The Aeronauts (2019)

Tom Harper directs Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne and Tom Courtney in this (not very) true story about a grieving hot air balloon pilot and a plummy weather scientist who flew higher than anyone had at that Victorian point of history.

Felicity Jones is superb in this as a theatrical “man of action”. Her gruelling set pieces are immersive and she is thoroughly seductive presence. Gaudy on the ground, knee slapping in the air, reserved with her dark emotions. Why she shares equal billing with defrosted Dean Gafney here, I have no idea? A grating, sodden presence who sits the spectacle and stunts out and has little to offer the forced narrative. He detracts from this particular film, I certainly have never seen him benefit any other ones. Posho kryptonite. A wet distraction. This has a nice look, like a coloured over monochrome picture plate in a story book. Cruikshank and crayons. Harper’s plotting choices are bland and trite, his sense of the epic vibrant. A visualist with better taste in leading ladies and plummeting silk than actors and gassy flashbacks.

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