Tagged: Alexandra Roach

Testament Of Youth

Summary: Based on the popular novel of the same name Testament Of Youth is a coming of age story that follows Vera Brittain (Alicia Vikander), a young girl growing up as England heads into World War I. Before the War Vera’s biggest problem is trying to get into university to study literature during a period when a woman’s studies were considered a waste of time.

Upon getting into University though Vera learns that the war is beginning to spread across Europe. Soon she finds herself right in the middle of it as her brother, Edward (Taron Egerton), her fiancé Roland Leighton (Kit Harington) and best friends Geoffrey Thurlow (Jonathan Bailey) and Victor Richardson (Colin Morgan) are all sent off to Europe to serve. As the stories coming from the frontline get worse and worse Vera decides to put her studies on hold and instead become a volunteer nurse.

Year: 2014

Australian Cinema Release Date: 23rd April, 2015

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United Kingdom

Director: James Kent

Screenwriter: Juliette Towhidi, Vera Brittain (autobiography)

Cast: Hayley Atwell (Hope), Jonathan Bailey (Geoffrey Thurlow), Anna Chancellor (Mrs. Leighton), Taron Egerton (Edward Brittain), Laura Elsworthy (Nurse Scott), Henry Garrett (George Catlin), Kit Harington (Roland Leighton), Alison Harris (Vad), Charlotte Hope (Betty), Colin Morgan (Victor Richardson), Jenn Murray (Dorothy), Miranda Richardson (Miss Lorimer), Alexandra Roach (Winifred Holtby), Joanna Scanlon (Aunt Belle), Branwen Summers (Vad), Julie Vollono (Mrs. Ellinger), Daisy Waterstone (Clare Leighton), Emily Watson (Mrs. Brittain), Dominic West (Mr. Brittain), Barney White (Billy), Alicia Vikander (Vera Brittian)

Runtime: 129 mins

Classification: M

 

OUR TESTAMENT OF YOUTH REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

David Griffiths:

Every now and then a film comes along that leaves you thinking ‘wow… just wow.’ In the time of special effects and CGI it’s normally been something epic happening on the screen that causes that response. Sadly, it is rarely a film that totally engrosses you in both its visual beauty and immersing storyline. But that is where Testament Of Youth comes to its fore… this is a film that will stick with its audience for a long, long time to come.

While many films often lack the ‘feel’ of the novel they are based here screenwriter Juliette Towhidi (who recently also showed her skills on Love, Rosie) manages to capture all of the teenage angst and anger that the real Vera Brittain wrote in her autobiography. For once a screenwriter read the novel they were adapting and understood exactly what the writer was trying to get across to their audience. Testament Of Youth is anti-war but it is a film that is supposed to show how important it was that men did die during the conflict and also graphically depicts why war is such a nasty affair for the people left behind.

What stands Testmant Of Youth apart from the many other films that have tried to show the horrors of war is the creative styling of director James Kent and veteran television director who is at the helm of his feature film. Kent brings a real beauty with this film working with his cinematographer in such a way that at times the images on the screen feel like you are looking at paintings. Even the most hardened emotionally draining scene seems to have an air of beauty around it with Kent in the director’s chair. Perhaps what shows his skills the most though is the fact that this is a film that is able to depict the horrors of war without ever actually showing a battle. The scenes of soldiers with limbs blown off or suffering from battle shock grouped together by something as simple as a father scouring the list of war dead in the newspaper does more than enough to show the audience how evil war can be without an overly graphic battle sequence.

Having heaped praise on the film though it is only fair to warn cinema goers that Testament Of Youth is not a film that is going to be enjoyed by all. The film is slow in pace and if films like Atonement have had you snoring then it is likely you won’t be a fan of this film either. Still the positives of this film largely outweigh the negatives and the fact that this film delivers such a powerful message about subjects as deep as feminism and the horrors of war without ever feeling that it has become bogged down just shows how talented the team of filmmakers behind it really are.

Also making Testament Of Youth a must see are the performances of its cast. Taron Egerton (who most would remember from Kingsmen: The Secret Service) and Kit Harington (yes Jon Snow from Game Of Thrones) put in such great performances that they are both virtually unrecognizable in their roles. Both show that they have the acting ability to go far beyond the roles that made them household names. But the strongest performance here comes from Alicia Vikander, an actress who has been on nearly everybody’s ‘star on the rise’ list since her performance in Anna Karenina. Her Vikander out performs her age and shows that she deserves to mentioned as one of the best young actresses in the industry at the moment. With Testament Of Youth she easily overcomes everything thrown at her and delivers a emotionally powerful performance that helps make this one of the films of the year.

Next time somebody says that there are no great films made any more point them in the direction of Testament Of Youth. This powerful film delivers a strong message about war while also making the audience wish that James Kent had turned his hand to directing features a lot earlier in his career. The beauty of this film is hard to describe in words but it is enough to show that Kent is one director that has been underestimated over the years. Aided by some amazing cinematography and an outstanding acting performance by Alicia Vikander Kent has helped create a film that is worthy of five stars.

 

Stars(5)

 

 

 

Greg King:

You can hear Greg’s full Testament Of Youth review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #126

 

Stars(3)

 

 

Nick Gardener:

You can hear Nick’s full Testament Of Youth review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #126

 

Stars(3)

 

 

Average Subculture Rating (out of 5):  Stars(3.5)

 

IMDB Rating: Testament of Youth (2014) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Testament Of Youth reviews: You will also be able to hear our Testament Of Youth review on The Good The Bad The Ugly Film Show Ep #126. You can also read our Testament Of Youth review on The Book The Film The T-Shirt.

Trailer:

Anna Karenina

Summary: The third collaboration of Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley with acclaimed director Joe Wright, following the award-winning boxoffice successes Pride & Prejudice and Atonement, is a bold, theatrical new vision of the epic story of love, adapted from Leo Tolstoy’s timeless novel by Academy Award winner Tom Stoppard (Shakespeare in Love). The story powerfully explores the capacity for love that surges through the human heart.

Set in late-19th-century Russia high-society, the aristocrat Anna Karenina (Knightley) enters into a life-changing affair with the affluent Count Vronsky (Johnson). As Anna questions her happiness and marriage to Alexei Karenin (Law), change comes to all around her.

Year: 2013

Australian Cinema Release Date: 14th February, 2013

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: UK

Director: Joe Wright

Screenwriter: Tom Stoppard, Leo Tolstoy (novel)

Cast: Marine Battier (Mlle. Roland), Max Bennett (Petritsky), Bodil Blain (Princess Sorokina Senior), Nicholas Blatt (Major Domo), Antony Byrne (Colonel Demin), Tannishtha Chatterjee (Masha), Kenneth Collard (Prince Tverskoy), Sam Cox (Kapitonich), Buffy Davis (Agafia), Cara Delevingne (Princess Sorokina), Michelle Dockery (Princess Myagkaya), Steve Evets (Theodore), Emerald Fennell (Princess Merkalova), Aruhan Galieva (Aruhan), Freya Galpin (Masha Oblonsky), Domhnall Gleeson (Levin), Tillie-Bett Grant (Baby Anya), Carl Grose (Korney), Holliday Grainger (Baroness), Paul Ham (Michael), Byran Hands (Mikhail Slyudin), Hera Hilmar (Varya), Thomas Howes (Yashvin), Giles King (Stemov), Keira Knightley (Anna Karenina), Jude Law (Karenin), Henry Lloyd-Jones (Burisov), Susanne Lothar (Princess Scherbatsky), Kelly Macdonald (Dolly), Matthew Macfadyen (Oblonsky), Eric MacLennan (Matey), Jude Monk McGowan (Tuskevitch), Oskar McNamara (Serhoza), Beatrice Morrissey (Vasya Oblonsky), Cecily Morrissey (Lili Oblonsky), Octavia Morrissey (Tanya Oblonsky), Theo Morrissey (Grisha Oblonsky), Luke Newberry (Vasily Lukich), Raphael Personnaz (Alexander Vronsky), Alexandra Roach (Countess Nordston), Guro Nagelhus Schia (Annushka), Bill Skarsgard (Makhotin), Kyle Soller (Korrsunsky), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Vronsky), Pip Torrens (Prince Shcherbatsky), Alicia Vikander (Kitty), Eros Vlahos (Boris), Emily Watson (Countess Lydia Ivanova), Olivia Williams (Countess Vronsky), David Wilmot (Nikolai), Ruth Wilson (Princess Betsy Tverskoy)

Runtime: 130 mins

Classification:M

Dave Griffiths’s ‘Anna Karenina’ Review: 

Yet another classic masterpiece of literature finds its way onto the big screen with the ambitious project from director Joe Wright (‘Hanna’, ‘The Soloist’) and screenwriter Tom Stoppard (‘Enigma’, TV’S ‘Parade’s End’), a project that has seen them turn Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel ‘Anna Karenina’ into a two-hour film.

For those who have never been forced to read the novel at school the story Based on the classic novel by Leo Tolstoy the film sees Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley – ‘Stars In Shorts’, ‘Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World’) become involved in an intense love triangle with her wealthy husband, Karenin (Jude Law – ‘Side Effects’, ‘Rise Of The Guardians’) and a young soldier, Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson – ‘Savages’, ‘Albert Nobbs’). While her relationship with Karenin seems steady, Anna must face potential status ruin if she wants to pursue this new exciting love.

Meanwhile Levin (Domhnall Gleeson – ‘Dredd’, ‘Shadow Dancer’) finally plucks up the courage to ask the beautiful Kitty (Alicia Vikander – ‘A Royal Affair’, ‘The Crown Jewels’) to marry him, but because she is also wrapped up in Vronsky she says no, which in turn shatters Levin and has him sadly wasting away.

To his credit Joe Wright doesn’t exactly rest on his laurels and produce yet another period film, no he instead decides to be a little creative and film most of ‘Anna Karenina’ inside a theatre, the end result is a film in the vein of ‘Moulin Rouge!’ that seems to suggest that this is a very public love affair that needs an audience. This inventive style, which includes sets changing in front of the audience’s eyes, does take a little while to get used to but once you feel that you are in line with the flow it actually ends up looking pretty sensational.

Still Wright is let down a little by Stoppard’s work. The original ‘Anna Karenina’ meanders through a lot of characters lives and sadly it seems that Stoppard seems to include too many of these characters in this film version. The main emphasis needs to on Anna/Karenin/Vronsky love triangle, but while the Levin and Kitty romance is entertaining to watch it seems that throughout the film it gets in the way of the main story, especially when those characters are geographically removed from being anywhere near Anna.

The big plus side to ‘Anna Karenina’ is the acting. Keira Knightley puts in one of her best performances in years and she well supported by Aaron Taylor-Johnson who although very removed from the role that made him famous, in ‘Kick-Ass’) puts in a wonderful performance… as does Alicia Vikander who on the back of her performance in ‘A Royal Affair’ indicates that she has a very big future ahead of her.

Sadly these performances are dragged down by Jude Law who surprisingly puts in one of his few poor performances. It seems as though he feels that the character of Karenin should never show emotion on his face, which seems like a poor choice seeing Karenin shows emotion in the film a lot – whether it be sadness or anger.

As far as modern blockbusters go ‘Anna Karenina’ is well worth a look. Wright’s interesting and inventive visual styling certainly brings something to the film, although there are a couple of lulls in the film that have been known to put audience members to sleep.

Other Subculture Media Reviews of ‘Anna Karenina′: Check Episode #20 of our The Good The Bad The Ugly Podcast for a more in-depth review of ‘Anna Karenina’. Dave Griffiths also has another review of ‘Anna Karenina’ available on the Helium Entertainment Channel.

Rating: 3/5

IMDB Rating:Anna Karenina (2012) on IMDb