In the years before World War II, the Augusta-Victoria College, a girls’ boarding school in Bexhill-on-Sea, catered to a very particular audience: The brothers and goddaughters of major Germans and high ranking Nazi officers. It’s thought that the aim of this college was to instruct the women in the speech and British traditions and was a part of a plan to maintain England and Germany close. Patches in their pajamas exhibited a union jack and a swastika.
It is this patch that captured the attention of Eddie Izzard years back at a local museum. Izzard can also be a product of Bexhill, though she had been born in the 1960s. However, the notion of the school and this apparently underwritten chapter in history was fascinating enough to place her onto a yearslong travel exploring the strange institution that functioned in plain sight if anti-German opinion was high. The outcome is” Six Minutes to Midnight,” a good thriller which dials up the excitement round the Augusta-Victoria College with devised murders, intrigue, cops, spies plus also a secret plot for the women from England before the war breaks out.
Izzard, who co-wrote the script together with Celyn Jones (who also acts in the movie ) and manager Andy Goddard, plays the role of Thomas Miller, that comes to the college to interview for a position following the former educator, Mr. Wheatley (Nigel Lindsay), disappears. The headmistress, Miss Rocholl (Judi Dench) is somewhat cautious of Miller’s journeyman restart but provides him a shot she learns that his father was German and he talks the language. He immediately endears himself to all the women but also begins noticing an increasing number of oddities concerning the propaganda-y education of their school’s German teacher Ilse (Carla Juri) — that listens to Nazi broadcasts and contributes”sieg heil” chants.
Miller, we find, has a schedule also. He is working together with the British Secret Service to investigate the faculty and Wheatley’s disappearance. Matters get more barbarous when Wheatley’s body washes up on the coast and, after, Miller overhears a plan to flee the women in the middle of the evening and ship them straight back to Germany.
“Six Minutes to Midnight” is fun enough if a bit underwhelming. It is handsomely and nostalgically shot at a vibrant beachfront locale, which should not be surprising considering Goddard also has”Downton Abbey” credits to his name. Plus it’s likable actors during: Izzard is empathetic and persuasive; Dench gets a proper and commendable role following the”Cats” and”Artemis Fowl” battles; James D’Arcy frees his scenes up within an arrogant cop; and Jim Broadbent adds a little bit of joy and life within a affable bus driver.
However, the movie can be rather rushed and looks disinterested in the particulars of its story. Rarely do you wish for something to be more, but”Six Minutes to Midnight” likely would have profited from 30 additional minutes of character development and scene setting. The movie does not leave any breathing space for to know or care about the teenaged girls in the middle of all or get a feeling of what it had been like to become a German teenager in Sussex at 1939. We do not understand what they feel about matters: Their legacy, their parents, Ilse (another obscure puzzle ) or the imminent war. It makes it difficult to feel much of anything to their destiny by the orgasm.
Maybe Izzard was simply cautious of falling prey to her own jokes about silent and subtle British movies and wanted to get into the action.
“Six Minutes to Midnight,” an IFC Films release in theatres Friday, is ranked PG-13 from the Motion Picture Association of America for”some violence”