I am obsessed with film. Honestly, if I could do nothing but watch movies, work on films and write blog entries about film, I would be one very happy individual. My recent fascination with British film and television has led me to find many new and interesting films and television series. The most recent of these was Third Star written by Vaughan Sivell, a Welsh actor and writer, and directed by Hattie Dalton, an Australian filmmaker.
Third Star tells the story of James (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), a 29-year-old man who has been diagnosed with cancer, and the last adventure he wants to take with his three best friends (played by J.J. Field, Tom Burke, and Adam Robertson) before he dies. A story about the last adventure of a dying man is quite challenging. It is hard for a film to walk the line between being over-emotional and ultimately sappy and being almost unfeeling and unfocused. Third Star manages to walk the fine line in between.
The story is emotional and yet at the same time realistic and down to earth. There are times when you forget that you are watching a film about a man’s last adventure because you are caught up in the humor and event of the moment. But, for every moment forgetting that this is James’ last adventure, there is a moment that brings it directly home.
In addition to the story being funny and serious at the same time, the cinematography is also beautiful. The cinematographer really captures the Welsh countryside in beautiful wide shots and captures the emotion of the characters in tight, breathtaking close-ups. One of my favorite techniques in this film has to be the use of the hand-held video camera. Usually, I have a hatred for this type of technique, but Third Star manages to use the technique in such a way that it is believable. The audience is shown shots of the journey through the camera that the boys take on the trip with them. That is until they lose the camera.
The acting performances in the film are also phenomenal. Even though the film’s main character is James, it is truly an ensemble performance by all of the actors. The chemistry between them is so genuine that you do believe they have grown up with each other.
All of the production aspects combine perfectly to create a film that is truly spectacular. But, what really allows this film to hit home is that the story is universal. We all have known people like James and his friends. And for someone like me, who is known to not get too emotional, this film actually left me in silence at the end. I don’t think I could recommend watching it enough.
For information about where to see Third Star or where to buy the DVD, which was released in September, please see the film’s website.
(The production still from Third Star is used for promotional purposes. To see a trailer for the film, please check below.)