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This British drama about a second world war bomber unit is a plucky effort made on a shoestring by Callum Burn, whose multitasking you’ve got to admire – I spotted his name 11 times in the credits, from “director” to “set builder”. The end result, however, is doggedly uncinematic and thinly stretched. What interests Burn is the mettle of the young RAF pilots who flew night missions against German industry, knowing the odds were against them getting back alive. A pissed-up pilot in a bar makes the point by flipping a coin: heads or tails, live or die.
Starchy Douglas Miller (Jeffrey Mundell) is the new boy on base, replacing a skipper who sacrificed his life to save his men. Miller instantly makes a bad impression by priggishly insisting inferiors salute him. Flashbacks sketch out a tragic backstory to explain why he’s such a queer fish, spending evenings alone reading while the lads sink pints and chat up pretty WAAFs in the pub.
Blame the budget, but Lancaster Skies feels like cinema made in a sensory deprivation tank – fear, desperation and the roar of engines are all missing in action. When the climactic battle sequence finally arrives there’s little dread or excitement. The stiff acting style and polite one-dimensional characterisation don’t help; it’s hard to care who lives or dies.
Given the financial constraints (the budget was a minuscule £80,000), is it unkind to point out the anachronisms? The newish-looking curtains or a cardigan that looks like M&S circa 2005? Certainly, the line “You can be my plus one” stands out like a wristwatch in a biblical epic.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Lancaster Skies review – off-target wartime bomber drama | Film