Tag Archives: Pride

Half A Decade In Film – 2014

So here we are then. We are at the literal half way point in the decade, albeit the final point in our Half A Decade In Film spin-off mini-series. Yes, the fun ends here (well, about 2000+ words on from here) as Andrew, Paul, Liam, Mike and Owen each pick their favourite film of 2014.

Anybody who listened to our End of Year Awards podcast released not three months back will know just how much Failed Critics loved last year’s selection of movies. From the disturbing and eerie sci-fi Under The Skin, to the disturbing and eerie thriller Gone Girl and all the disturbing and eerie films in between, it was a hell of a year for disturbing and eerie movies, as voted for by you people.

Still, we’ve managed to find five more films to talk about, not all of them dark, violent, disturbing and / or eerie. Well, maybe one or two. Starting with…

Kundo: Age of the Rampant

kundoToday, those who serve the people, serve only their own interests, and neglect their sworn duty. Isn’t that shameful?

Directed and co-written by Yoon Jong-bin, of Nameless Gangster fame, Kundo is a Korean action packed drama set in the middle of the 19th Century.

I’m not a fan of Action films in general but I do love a good Western and thoroughly enjoy Martial Arts fight-fests. Kundo manages to combine the look, feel and sound of the former with the thrills and messy spills of the latter.

The basic story is not overly original in its theme. Jo Yoon, the illegitimate son of a nobleman, is knocked down a rung of the ladder when a fully legitimate heir is born. When he starts to show resentment toward to the new heir he is disciplined and eventually packed off to a life in the military. Many years later the nobleman’s son is killed and Jo Yoon returns to the family as a bitter, corrupt, evil and violent despot hell bent on claiming his birthright and milking his subjects for all he can get.

He hires a lowly butcher, Dol Moo Chi, to kill his dead brother’s pregnant widow to prevent the birth of a new legitimate heir that could challenge his claim as head of the dynasty. When the hitman fails in his mission, Jo Yoon’s vengeance is so brutal that Dol Moo Chi joins a secretive clan of mountain dwelling warriors and monks dedicated to righting the wrongs of despotic nobles and saving oppressed peasants from a life of slavery.

The story then follows the to-and-fro battles between the heartless Jo Yoon’s army of mercenaries and the altruistic mountain clan with Dol Moo Chi in the front line.

Although the basic plot cannot be said to be breaking new ground as a story, the way it is told is thoroughly enjoyable. The best analogy I can come up with is to imagine Quentin Tarantino (at his peak), Sergio Leone and Ennio Morricone getting together and deciding to retell the Robin Hood story.

It is beautifully shot, the acting throughout is superb, there are some fantastic fight scenes and just the right number of humorous little interludes.

There are a few issues with it though. The quality of the CGI used is pretty poor. They are not pivotal to the story but are glaringly clunky. One horseback chase sequence, in particular, is terrible. It’s less convincing than those stock moving backgrounds you see out of the window of a car in old black and white movies. There are a few countryside scenes where flocks of birds have been overlaid. They make Hilda Ogden’s “Muriel” look a masterpiece. Even little touches as insignificant as glowing embers drifting away from a fire look like afterthoughts.

But, to be brutally honest, I’m a real grump when it comes to CGI and rarely miss a chance to moan about it, I seriously doubt these issues would bother the majority of normal people.

A genuinely enjoyable film, it may lack originality but is both beautiful to look at and fun to lose yourself in.

by Liam (@ElmoreLTM)


prideI’ve had a lot of new experiences during this strike. Speaking in public, standing on a picket line. And now I’m in a gay bar.

Another late comer in the film year that I had little or no expectation for. Director Matthew Warchus hadn’t done a feature film for 15 years (his previous film, Simpatico, I’d never even heard of) but this managed to push all my buttons. The soundtrack was for me: Heaven 17, Dead or Alive, Tears for Fears, The Smiths; this was so absolutely in my wheelhouse. The period setting, the 80s, I grew up in the 80’s and it’s always portrayed poorly on film. All that miserable Shane Meadows stuff. I was born in 1970, that was a miserable shit decade, the 80’s were fucking awesome!

We get to meet two very different groups in Pride. Gay activists and striking miners. So we get a double dose of fish out of water, elderly working class Welsh ladies going to gay clubs and party boys going to a working men’s clubs for a spot of bingo. Joyous, absolutely joyous. There’s so many jokes to be had right there.

The cast are all first rate, and mainly unknown to me, though Imelda Staunton, Paddy Considine & Bill Nighy all pop up and do a turn. There’s a decent coming of age story, the mad culture clash to explore, issues of bigotry and discrimination, and yet it all hangs together beautifully and made me laugh, a lot. Proper belly ache, tears down the face, laughter. Looks great, sounds amazing, and absolutely the best of British – oh and to quote Imelda Staunton….. ““We’re just off to Swansea now for a massive les-off!”

by Paul Field (@pafster)

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America The Winter SoldierBefore we get started, does anyone want to get out?

As a series of films, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) was always just a bit of fun. I’m not denying the quality, not at all. What I’m saying is while they are all good films, I never saw any of them as “great”. Until Captain America: The Winter Soldier rocked up and smacked me around for making such stupid statements.

For the most part, the story of Steve Rogers teaming up with S.H.I.E.L.D and fighting the bad guys, all while trying to find himself in a world he doesn’t know or really fit in to, foregoes the fantastical elements of previous Marvel films and the universe they created. Instead choosing to ground itself in some kind of reality and weave us a tale of conspiracy rivaling that of most other espionage thrillers.

Make no mistake, this is an MCU film through and through. But this time around the Marvel universe feels more like a way to get some of the sillier ideas onto film. Ideas that haven’t really been acceptable since early 90’s James Bond. You know? Mechanical wing suits, hover-carrier thingies and, well, super soldiers!

Cap 2‘s greatness comes when you realise that you can take all those elements out and still be left with a top-notch spy film. A complex and engaging espionage film about shady little men trying to take over the world by using their own little terrorist army headed by a larger than life super-bad-ass bad guy. All of which can only be stopped by one man. Jason Bourne. No, James Bond? Nope. I got it, Ethan Hunt? Oh. Well, you get the idea.

My favourite part though? The fighting. I’ve said it a thousand times. A well choreographed and filmed fight can make a film great. Cap 2‘s fights hurt. Every hit is a bone crunching treat for fight fans that ramps up the stakes and forces you to feel every single punch. Captain America’s confrontation with UFC legend George St. Pierre and the first fight with the titular Winter Soldier are particularly great examples.

It’s Bourne with extra toys. Old school Bond with the ability to still have old school fun. Most importantly, it’s a brilliantly built thriller that’s grounded itself in the real world and, at least as far as I am concerned, is the best MCU film yet.

by Andrew Brooker (@Brooker411)


NIGHTCRAWLERYou can’t win the lottery unless you make the money to buy a ticket.

Some of you may have already read my review on the main site about Dan Gilroy’s atmospheric thriller. There’s not too much point in me running through the film with a fine tooth comb again, except to say that it is still my favourite movie of 2014. I had a blast watching Guardians of the Galaxy on the big screen, big tub of popcorn in hand. I loved Kundo for all the reasons Liam has stated above. Under The Skin, The Attorney, The Raid 2, Inside Llewyn Davis, Moebius; it was just a fantastic year for film. But none of those that I saw during the year, none of those that I’ve caught up with since the turn of 2015, seriously, none have bettered this expertly made, tense, psychological dark masterpiece.

Brooker touched on Jake Gyllenhaal’s resurgence in our 2011 article, yet as good as he’s been in films like End of Watch, Prisoners, Zodiac and Source Code (and that crazy violent slightly NSFW music video thing he was in), it’s definitely with Nightcrawler that he reached his apex as an actor. The sheer ludicrousness of his omission from the Academy Awards list last month was bafflingly moronic. How he could’ve been overlooked for a Best Actor award is quite frankly beyond my understanding. As the crime-scene videographer Lou Bloom, living out his twisted version of the American dream, it was arguably the best performance of the entire year.

It managed to tread that very thin line of being both sickeningly realistic and uncomfortably amusing. Not just Gyllenhaal’s performance, although that obviously is the central piece in the jigsaw, but the film as a whole. He has a suitably talented cast of actors around him including Bill Paxton, Rene Russo and Riz Ahmed; a director/writer who appears to have hit the ground running with his debut feature as a director; and some excellent cinematography courtesy of the very experienced Robert Elswit. It’s a film that has gotten even better the longer time has passed since I last watched it and I can’t wait to see it again.

by Owen Hughes (@ohughes86)

Guardians of the Galaxy

gotgHe said that he may be an… “a-hole”. But he’s not, and I quote, “100% a dick”.

Over the last few years I’ve watched quite a lot of films at the cinema, and the ones I’ve enjoyed I’ve gone back to see again, sometimes more than just twice. When 2014 came along, there was a film which I was looking forward to seeing. Another entry in the Marvel universe. As usual I had avoided seeing any trailers or even any footage for this film. On my first viewing I was blown away at how much I enjoyed it. Even on a 2nd and 3rd viewing I was enjoying it more each time, my kids loved it, and so I embarked on what turned into a marathon number of watches of Guardians of the Galaxy.

Oh go on then, I saw it 23 times in the end! “Why” I hear you cry? Mainly because (I have a Cineworld card and 3 kids who loved it as well) I just enjoyed the hell out of it. Everything about it entertained me, from the characters to the score and the soundtrack which was rather cool. It had action, it was lots of fun and had some fantastic looking spacecraft and it was just 2 hours long, a decent run time for once. I missed – or rather never got on board as Star Wars changed the world of films, and while I’ve seen films that have blown me away, they have disappeared into my collection only to see the light of day once in a blue moon. Maybe Guardians is my Star Wars, or even my kids Star Wars..? I’m not sure, I just know I really wasn’t expecting to like it so much.

James Gunn has produced a Marvel film like no other. While the other films tend to return to earth for some or most of the film, Gunn left Earth way behind. Taking his hero Peter Quill as a child into space and with some back story to give Quill a little character, just enough for us to like him, Gunn just lets the film fly. With a great opening sequence, the film powers along, and soon we are introduced to the full team, though they don’t know it yet. Rocket, a talking Racoon; Groot, a tree, who doesn’t talk much, Gamora a green assassin and Drax a beast of man looking for revenge. Really with that line up of characters this should fall flat on it’s face or at best just about hold together. Yet Gunn and his cast breathe so much life into the film that it soars. Chris Pratt is superb as Quill, he might be a rogue be he is extremely likable. Zoe Saldana is also great as Gamora, while Rocket and Groot and both voiced well by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel. It is Drax played by Dave Bautista who really steals the show; his deadpan delivery is wonderful and nothing goes over his head (his reactions are too fast!) As for the rest, Karen Gillan gives a solid performance as Nebula and Michael Rooker (a constant in Gunn’s films) is also excellent. Lee Pace continues to impress as Ronan and his one of Marvel’s better villains.

The design of this film is also superb; the look of the space crafts, the clothes, the outer space sequences are all stunning to look at. The chase sequences are exhilarating and the final battle is superb leading to a one of the best moments of the film, the dance off! Yet while the plot is rather weak it does add some weight to Thanos and may give some clues to wear Marvel are taking the films. Even so it’s still a pretty strong origins film, as it relies on its energy and the energy of the cast to get us through it. Gunn’s trick is to continue this with the sequel, it’s a big ask, but I think Gunn and his cast might just pull it off again.

by Mike Shawcross (@Shawky1969)

And there we go, we’re done, no more new Half A Decade In Film articles to go (until perhaps five year’s time when we attempt the same thing again perhaps?) You can catch all of our prior entries here, or even click this link to view the entire back catalogue of features for the Decade In Film series. As always, let us know in the comments below if you think we’ve crucially overlooked or overrated any films so far.

US Box Office Report: 26/9/14 – 28/9/14

The Equalizer has no equal, The Boxtrolls live underneath The Maze Runner, take Pride in that film’s per-screen average, these are some of the worst puns you will see all week, and Other Box Office News.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

Now that that awful headline has chased off anybody without a strong enough constitution, let’s get down to business.  The Equalizer is your new number one with $34 million in ticket sales and a per-screen average of over $10,000.  You know, despite it looking like garbage.  Still, that didn’t stop it becoming the fourth-highest September opening in history behind Hotel Transylvania, Insidious: Chapter Two, and Sweet Home Alabama which, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be googling right now to find out what the hell that was.  Chalk up the success to the presence of Denzel Washington, the Patron Saint of movies that inexplicably make a lot of money despite immediately fading from memory after viewing.  Don’t believe me?  OK, then: what year did 2 Guns come out?  The correct answer was August of last year, not that you’d get that seeing as you actually had to google 2 Guns to remember what it was.

As for the week’s other new release, The Boxtrolls, I have good news and bad news.  The good news is that the film now has the second biggest opening for a stop-motion animated film ever, behind Chicken Run, said opening is more than the ones for both Coraline and ParaNorman, and the lack of any family-focussed films on the release docket for next week gives it a strong chance of holding well!  The bad news is that it opened in third with only $17 million in ticket sales.  Again, that’s still a lot considering the genre, but, dammit, Laika deserve even more success!  I may be a bit more down on The Boxtrolls than most people, but it’s still better than most animated films I’ve seen so far this year and the company deserve a full-blown financial success after the outstanding ParaNorman barely broke even!

In limited release town: The Skeleton Twins began its move towards a wide-ish release by expanding to 385 theatres and netting a total of $1.231 million from them, for a decent per-screen average of $3,200.  Christian (the faith, not the professional wrestler) musical-drama The Song hit many bum notes on the 340 screens it infected, taking only $568,596.  Más Negro Que La Noche, a Mexican remake of the 1975 Mexican horror film of the same name (so never let it be said that only the American film industry is out of ideas), did slightly better by netting $550,000 from 178 screens.

The real winner, though, was Pride, which began its charm offensive on the American shores with a measly 6 screens.  It more than made the most of them, though, raking in a per-screen average of $13,662 for a weekend total of $81,971.  Some box office reporting outlets describe this success as “decent”, seemingly forgetting that not every limited release is a f*cking Wes Anderson project that can rack up a $200,000+ per-screen average from 4 cinemas.  Pride expands a bit further in a couple of weeks and, if you’re not sold to go and see it just yet, here’s my review to persuade you to part with your cash.  See what I did there?  Seamless, wasn’t it?

Also, If I Stay decided not to this week.  I am absolutely not a hack writer.

the equalizer

The enjoyment that you will derive from this Full List is equal to or greater than your appreciation for those four prior paragraphs.

Box Office Results: Friday 26th September 2014 – Sunday 28th September 2014

1] The Equalizer

$34,137,828 / NEW

There should be a review of this up soon somewhere on here, although not by me as I haven’t seen it yet.  Cut me some slack, I was busy last weekend and, besides, this looks like garbage.  I mean, that clearly hasn’t stopped me from going to anything this past year, as you may be able to tell, but everything I hear about this film just fills me with dread and bile.  Ugh, just bring on Gone Girl already, please.

2] The Maze Runner

$17,437,020 / $57,955,347

Only a 46% drop between weekends which bodes incredibly well for its long-term financial prospects.  And it’s also apparently pretty good?  That last part bodes well for its critical prospects with myself, but we’ll have to see.  Besides, it’s not like I’m not seeing it in two weeks.  What am I gonna skip it for?  Annabelle?  In the words of one Lana Kane: NNNOOOOPPEE!

3] The Boxtrolls

$17,275,239 / NEW

Dammit, people!  “Good, not great” does not equate to “skip it almost entirely”!  In fact, what do you all seem to have against stop-motion animation?  Not one has been able to break past the $18 million opening barrier (unless you count the wide-release expansion of Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride which, as you may have already guessed, I do not); what gives?  Why are you not enamoured by the medium?  What, do you hate seeing love, effort and attention being lavished on every frame?  Look, I am not leaving here until I get answers as to why The Motherf*cking Nut Job opened with more cashola than The Boxtrolls did!

4] This Is Where I Leave You

$6,894,340 / $22,441,091

Now, on the one hand, this film has only had a 40% drop between weekends.  On the other hand, there’s a difference between third and fourth place of over $10 million.  I’m just saying, it looks bad.

5] Dolphin Tale 2

$4,788,153 / $33,618,190

Oh, Christ, I have to watch the first one of these before Friday, don’t I?  Dammit, I don’t have time!  I have been busy!  I still am busy!  Why did there have to be a sequel to Dolphin Tale, for f*ckssake?!

6] No Good Deed

$4,509,127 / $46,532,221

Well, it could be worse.  It could be a film version of Kevin Williamson’s new TV show, Stalker.

7] A Walk Among The Tombstones

$4,192,785 / $20,830,290

An almost literal plummeting of 67%.  Seems like Liam Neeson will not be becoming the next Denzel Washington any time soon.  Both with regards to box office and also with regards to the fact that, for the most part, his films are actually good.  Yeah, I went there.

8] Guardians Of The Galaxy

$3,765,941 / $319,169,216

Now officially the third highest grossing Marvel Cinematic Universe film domestically, having passed the original Iron Man last weekend.  Worldwide, it’s still only at number five, but it should pass Thor: The Dark World soon enough, seeing as there is still the very lucrative China market still to go.  On a related note: man, did Thor: The Dark World have foreign legs or what?  I mean, I loved it (unlike pretty much everyone else I talked to) but I didn’t picture it as the kind of film that would do as extremely well as it did.

9] Let’s Be Cops

$1,516,021 / $79,628,884

This is still making money?  How?!  Who in their right mind decides, on the seventh week of its release, to go and see Let’s Be Cops again, or even for the first time?  What, did those involved go, “Well, Ferguson has been on the back-burner for a while, I can watch this without it weighing on my conscience” or something?  Cos, news flash, that’s still going too!  Never let it be said that this feature doesn’t keep you in the loop with regards to current events.

10] Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

$1,450,177 / $187,182,309

Go, ninja, go, ninja, go!  Go, ninja, go, ninja, go!  Far, far, far, far, far away, if possible, please.

Dropped Out: The Drop, If I Stay

Callum Petch can only ask himself, oh where you all are going.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!

Failed Critics Podcast: Pride (or Better Late Than Never)

pride Steve returns and carefully edits out a spoiler for a relatively new release as he tries to remember how to host a podcast after sunning himself for a week.

Meanwhile, Carole and Owen review a couple of new releases, including Pride and A Most Wanted Man. What We’ve Been Watching ganders at the recent TV and film viewing habits of our intrepid trio with reviews of a John Hughes classic and Ghostbusters 2.

Join us next week for reviews of the latest in an ever growing line of Liam Neeson thrillers, A Walk Among the Tombstones, and the Bullingdon club inspired antics of a group of Oxford Uni lunatics in The Riot Club.




Although it plays it a bit too safe at times, Pride really is a feel-good triumph.

by Callum Petch (Twitter: @CallumPetch)

PRIDETrailers are funny beasts.  Their stated goal is to sell you a movie by showing you enough to get you interested whilst accurately representing the film that you’ll be plonking down hard earned cash to watch.  Most of the time, though, they go a bit too far.  They spoil most setpieces or plot points in search of the all-important money shot and to find that unique hook to draw you in (I’m pretty sure that the only thing that the trailer for next week’s A Walk Among The Tombstones didn’t spoil is the identity of the villains), and sometimes they just straight up lie about the kind of film you might be sitting down to watch (Lucy may have been utterly insane, as the trailer indicated it would be, but it was hardly a movie bursting at the seams with action, not that I’m complaining).  Pride was one of those cases where the trailer misrepresented the film into looking like it was going to be something that it wasn’t.  A comedy-drama in which a group of “not-normals” come into an ignorant village and their mere presence causes everyone to learn to be more tolerant, whilst some famous faces act innocently insensitive at points for comedic effect?  I literally just ripped Million Dollar Arm to shreds for not bothering to characterise its “not-normals” and being only focussing on the innocently insensitive normals two weeks back!  Why should I give this one the benefit of any doubt?

So I entered Pride with my skepticals firmly attached.  I was all set to find this one yet another example of a “nice” film that got ideas above its station and failed miserably at being an awards-bait film that wanted to say something.  So, imagine my surprise when, at around about the 30 minute mark, I found myself really invested in Pride.  See, Pride is much lower-key than its early-Autumn awards season release date and “two groups of differing ends of whatever scale learn to get along” premise and marketing suggest.  Pride is not trying to say much beyond the obvious “for the love of the Maker, people, we are all humans, just get along already!”  It has pretty much no pretentious towards earning as many awards as the producers can fit into their cabinets.  No, Pride just wants to tell a story.  Pride wants to tell a story about characters, about people.

And that’s really where the film’s secret to its success comes from.  This is a story about people and how a shared crisis causes them to come together in solidarity.  Yes, the message is still of tolerance, but it comes naturally from the story, the result of fire-forged friends building mutual respect with one another that creates bonds for life.  Pride’s masterstroke, and this really should be the norm instead of the exception so I’m a bit peeved that I have to point this out, is that it humanizes the gays and lesbians.  Whereas a lesser film would have made them interchangeable or simply made them blank slates that we’re only supposed to care about because the “normal” protagonists have everything riding on them, Pride makes them human, gives them agency, gives them their own characteristics and individual personalities and arcs.  They aren’t just some nebulous force that further the “normal” protagonists arcs, nor are they something to force a whole bunch of jokes off of.  They’re people.  Individual people!

The events of the film are predominately seen through their eyes, with only occasional scenes that come solely from the viewpoint of the mining community, and it works gangbusters.  We see how they convinced a town to warm up to them through their charming personalities and the genuine good that they do, rather than just their mere presence warming the hearts of the grinches.  We see how they’re not some unified force of good that’s completely free of human foibles; there are frequent rumblings from the few lesbians that are part of the group of creating a splinter-group solely dedicated to lesbians, they get into arguments with one another, they make mistakes, they can be just as prejudiced as the people who hate them.  They feel human, like real people, not a walking embodiment of tolerance messages.

For example, there’s a relationship between the elder gay men of the group, Gethin (Andrew Scott) and Jonathan (Dominic West), and the film treats it as no big deal.  There is no giant meet-cute, there’s no big second act break-up and their relationship is not a big plot point.  They are a couple, they bicker and fight occasionally, and they love each other; Pride expects the audience to accept that as a thing that would happen and move on.  Joe (George McKay) is a shy gay man who learns to embrace his sexuality thanks to the events of the story, an arc that admittedly doesn’t hit as hard as it should because he gets lost in the ensemble shuffle but is still nice to see because, again, it humanizes him and makes him a well-defined character.  Mark (rising star Ben Schnetzer who is phenomenal in this) comes into his own as a leader thanks to the support he receives from the mining community and the success the campaign gets, until tragedy throws him into self-doubt.  They all tease each other, share little in-jokes and nicknames and give off the spirit of being true companions.  That’s how the film works!  These are people, and that’s what makes the film engaging and investing even when it hits the obvious beats (you get one guess as to why the film makes a point to mention that gays don’t go out collecting alone), writer Stephen Beresford being that good at crafting these characters.

The same is true of the citizens of the Welsh mining village (which, unless I’m mistaken, is never actually given a name).  The bigotry is clearly fuelled by ignorance and improper knowledge and, though the moment where they come around to the gays and lesbians is mostly encapsulated in one scene, the change is one that comes on naturally as a result of actions that occur by the characters rather than a magic switch flipping from “Irrational Bigotry” to “Total Slavish Devotion”.  It feels more natural instead of obviously constructed, even if it still really is very constructed.  The one misstep that the film makes with them is to personify the attitudes and bigotry into one person, specifically one family, that of the head of the mining council.  It feels like taking the easy way out, crafting an obvious easily hateable and personable villain, designed to quickly and easily remind viewers that not everybody supports the gays and lesbians siding with the miners rather than trusting that the viewers can just figure that out for themselves or leaving the villainy as an over-arching concept.

In fact, that’s representative of the only real fault that Pride has: a little too often does the film take the easy way out.  It softens edges, follows formula, plays it safe.  This isn’t really a comedy (despite what the prior mentioned trailer sold it as) but the times when the film awkwardly stretches for laughs in order to keep the film from getting too dramatic, which are infrequent but do happen, are the weakest, like it doesn’t have enough faith in the material for the audience to hang on for the feel-good ending to this “feel-good” story.  When the inevitable outcome of why gays don’t go out collecting alone comes about, the film just cuts to the awhile after the aftermath, robbing the scene of all but the tiniest part of its impact (for contrast, look at the scene in Brokeback Mountain when the inevitable possibly happened and the film forced you to watch the majority of it).  The score is exactly as generic and manipulative as you’re expecting, never getting off-beat enough to reflect the subject matter and the best instances of the film’s tone, and unnecessarily intruding on scenes that were already getting their point across before you laboured it, thank you kindly.  When the obvious constructed nature of this “feel-good-based-on-a-true” story pokes through the otherwise natural pacing and character-work, which isn’t too often but is often enough for me to mark it down, the magic takes a hit and a great drama is brought down to the level of a very good biopic.

But I’m not prepared to knock the film too much for all of that, as the fact of the matter is that I was engaged and invested in Pride for the majority of the two hours that it ran for.  I was entertained by the less-forced humour, completely behind the campaign and caring for the characters that were involved in it, and was filled with little swells in my heart when acceptance started winning out.  It’s got some great performances by both the more established actors (Bill Nighy, in particular, scores major points for a pair of late-film scenes that re-contextualise his deliberate underplaying of his role perfectly), although that’s expected to be the case when you sign people like Dominic West and Imelda Staunton and Andrew Scott up for anything, and the newer-kids-on-the-block (the aforementioned Ben Schnetzer, but there’s also George MacKay’s very well-delivered youthful uncertainty and This Is England’s Joe Gilgun doing a great job as the anchor to the group).  I’ve already mentioned the character work…  See, there’s not a lot to Pride and even less as to why it works, but that’s kind of its charm.  It doesn’t get ideas above its station, it isn’t openly trying to be a “message movie,” it instead puts its eggs into the character basket and expects that the rest will slot into place.  And it all does; very much so.

To put it another way, Pride is the kind of film that, even though history deems this to be all-set for a downer ending, manages to manufacture an uplifting climax anyway, complete with “Where Are They Now?” text descriptors, and my criticism of said thing only amounted to “the text descriptors are a little unnecessary.”  I was really pleasantly surprised by this one, folks, and I have the feeling that other people like me may be too.  And for those who took one look at the trailer and thought this would be the film for them?  They’re more than likely going to love it.

Callum Petch is a born-again poor man’s son.  Follow him on the Twitters (@CallumPetch)!