Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Felicity Jones – Amelia Wren
Eddie Redmayne – James Glaisher
Vincent Perez – Pierre Wren
The Aeronauts genuinely surprised me with how gripping it was towards the end, especially the terrifying situation Jones’ character gets caught up (literally) in. I have to be honest, the second I saw Redmayne was one of the main characters I was turned off. Let’s face it, the man is continuously typecast as the wise but bashful professor-type; dressed in a rustic leather jacket with the collar turned up, pale faced and slightly jittery. Wouldn’t look twice at him on a dating app, but would go to him for help with an essay. He’s dull as fuck basically. But nearer the end of this movie he gives a captivating performance when James runs into trouble – and out of oxygen – as the pair reach their highest possible altitude. To be fair, I think the reason I found him so captivating was because he was frozen stiff with limited ability to do a lot both vocally and physically. His frail figure crumpled in the corner of a hot air balloon basket just seemed ideal for some reason.
That’s right. Eddie Redmayne gave a brilliant performance in The Aeronauts – because his mouth was frozen shut.
Jones is the better half of this pairing with a fantastic energy that she radiates from the moment she steps into the picture. What starts as an exaggerated character quickly becomes a fierce and determined one, taking full charge of the feature with quick-wit and snappy one-liner’s. This is Jones at her most dynamic; she is vastly different to other films she has been in where her tight-laced image puts years on her. The Aeronauts shakes off this image, throws her up in the sky and lets nature do the rest in dangerous surroundings.
And by god is it dangerous..
This movie makes the classic move of blending beauty with danger. The higher the aeronauts venture the more stunning their surroundings, but the closer they get to death. Like being trapped at the bottom of the ocean or being screwed in outer space.. the more beautiful the setting the deadlier it can be. It’s this classic contradictory element which boosts the appeal of this film hugely. And with it comes some superb SFX: misty scattered cloud and sparkling sun. Blinding flashes of lightning and saturating rainfall. Absolute silence as the balloon glides through nothing but air.. the best aspect of all this is that both characters aren’t just seeing the changing weather – they are inside it. Great stuff.
The most gripping scene is when Amelia (Jones) executes a dangerous plan and falls victim to the actual balloon itself. The screen turns black and blue as the planet’s atmosphere becomes visible (that murky line between us and the stars you see out of airplane windows). And the crusted ice coating the balloon falls away whilst she gets tangled up like a scene from Gravity (2013). It makes brilliant entertainment. It’s the icing on the cake.
(ha! I had to get that one in somewhere).
The beginning of The Aeronauts bangs on a bit. Be prepared for a lengthy introduction to the balloon and meteorologist James, dragged out even further by Amelia’s song and dance routine. The rest of the movie makes up for it though. And a little dog becomes involved as they take off – what happens to him up in the air is hilariously shocking. Too cute.
Are you a fan of flight? Weather patterns? Or Eddie Redmayne’s mouth being frozen shut? Then you might just like this.