:

‘Please, Mr Seidler, not during my lifetime, the memory of those events is still too painful.’

It wasn’t until 2002 that the Queen Mother passed away at the age of 101 and in 2005 Seidler struggled with a bout of throat cancer.

As part of his recovery he resumed work on his script for The King’s Speech and after an early draft decided to turn it into a stage play in order to focus on the characters.

It was eventually picked up by Bedlam Productions, who optioned it and then joined forces with See-Saw Films who felt that a film project could work.

Geoffrey Rush became attached early on and a staged reading of the play in Islington, North London was seen by the parents of a British director named Tom Hooper, who was then filming the HBO mini-series John Adams.

After being sent the script, and persuaded by his Australian mother that it was really good, he eventually got around to reading it and was keen to direct it as a film, which like John Adams, explores them interior lives of famous historical figures.

When Colin Firth came on board, the production – after nearly 30 years – was finally going to happen.

Weeks before filming began, Hooper and the production team got their hands on Logue’s original diaries which informed the sequences between Rush and Firth.

After filming in the UK last year it got its world premiere at the Telluride Film Festival in early September where it got a rave reaction from the audience and was immediately talked of as an Oscar contender.

A week later at the Toronto Film Festival it got similar reactions, winning the Audience Award, and for Seidler it was an emotional moment:

“I was overwhelmed because for the first time ever, the penny dropped and I felt I had a voice and had been heard. For a stutterer, it’s a profound moment”.

The King’s Speech opens in the UK today and is currently out in the US

> My LFF review of The King’s Speech
> Find out more about Lionel Logue at Wikipedia
> Early reactions to The King’s Speech at Telluride and Toronto
> InContention interview with Tom Hooper, Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush at Telluride
> An interview with writer David Seidler at Stutter Talk


UK Cinema Releases: Friday 7th January 2011


The King’s Speech (Momentum Pictures): A superbly crafted period drama about the relationship between King George VI and his speech therapist provides a memorable showcase for its two lead actors.

Beginning in 1925, the film traces how with Prince Albert (Colin Firth), The Duke of York, enlisted the help of an unconventional speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), who helped him overcome a crippling stammer as he eventually assumed the throne and helped rally his people during World War II.

The bulk of the film explores the relationship between the stiff, insecure monarch and the charmingly straightforward Logue, his loving and supportive wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham-Carter) and the royal relatives who may have contributed to his problem.

Having spent his life in the shadow of his domineering father, George V (Michael Gambon), the shy Albert struggles with the responsibility of assuming the throne when his headstrong brother, Edward (Guy Pearce), decides to abdicate.

Rush and Firth are both outstanding, and their chemistry is a joy to watch, depicting the social hangups of the British class system as they gradually form a deep bond.

An astutely observed social comedy, it also has great depth as a drama, beginning and ending with sequences of considerable weight and tension.

The film has already proved a hit on the festival circuit this year and it is very hard to see audiences and Oscar voters resisting its classy blend of history, humour and emotion. [Odeon Leicester Square, Renoir, Barbican & Nationwide / 12A]

* Read our full review of The King’s Speech here *

127 Hours (Warner Bros/Pathe): Director Danny Boyle returns from the success of Slumdog Millionaire with a vibrant depiction of man versus nature.

The story here is of Aron Ralston (played by James Franco), the outdoor enthusiast who in 2003 was stranded under a boulder after falling into a remote canyon in Utah.

Beginning with an extended opening section, Boyle uses a variety of techniques (including split screen, weird angles, quick edits) to express Ralston’s energetic lifestyle as he ventures into a situation that would become ominously static.

He meets two women (Kate Mara and Amber Tamblyn) before parting with them and climbing across an isolated canyon where he becomes trapped for the next 127 hours (look out for a killer title card).

An unusual project, in that so much of it revolves around a central location, Boyle contrasts the vital specifics of Ralston’s confinement in the canyon with his interior thoughts as it becomes an increasingly desperate experience.

Using two cinematographers (Anthony Dod Mantle and Enrique Chedia) working in tandem, the ordeal is powerfully realised using a bag of visual tricks to delve deep into his physical and emotional trauma.

Franco is the joker in the pack here: with an unusual amount of screen time he hits all the notes required: exuberant daring as he cycles across Utah; determined ingenuity as he tries to escape the canyon; and the desperate, haunted pain as he stares into the face of death.

Although the grisly details might put viewers off the climax is surprisingly transcendent. [Nationwide /15]

* Read our full review of 127 Hours here *

The Next Three Days (Lionsgate): A remake of the French thriller Anything For Her, which sees a Pittsburgh college professor (Russell Crowe) plan to break his wife (Elisabeth Banks) out of jail after he becomes convinced she is innocent of a murder conviction.

Directed by Paul Haggis, it is an old fashioned tale featuring two solid lead performances and is also put together with a quiet skill and confidence which makes the plot tick along nicely.

Although there is nothing revolutionary here, there is something pleasing about a nuts and bolts thriller in the current climate of superhero, CGI-drenched world in which we now live.

Some aspects strain credibility (Crowe becomes a criminal mastermind pretty quickly) and Liam Neeson is wasted in what is essentially a cameo role, but overall this is a solid effort even though it may struggle to make an impact at the box office given the muted reception in the US and tough competition at the UK box office this week. [Nationwide / 15]

Season Of The Witch (Paramount/Momentum): A sword and sorcery adventure about two knights (Nicolas Cage and Ron Perlman) who return from the Crusades and to find their homeland devastated by the Black Plague.

When a young woman (Claire Foy) is accused of being a witch and causing the devastation, they have to escort her on a journey across the land in order to put an end to her ‘spell’.

Directed by Dominic Sena, this is a lame affair complete with hammy dialogue, unconvincing CGI and a ponderous narrative.

It feels like a paycheque affair for everyone involved and it is hard to see audiences get excited about it once the bad reviews are unleashed and the bad buzz spreads. [Nationwide / 15]

It’s Kind Of A Funny Story (Universal Pictures): The latest film from Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (the team behind Half Nelson and Sugar) comes this adaptation of Ned Vizzini’s 2006 novel, which is the story of a burnt-out teenager (Keir Gilchrist) who checks into a mental health clinic, only to find himself in the adult ward.

There he befriends a fellow patient (Zach Galifianakis) and gets to know another teenage patient (Emma Roberts) during his five day stay.

After receiving decidedly mixed reviews on the festival circuit, this didn’t exactly set the US box office alight back in October and will struggle to make an impact here in a busy week. [Nationwide / 12A]


Abel (Network Releasing): The drama of a nine-year-old boy who has stopped talking since his father left home only to then believe he is head of the family. Directed by Diego Luna. [Key Cities / 15]

Amer (Anchor Bay Films): A French horror, influenced by the giallo genre, charts the crazy journey of a Catholic schoolgirl into a mature woman. Directed by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani. [Selected cinemas / 18]

Midgets Vs Mascots (Kaleidoscope Entertainment): In what appears to be a low-budget exploitation comedy, 10 contestants (including Gary Coleman) compete for 1 million dollars in prize money. [Selected cinemas / 18]

> UK cinemas releases for 2011
> The Best DVD & Blu-ray releases of 2010

Cinema Reviews Thoughts

The Way Back

An epic escape from a Russian gulag during World War II forms the backdrop for Peter Weir’s first film in seven years.

Loosely based on Slavomir Rawicz’s book “The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom” (more of which later), The Way Back begins with an soldier named Janusz (Jim Sturgess) being sent to a remote Siberian prison camp on trumped up charges of spying.

After enlisting the help of inmates to escape, including an ex-pat American (Ed Harris) and a tough gang member (Colin Farrell), the group venture on a massive trek across Asia where they meet an orphan (Saoirse Ronan), struggle to survive and attempt to reach the safety of India.

Weir shoots everything with convincing detail: the prison camp is believably hellish and the landscapes form a frequently stunning backdrop as the prisoners venture across sub-zero Russia, the Gobi Desert and the Himalayas on their way to India.

Visually, the film feels grittier than one might expect, with D.P. Russell Boyd appearing to use a lot of natural light and the splendour of the landscapes are frequently intercut with shots of blisters and the physical cost of the journey.

The performances all round are solid: Sturgess and Harris stand out as the two lynchpins of the group; Farrell is charmingly gruff; Ronan has presence and depth and Mark Strong is believably seductive as a prison camp veteran with his own agenda.

As a narrative experience, the initial tension of the prison break quickly becomes a fight for survival as the group struggle to eat, stay warm and avoid all manner of hardships involving the harsh landscape.

This means that it lacks conventional tension, but there is a certain pleasure in the gruelling sprawl of the story as they keep moving across a bewildering variety of landscapes and adverse weather conditions on their 4,000-mile trek.

Sequences that particularly stand out are the initial prison break in a blizzard, a lake infested with mosquitoes, a harsh desert which drives them to the brink and the latter stages which involve some famous Asian landmarks.

For the most part it is absorbing and features well drawn characters, even though it occasionally suffers from the problem of mixing English and native dialogue, which in the modern era diminishes the overall authenticity of the film.

The film hinges on the central character’s desire to get back home (hence the title) to see his wife, which we see in a recurring vision, and it is hard not to be moved by the climactic depiction of the personal set against the historical.

But although The Way Back is an undeniably powerful experience, there is a problem at the very heart of the adaptation which directly relates to the original book that inspired it.

Although Rawicz’s account was acclaimed for a number of years, in 2006 the BBC discovered records that essentially debunked his version of events, even though there is evidence to suggest that the journey may have been undertaken by other people.

Peter Weir was fully aware of the controversy surrounding the book when he made the film, hence certain key changes, and overall it demonstrates the taste, tact and intelligence that has informed his career.

But given the extraordinary nature of the journey there is something dispiriting about finding out the truth about Rawicz, even if the actual trek may have been done by someone else.

It remains a powerful and handsomely constructed piece of cinema but also suffers from the shady origins of its source material.

> Official site
> The Way Back at the IMDb
> BBC News story on the controversy surrounding the book and its road to the screen

Cinema Lists

The Best Films of 2010

As usual these are my favourite films of the year in alphabetical order (just click on each title for more information).


Animal Kingdom (Dir. David Michôd): The outstanding debut feature from director David Michôd is a riveting depiction of a Melbourne crime family headed by a sinister matriarch.

Another Year (Dir. Mike Leigh): A moving, bitter-sweet drama about relationships, filled with great acting, is arguably the peak of Mike Leigh’s career.

Biutiful (Dir. Alejandro González Iñárritu): Searing exploration of life and death in a modern European city, featuring a tremendous central performance from Javier Bardem.

Black Swan (Dir. Darren Aronofsky): Swan Lake is retold with glorious intensity, channelling Polanski and Cronenberg whilst giving Natalie Portman the role of a lifetime.

Carlos (Dir. Olivier Assayas): Scintillating and immersive depiction of a 1970s terrorist with a tremendous performance by Edgar Ramirez.

Enter the Void (Dir. Gaspar Noé): Technically dazzling depiction of a dead drug dealer that also features what is possibly the greatest opening title sequence of all time.

Exit Through The Gift Shop (Dir. Banksy): An ingenious and hilarious hall of mirrors which is brilliantly executed and so much more than a ‘Banksy documentary’.

Inception (Dir. Christopher Nolan): The ingenious puzzles of Christopher Nolan’s early films were given the scale of his blockbusters in this hugely ambitious sci-fi actioner.

Inside Job (Dir. Charles Ferguson): Devastating documentary about the financial crisis which plays like a heist movie, only this time it is the banks robbing the people.

Tabloid (Dir. Errol Morris): The media feeding frenzy surrounding a bizarre 1970s sex scandal provided Errol Morris with the raw material for one of the most entertaining documentaries in years.

The Fighter (Dir. David O’Russell): A boxing story which follows a familiar path but remains energetic, inspirational and funny, with Christian Bale on career-best form.

The Kids Are Alright (Dir. Lisa Cholodenko): A perfectly pitched comedy-drama that explores modern family life with genuine heart and humour.

The King’s Speech (Dir. Tom Hooper): Wonderfully crafted period drama with two brilliant lead performances and a moving story filled with hilarious one liners.

The Social Network (Dir. David Fincher): The inside story of Facebook is a riveting tale of ambition and betrayal, which sees Fincher, Sorkin and a young cast firing on all cylinders.

Toy Story 3 (Dir. Lee Unkrich): The ground breaking animated series gets a worthy final chapter whilst maintaining Pixar’s impeccable standards of story and animation.


127 Hours (Dir. Danny Boyle)
Blue Valentine (Dir. Derek Cianfrance)
Catfish (Dir. Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost)
Four Lions (Dir. Chris Morris)
Let Me In (Dir. Matt Reeves)
Restrepo (Dir. Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger)
Somewhere (Dir. Sofia Coppola)
The American (Dir. Anton Corbijn)
The Ghost Writer (Dir. Roman Polanski)
The Illusionist (Dir. Sylvain Chomet)
Winter’s Bone (Dir. Debra Granik)

> Find out more about the films of 2010 at Wikipedia
> End of year lists at Metacritic
> The Best DVD and Blu-ray Releases of 2010

Festivals London Film Festival

LFF 2010: The King’s Speech

A superbly crafted period drama about the relationship between King George VI and his speech therapist provides a memorable showcase for its two lead actors.

Beginning in 1925, the film traces how with Prince Albert (Colin Firth), The Duke of York, enlisted the help of an unconventional speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), who helped him overcome a crippling stammer as he eventually assumed the throne and helped rally his people during World War II.

The bulk of the film explores the relationship between the stiff, insecure monarch and the charmingly straightforward Logue, his loving and supportive wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham-Carter) and the royal relatives who may have contributed to his problem.

Having spent his life in the shadow of his domineering father, George V (Michael Gambon), the shy Albert struggles with the responsibility of assuming the throne when his headstrong brother, Edward (Guy Pearce), decides to abdicate.

The screenplay by David Seidler deftly weaves these domestic tensions with the wider drama of the challenges of speaking in public, as the development of radio and newsreels create new expectations and pressures.

It is to director Tom Hooper’s credit that he keeps focused on the relationships at the heart of the film and steers well clear of the ponderous self importance that can afflict British period dramas.

Much of the appeal lies in the culture clash between Lionel and Albert: the Australian-born failed actor and the heir to the throne make for an amusing odd couple, but the connection they gradually form over the years is believable and touching.

Their sequences provide an impressive showcase for the two lead actors: Firth convincingly depicts the underlying frustration and pain of someone suffering a stammer, whilst Rush is delightfully irreverent as the one person who can engage him.

Firth seems to have been re-energised by his work in last year’s A Single Man.

Although this role might seem like a return to the repressed English gentleman he was often typecast as, he brings real nuance and feeling to the role, which could have easily slipped into cliched bluster.

Rush is magnetic as an eccentric whose wit and empathy gradually erode the aristocratic barriers blocking his patient.

Combined, their chemistry is a joy to watch as they depict the social hangups of the British class system as they gradually form a deep bond.

In supporting roles the standouts are Bonham-Carter, who is pleasingly restrained and dead-pan; Michael Gambon as an imposing George V; Guy Pearce as the smarmy Edward and Jennifer Ehle as Lionel’s loving wife.

Hooper demonstrated with his work on HBO’s John Adams that he has a great eye for period detail and the interior lives of historical figures: he achieves the same level of intimacy here with the main characters and crafts a believable recreation of the era.

Danny Cohen’s camera work is a key part of this, artfully framing the characters with a wide lens, whilst also using a Steadicam to give certain sequences an intriguingly fluid feel for a period piece.

The technical contributions across the board are excellent: Tariq Anwar’s crisp editing keeps things moving smoothly; Eve Stewart’s production design is richly detailed and the costumes by Jenny Beaven are first rate. (The only slight lapse is some CGI work near the end).

‘Crowd-pleaser’ is a term that can often signify something sentimental, but The King’s Speech is likely to give a lot of pleasure to audiences across a wide spectrum.

An astutely observed social comedy, it also has great depth as a drama, beginning and ending with sequences of considerable weight and tension.

The film has already proved a hit on the festival circuit this year and it is very hard to see audiences and Oscar voters resisting its classy blend of history, humour and emotion.

The King’s Speech premieres at the London Film Festival tonight and screens on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th. It opens in the UK on January 7th 2011.

> The King’s Speech at the LFF
> IMDb entry