Sunday, April 13, 2008

Justifiably overlooked DVD of the month - MRS RATCLIFFE'S REVOLUTION

MRS RATCLIFFE'S REVOLUTION is a film based loosely on the true story of a naive British family that voluntarily moved to East Germany in 1968, such was the father's passionate belief in Communism. His wife is more agnostic, but moves out of love for her husband and being swept up in his enthusiasm. Once there, they realise how oppressive the country is and hatch an escape. Apparently, the father is now a Tory, which is rather amusing.

Unlike this film. Presumably, the film-makers had a choice about how to explore this story. They could have made a very penetrating movie about life in the GDR - few people have had the experience of both Capitalism and Communism in practice. However, the writers have chosen to make a naive film about naive people. The movie attempts a whimsical, low-fi British comedy feel and the colour scheme is bright and sunny. Yes, the family make a grievous mistake, but they extricate themselves in a fairy-tale ending that is rather trite.

All this is a great shame. We know the writers could have made something far more closely observed, far more heartfelt, and (if they had really wanted to go down this route) far more funny. They did all this in the bittersweet British comedy
SIXTY SIX. Moreover, MRS RATCLIFFE'S REVOLUTION benefits from a sterling cast including Iain Glen as the father of the family and the wonderful comedienne Catherine Tate as his wife. Tate gives glimpses of a great talent that runs beyond her usual comic fare - I hope she starts to be offered and accepts more serious dramatic parts in future.

MRS RATCLIFFE'S REVOLUTION was released in the UK in September 2007 and is available on DVD.

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