Viewed – 17 August 2021 Netflix
I’ve always been an admirer of actor Ralph Fiennes … with his often chameleon-like performances enriching many a movie. This gentle and meaningful drama set in 1939 on the eve of World War II has him as quietly spoken archeologist Basil, who is hired by ‘lady of the manor’ Edith (Carey Mulligan) who wants him to dig up some prominent mounds existing on her land. This leads to an incredible discovery.
Based on a true story this was an effective drama. Mulligan who I enjoyed in Promising Young Woman is again very good, as is Feinnes in an understated but convincing turn. The bond the unlikely friends form is quite captivating, especially as the story evolves. The backdrop of the archeological find is also fascinating, especially if you have even a passing interest in history. Also, the threat of the war starting is quite unnerving and portrayed realistically. It was the character bits that made this though, not just with the two leads, and the story proves moving and absorbing, despite a laid back tone.
Director Simon Stone has delivered an authentic and fascinating drama that wisely focuses on character as much as an historical discovery, and along with some attractive cinematography that showcases the English countryside and a moving story – I came away rather affected by this.