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3.9 out of 5 stars38
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 7 February 2011
Firstly, I think the synopsis of Incendiary (before the reviews), where it describes Michelle Williams' character as a 'promiscuous adulteress' is way off the mark. Although she does have an affair, this seems to be something she enters into after much hesitation and is in no way promiscuous. I found those comments in the synopsis a bit harsh and mildly misogynous.

This movie takes a route that's quite different from the book, which (I thought) concentrated more on the erosion of civil liberties by the government and how it manipulates and destroys people's lives, while the film is more about the personal grief of a single person. I found these differences made the original story almost irrelevant to the tale being told in the movie. The story of personal grief told in the film could easily have been accomplished by way of an original screenplay, without adapting the book at all.

Michelle Williams is outstanding in this film, easily the best thing about it. Her accent is very convincing and more that once I got teary watching her performance. The scene where Ewan McGregor's character Jasper visits her in the hospital was particularly moving. McGregor is very good too but I felt his character was sidelined about halfway through and by the end was largely irrelevant.

As for the direction, I thought it at times was too sentimental. For example, the flashbacks of her son on the beach were used far too much. I felt as though I was being clobbered and at one point I said out loud, 'Yes, I get it! Give it a rest!'. I also found the overuse of sentimental music during these scenes irritating. I think this is because I was expecting a different story - ie the one in the book. In the end, the finished film was worthy but not 'incendiary' in the way the book was.
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on 21 October 2010
I thought this film was interpeted extremely well and there was allot of natural chemistry between the actors which makes them particularly adapted to their roles. It's refreshing to see a film that reflects real life and more atune to the magiority of us struggling to make ends meet. It was exquisite to see a real mother loving her child which I saw little of in general in my life.
The film kept me interested and wondering what would happen next. I really loved Michelle Williams character who at first seemed quite a flirt then showed her true colors as a mature woman willing to stand up for what she felt and not take the easy way out.
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VINE VOICEon 29 October 2012
we bought this dvd on a whim and probably due to its cast but we didnt get around to watching it for some time. it was nothing like that we had assumed it would be which was a plus point for definate.

Its well shot, the script is superb and keeps you watching throughtout, you dont wander or get bored and its sudden change part way in is shocking. it is often hard going and very emotional especially if you have children or have been in this situation yourself which im sad to say people have been now but every angle is covered with sensitive care and never once apologises for being harsh or hard to watch. well acted by everyone and some surpising twists in human emotion.
a high quality classy film but dont expect to feel good after. superb and will recommend to all
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 August 2012
2008's 'Incendiary' is one of the better British films that I've seen in recent years. It is the story of a beautiful young mother (played by Michelle Williams) who has an affair with a journalist (played by Ewan McGregor) and suddenly, her whole life is torn apart when her husband and young son are killed in a suicide bombing at a soccer match. With her life now turned upside down, broken and alone, she tries to deal with her terrible loss and sets out to search for the truth. Things become even more complicated for her when she becomes involved with Terrance (Matthew MacFadyen), the policeman in charge of the bombing investigation.

As you can probably expect from the synopsis of which I have provided above, it is a very emotional film, and the beautiful Michelle Williams turns out a brilliant performance.

Despite the negative reviews it received upon it's release, 'Incendiary' is definitely worth watching as far as I'm concerned, and really, it is Michelle's acting which is almost reason enough to do so.

The DVD contains bonus interviews with actors Ewan McGregor, Michelle Williams, and Matthew MacFadyen separately, along with the producers Anand Tucker and Andy Paterson, and the film's director Sharon Maguire.
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on 7 June 2009
A real thriller, if ever I saw one. Characters beautifully cast, scenery well chosen and atmosphere full of suspense. Core of plot is guilt trip by unfaithful wife. Mother and son bonding, search for lost spouse, illicit love affair turning serious and a police officer with a hidden agenda could easily have been ingredients for an excessive adaptation of Chris Cleave's novel. No mediocrocy here! Sharon Maguire managed to direct the above items into a stylish and moving yet introvert film. The overall chemistry between Michelle Williams and Ewan McGregor certainly helped things along. I'd recommend this film to anyone who's into 'intelligent action' drama.
Note about the accent spoken in the film: Of course I recognised the Cockney slang. A welcoming change from any American chatter. While English is not my native speech I fully understand British accents, whereas I always need to use subtitles when watching an American film. With EastEnders being my favourite soap, watching Incendiay almost felt 'like home'.
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on 15 June 2009
Couldn't disagree more with some of the poor reviews on here regarding this film. Being a student of film and an avid film enthusiast, I thought it was fantastic and a complete success for British film. The acting was flawless, it was gritty, real, sad, frightening, and uplifting. Rarely does a film combine so many genres so effortlessly. If you are a parent, make sure you have tissues at the ready. I love the fact that it isn't so completely structured, like life itself, but that it builds slowly in drama, reaching a truly unforgettable finale. See it!
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on 29 March 2013
In 2005, Chris Cleave wrote a novel INCENDIARY about a distraught woman who writes a letter to Osama bin Laden after her four-year-old son and her husband are killed in a massive suicide bomb attack at a soccer match in London. The novel won the 2006 Somerset Maugham Award, was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers Prize, won the United States Book-of-the-Month Club's First Fiction award 2005 and won the Prix Spécial du Jury at the French Prix des Lecteurs 2007.

Three years later Director Sharon Maguire, in her first movie since 2001's Bridget Jones' Diary, made this film of Cleave's book. Michelle Williams portrays the grieving mother. Ewan McGregor and Matthew MacFadyen star as men who try to console her. (McGregor's character at the time of the bombing was sharing an "afternoon delight" with her on the living room sofa.)

Williams portrayal is masterful as she relives her son's short life in vivid happy snippets. She is not guilt-ridden nor revenge-seeking. She befriends the son of the bomber and his mother not for revenge but in empathy. The photography of the beach scenes of mother and son at play and the imaginery blimp are stunning. And the ending of the movie will haunt you for days.

Generally, the film received poor professional reviews from critics. Apparently a theme of a simple western woman who empathizes with a third world terrorist's family is too strange to grasp. Tom Charity, after viewing the film at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, gave it one star out of five and called it an "ambitious/opportunistic effort that misses the mark, from the one-dimensional characters to the craven plotting and sentimental tone."

Time Out gave it two stars out of six, saying "there are so many things wrong with writer-director Sharon Maguire's film... that it's hard to know where to start, but the fatal problem is that this is a film with an 'identity crisis'; the film at times seems like a 'study of guilt and grief' and at other times a 'conspiracy thriller' but ends up being a compendium of bizarre diversions, most of which are utterly surplus to the film's half-cocked desire to stick with the experience and emotions of its main character." The male reviewer for Time Out apparently was bent-out-of shape that an American actress was selected to portray a "nervy young British mother on a London council estate" calling the casting a joke.

Neither of these male film critics considered the film a character study nor noted Michelle Williams' stellar performance. She was in almost every scene!
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on 12 June 2013
Wonderful film about a terrorist attack on a London football stadium & the after effects it has on the woman who lost her young boy & husband in the terror. As she struggles to come to terms with what has happened she befriends the son of one of the bombers. This helps us see it's not only the victims' families who are affected by these sorts of attacks & there is a young boy on the other side waiting for his father to come home.
Michelle Williams is fantastic & utterly convincing as the mother who loses her beloved son & husband in the terror attack. I felt a real connection to her character & could feel her heart breaking on screen. She's the main draw in this film, & the other characters play bit parts in her life. Her accent was also a nice touch.
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on 1 May 2014
a nice mix or reality, a bit of grit(albeit popular terrorist plot - but i liked the change from it being the tube) - a little too topical hollywood for me but not too much, and counterbalanced with a enough of old school brit movie - with less than perfect characters, and a bit of tears.
michelle williams is brilliant, ewan macgregor is good
was working into a really great film, really getting into it, but it sadly just seems to dwindle a bit in the end, ending in a bit soppy nothing. like someone said out of budget end here, just hold and finish.
what a shame
all that said a nice enough movie and worth a watch, 4stars for the first 70% or so and 3 for the last 20ish, but not 5 stars sadly.
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on 12 June 2009
I watched this on DVD the other night and found it to be absolutely delightful. OK some of the plot elements (like the balloons) are a little weak, but the quality of the dialogue, particularly the one on one stuff is absolutely cracking. The characters are very believable, flawed individuals, trying to make sense of it all, tring to explain the historical context of the city's struggle against adversity. I found Michelle Williams portrayal very believable and I loved the voiceovers in the closing scenes. My grandmother lived through the blitz, she wouldn't have condoned the female lead's behaviour, but she would have agreed with every word which she wrote in that letter.
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