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Six Minutes To Midnight (12, 111 minutes)
Eddie Izzard co-writes and stars in this Buchan-esque thriller set two and a half weeks before the outbreak of the Second World War.
The pupils at a real life 30s finishing school in Bexhill-on Sea – the daughters and granddaughters of senior Nazis – become pawns as Britain and Germany jostle for position in the build up to hostilities.
Izzard, in one of the worst cases of miscasting I’ve ever seen, plays an agent working undercover as a teacher at the school, who discovers a plan to smuggle the girls back to Germany along with, conveniently for the purposes of the storyline, a list of all the British agents in Germany.
Obviously it’s the latter that is most valuable to the Reich, but Hitler would rather the girls were dead than captives.
Eighty years ago this maybe would have worked as a matinee film noir, but Eddie, for all his talents, is certainly no Robert Donat and even with such auspicious support as Jim Broadbent and Judi Dench there’s little purpose to this ripping yarn minus the Palin jokes, even with the subplot of the girls’ welfare.
Izzard spends most of the film running – fields, beaches, hills.. there really is no limit to the surfaces he can tackle – which says far more about his/her undeniable prowess as a marathon person than it does his/her skills as an actor.
At one point Eddie dons a bandsman’s stolen uniform and looks so much like Benny Hill I half expected the strains of Yakety Sax to accompany yet another running sequence (this time on a pier – is there no beginning to his talent?).
I’ll take The 39 Steps over this tripe anytime thanks.