Released: 4th March
Seen: 23rd August
The “story about a small event that happened during one of the world wars” film is something that seems to come about yearly, either a film set during one of the wars that uses the horrific events as a backdrop for something else (such as the 2019 film The Aftermath) or actually telling a story that happened during either war (such as the 2020 film 1917). At this point it feels like we’ve been told every possible story about these two wars and yet they keep on making them for no perceivable reason other than an enjoyment of using the grimy filter that probably came with the cameras when they bought them… it certainly can’t be because there’s an interesting story worth telling because I just sat through Six Minutes To Midnight and it definitely didn’t have one of those.
Six Minutes To Midnight is a WW2 Spy Thriller about a finishing school for daughters of the Nazi elite. One of the teachers, who was actually a British agent, has gone missing from his position at the school and so they send in Thomas Miller (Eddie Izzard) to see if he can find out what happened. With time working against them, Thomas must find out what is happening at the finishing school, run by Miss Rocholl (Dame Judi Dench), and just who is responsible for the disappearance of the agent that came before.
If Six Minutes To Midnight is anything, it’s dull… which shouldn’t be possible when it has Dame Judi Dench, Eddie Izzard and Jim Broadbent in the cast. That trio alone should make this film absolutely engaging, they’re some of the best actors of our generation and yet in this film they all feel like they could easily be replaced with average day players for all that they bring to the roles… then again, the roles they’ve been given are so bland that even a charismatic trio like this almost seem to be phoning it in.
Trying to maintain full interest in Six Minutes To Midnight is impossible, even at a little over 90 minutes it feels like an exhausting slog that wouldn’t be out of place as a made for TV movie that was shown at midday on a school day so that there could be some sound coming from the house when everyone’s out and about. It’s just so dull and lifeless that even moments that should be exciting, like a chase scene involving members of a marching band, feel like they’re just being done by the numbers.
It doesn’t shock me in the least that the director of Six Minutes To Midnight is mostly known for TV work because TV directing work kind of demands that you not show off your own personality so it can slip in with the rest of the series – and judging by Six Minutes To Midnight the director has no unique visual personality whatsoever. If you watched this movie and were asked “what else has the director done?”, on instinct you would go “Oh something like Downton Abbey”, that’s how bland this thing is. White toast and a glass of milk has more flavour.
Let’s be real, the second you saw that Six Minutes To Midnight was a film about a school during WW2 you pretty much knew that this was going to be a film that only appeals to people who were alive during WW2, and even then it probably only appeals to them as an excuse to have a nap somewhere other than their favourite chair. There is certainly an interesting movie in this story somewhere, a British spy teaches an English class to a bunch of Nazi children? Yeah, that should be absolutely fascinating but it’s almost like the film actively avoids the interesting parts of the relationship between the teacher and the kids and hopes that the occasional shootout between spies will cover for it… sorry, that’s not working here.
Six Minutes To Midnight is dull. It’s beige. It’s a fresh piece of blank paper in film form. There is nothing here and considering the talent that went into it, I would expect there to be something worth recommending. It almost feels like everyone involved was tasked with making a war film and just did the first thing that came to mind without any actual effort, which I know they didn’t do because these performers are legends for putting their all into everything. It just doesn’t work and is going to be forgotten in no time…probably within about 6 minutes of finishing it.