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Published April 12th 2021
Based on incredible true events
Six Minutes to Midnight is the ominous-sounding title of a fascinating World War Two era story brought to life on the big screen by director Andy Goddard.
Set in the perishingly beautiful coastal UK town of Bexhill-on-sea, the movie tells the story of a unique boarding school for German girls located on the English seaside as the country braces for war. Based on a true story, the film examines the lives of the girls who attend the school and the teachers who live and work there as well as interweaving a thrilling spy storyline.
Six Minutes to Midnight
The spy aspect of the film is a little clunky at times, but the storyline of the finishing school for young German girls who were the daughters of the Nazi elite is a fascinating tale that deserves to be told.
One of the film's most uncomfortable shots is seen in the very opening when the school's emblem is revealed, featuring a Union Jack next to the Nazi swastika.
Six Minutes to Midnight stars Eddie Izzard, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Andy Goddard and Celyn Jones. Izzard plays the newest teacher, Thomas Miller, at the Augusta Victoria School for Girls who uncovers a plot to remove the girls from England and is subsequently thrust into a dangerous game where he is forced to fight for his very existence.
This film is Izzard's passion project as she also grew up in Bexhill-on-sea, however, her performance does come across as slightly wooden and ill-suited to the storyline.
Judi Dench as the stalwart headmistress portrays great nuance as she naively supports the girls in their German pride and believes that she is doing the best for them.
Carla Juri's German governess has the biggest character arc in the film and she manages to bring life to the villain of the piece in an empathetic and moving way.
The real highlight of this movie (apart from the bizarre fact that it is based on real events), is the stunningly beautiful East Sussex countryside captured exceptionally by cinematographer Chris Seager. For this alone, the film is worth a visit.