The affection afforded this British movie by other UK reviewers is absolutely on the money - "Third Star" is a superbly realised little film with a huge beating heart. I was very moved...
The story goes like this - James' lifelong but hapless pals decide that one last adventure will be a hoot and morale booster for their mate who is dying from an incurable disease - so they drag his three-wheeler chair loaded up with tents, drug suplies and a potted tree they will plant at journey's end - across fields, forest and coastal terrain. Their destination is Barafundle Bay - a stunning, secluded inlet in Wales that James adores. And you can see it in James' face too. He thinks that if he can just get there 'intact' - everything will be all right somehow. But of course nothing goes to plan and despite the odd belly-laugh along the way, the journey tests their friendship and loyalties to the absolute limit...
First up - praise has to go to HATTIE DALTON for her warmth and steady Direction in what could have been awfully cheesy material that's been done to bits too many times before. She's given this buddy-buddy story a lightness of touch that feels real and isn't forced. In fact, the constant wit and pranks reflect just how guys are when they're in real emotional turmoil - downright childish even. Kudos should also go to the four male leads who had to gel together convincingly, muck in on the arduous trek and physically brave the coastal weather - none of which can have been easy - or in the case of the freezing Irish sea - deeply unpleasant. And when the reality of their friend's terminal illness slowly begins to kick in and intrude on their 'fun' - they're skills as good actors make you 'feel' the heaviness of what their characters are all trying to block out.
Principal lead Benedict Cumberbatch has many fans - and on the strength of his acting chops both here and on "Sherlock" (the UK TV series) - it's easy to see why. His James is a demanding lead-role - a frustrated 29-year old who is being eaten-alive by cancer. His longing to live - to have more time - to realise at least some of his dreams - are always at the surface - and you ache for him as he slips in and out of a morphine-induced stupor that is numbing his escalating physical agony. As well as the pain - James has to also contend with his squabbling, tetchy pals - who are trying to be cool about it all but are freaked out inside and increasingly awkward with his now impending loss.
His fellow travellers consist of Adam Robertson as the witty and yet dependable Bill, Tom Burke as the needy but sincere Davy and JJ Feild as the handsome devil-may-care Miles (surely a new Jude Law in the making). They will even encounter Hugh Bonneville (of Downton Abbey fame) as a nutty Beachcomber looking for rare Star Wars toys. The dialogue is playful, smart and confrontational when it's needed. And then they're faced with the ultimate true-friendship decision - but can any or all of them - actually go through with it? Even with this much sadness at its core and end, "Third Star" remains hopeful - a sign of a great film rather than just a good one.
EXTRAS include a brief 'Making Of' and two shorts by Hattie Dalton called "The Banker" and "One Of Those Days". The only real let down for me is that it's on DVD only - and not BLU RAY - where all that great camera work would surely shine even more.
There are moments in "Third Star" when you genuinely ache for James' loss - when you hurt at the arbitrary cruelty of life - snubbing out one person, but letting another live. This is a very good movie - one that celebrates life and makes you think about it too.
Put it high on your rental/to buy list...
on 25 April 2012
Third star actually has four stars in it (maybe five if you count the scenery) and certainly deserves 5 stars as a movie. Beautiful, beautiful film. I didn't laugh 'til I cried, but I laughed and cried in equal measure until the end, when the lump in my throat and the tears in my eyes became constant. Simply brilliant. I've just turned 60, so to die now wouldn't be something I'd welcome but at least I have children and grandchildren carrying my genes and memories of me onward, and I've reconciled myself to an unexceptional life. To face death at less than half that age, with no children and a sense of a future unwritten would be so hard. Hats off to B.C. and cast and crew -- best film I've seen this year.
on 10 November 2011
Since BBC's "Sherlock" (it aired in Germany this summer) I'm crazy about Cumberbatch's performances. He can show so much emotions with his eyes, it's amazing. And there are really a lot of emotions in this film. I'm a fan of Great Britain and English TV productions and movies for many years. I buy a lot of DVDs in the UK.
I found this film by accident, but I'm glad I did. "Third Star" was very touching and I have to admit, I didn't understand all of the dialogues when I watched the film for the first time.
I found the screenplay on a blog and the more often I watched the film (I think I watched it at least 7 times), the more I understood of the dialogues. I don't like a German dubbing it's never full of emotions and often the voices don't fit to the actor. I prefer to listen to the actors and the emotions they deliver while playing the scene in the English version.
If I don't understand all of it it's ok for me, the feelings the actors express with their faces and voices are enough for me to know what is going on. This film has touched me deeply and I still have to cry when I remember the beautiful scenes. The tragic theme (terminal illnes and pain) is well balanced with a lot of fun the boys have on their trip. This Buddy-movie is one of the best films I have ever seen. And I love sad films, the last film that made me cry like this was "reign over me" with Adam Sandler.
I love to watch films, that really make me feel and here I got a rollercoaster ride of emotions. It goes from comic, to sadness to bravery, trust, dignity and the bounderies you are able to cross for the ones you love. And you fall for the complete cast and wish to know people like that, friends you can be so close with, like James (Cumberbatch) is. He is sick, in a lot of pain and trusts them and isn't humiliated in any way. There is a great chemistry the actors deliver on screen together.
My favourite scene is set right after the boys went for a swim at Barafundle Bay. They take a walk on the beach and enjoy themselves, James (Cumberbatch) just sits there in some distance by himself and watches them with so much love in his eyes. Then he smiles warm and happy at them. This is the scene where I usually start to cry and can't stop till the end of the film. Very, very touching. I didn't have to cry about that part, when I watched it for the first time, just when I already knew what will happen in the end. I think the scene has become more beautiful with the knowledge of how this story continues and you can watch this film over and over again.
I've read, that the film was shown in Zurich with German subtitles. It's sad that we don't get any subtitles on the DVD.
on 23 April 2012
Oh my lord, if you think Benedict Cumberbatch is good as Sherlock then you really should see him in Third Star.
Benedict plays someone who has terminal cancer and whilst the premise doesn't sound particularly inspiring or uplifting, let me tell you it's much, much more than that. The film is beautifully bittersweet and immensely thought-provoking. It's just on the right side of each feeling it makes you endure. It's funny, moving, painful to watch at times and just incredibly emotional.
Everyone delivers wonderful performances in their respective roles (the film solely focusing on just the four male friends), but it's a sheer tour de force by Benedict playing the cancer-stricken young man who knows he has little time left, but wants just that extra bit more.
I found myself laughing quite a lot at the beginning, but the more the film went on, the more distressing I found it, particularly some of the scenes where Ben's character is in such pain. And ultimately, well, I won't spoil it, but let's just say that the ending delivered the final blow so that I was an emotional wreck by the time the credits rolled.
Beautifully told, beautifully acted and just a beautiful film. Watch it, but have the tissues handy....
on 16 September 2011
I had pre-ordered this DVD solely on the strength of Benedict Cumberbatch starring in the film which I had never heard of before. Last night, I watched it once, then watched it straight all over again. This is a brilliant film, a real must-see!
As the story revolves around Benedict Cumberbatch's character James who suffers from terminal cancer, obviously the film was bound to stand or fall with his performance. No fear, because Ben is his usual excellent self in this. However, to call the other three actors who make up the foursome that sets out on this truly epic roadtrip, supporting cast would do them no justice at all. They are very much co-stars and the relationships between the four characters are very believable and touching.
This film was funny, sad, sometimes hilarious and I cried buckets at the end. The dialogue was snappy and natural throughout, and some of the characters express some very brave opinions which is not always a given with movies that deal with terminal illness. I must mention the camera work on this, too, which gave us some absolutely breathtaking shots of the gorgeous Welsh landscape.
Extras on this DVD consist of some (unfortunately brief) behind the scenes footage and two very good short films by the director of Third Star.
The only criticism I have has nothing to do with the film itself but instead with the fact that there are no subtitles available which will be a disappointment for hearing impaired viewers.
James (Benedict Cumberbatch) has terminal cancer and as a swan song he wants to go to his favourite place one more time before the Grim Reaper makes an early appearance. In order to help him he takes his three longest and dearest friends to help him. They are Davey, Miles and Bill and they have made a special wheel chair to get him to the stunning Welsh coast line of Barafundle Bay.
He needs his medication which he taking in higher dosage to deal with the pain, but on the way he is determined to make the most of his trip. They have a long trip ahead of them and he wants it to be just them, no mobile phones etc. As their progress continues events conspire to throw up all manner of issues from the past and even some from the future and cracks in the friendships soon appear which they are forced to deal with.
Life is a journey and the metaphor here is obvious. For the viewer to care the characters have to be both believable and likeable, and to a great extent they manage to achieve this; despite some very juvenile pranks along the way. The cast put in some commendable performances and the scenery and framing of the shots is all excellent. It deals with the issues around death but also that of a life lived well and how one judges it. I found it to be compelling, moving and a rewarding watch. Made by the BBC in association with the Welsh Film Board this is what the BBC do best, a great drama. Well made, acted and makes you think - recommended
on 12 April 2012
I found the trailer online for this and watched it and I just had to get the DVD, it really is a great film. I would not have thought to have watched it at all but the trailer made it look so funny I thought I would give it a go.
All four of the boys are amazing and I have always been a fan on J.J.Field and Benedict Cumberbatch. I love J.J's acting style, particularly his witty scenes in this film but as I said all four of them are brilliant.
It is really funny but has the serious side to it as well and of course the emotion which you will definitely need tissues for this film no matter how many times you watch it. The scenery is beautiful in the film and the music suits it perfectly, particularly the James Vincent McMorrow song at the end, that really gets me blubbing!
Plus if you have ever wondered what Hugh Bonneville looks like in denim shorts then you really need this DVD, his character is an absolute hoot!!!
I watched this film with my girlfriend. Her pal often sends me DVD's to watch and then asks my girlfriend what I thought of the various films that she sent. Apparently I am seen as a bit of a cynic. I refute such a thought; I say that I like films which convince me that the events in the film are actually happening. Third Star did that. I had to constantly choke back the tears. Well, I can't have my girlfriend see that I am 'human' now, can I?
One reviewer ponders on the question as to whether the film appeals more to a man than to a woman; that I don't know for sure, but I can say that I pointed out various points about the emotions of the men long before they declared such emotions verbally on screen. Normally it is my girlfriend telling me that I don't understand emotions and hence I don't understand women, smile.
I can't fault the film, or any of the actors. So, now an admission: I am a Benedict fan, smile.
on 15 July 2014
Having recently discovered Sherlock & Cabin Pressure, this film appeared on my Recommendations list and, despite not normally being a fan of weepy films, I mentioned it when my sister was asking about possible birthday presents. I summoned up the courage to watch it last night, knowing it was going to be hard to watch owing to personal circumstances with watching loved ones suffering from this horrible illness.
First off, this film is a heartbreaker, and I am not ashamed to admit that I sobbed through the last thirty minutes or so of it, as it came to its rather beautiful but devastating conclusion. Benedict Cumberbatch is a genuinely astonishing actor, and I could truly believe his portrayal of James, a 29-year old with terminal cancer who wants to visit his favourite place with his three best friends, while struggling to walk even a tiny distance and having to be pushed in his cart (or carried) for most of the way. The film centres around the journey the four men take to get there, both physically and emotionally, and truths are told, secrets shared and there are, thankfully, some very funny moments too. You can believe that these four men love and care about each other despite the semi-frequent rows.
All four main actors deserve much praise for their work in this film, BC obviously steals the show but JJ Feild's portrayal of a man who is deep down terrified of his best friend's impending death and struggling with the secret he holds is stunning.
This is possibly the best film I have seen for some time, I woke up this morning with the story still on my mind and I imagine it will stay with me for quite some time.
on 25 June 2014
I became a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch through Sherlock and then started discovering his other work, at all times without disappointment.
But this is, in my opinion, one of his best performances. His portrayal of the young, but old-fashioned James (note the clothes!) who just wants more time, is heart-wrenching and inspiring in equal measure.
I don't want to repeat what's already been said about the plot. What I will say is all the cast were expertly picked and brilliant in their performances. I initially thought Miles was a **** but eventually came to love him, I felt affinity to the kind and loyal Davy, I revelled in the child-like joy of Bill. And more than anything I saw in James something I think I needed to see; mortality. I watch this film now when I feel I need perspective, to remind me not to waste my time, to make the best of everything.
It's not often I come away from a film feeling something deeper than just being entertained. It stayed with me for days after the first viewing.
And as an added point about Benedict's acting, his portrayal of someone suffering terminal cancer is scarily real. He is, simply put, a master of his craft.