Six Minutes to Midnight (2020) – Movie Review
21st April 2021 Written by Peter Walkden
Based on actual events from the year 1939 and a couple of weeks before WWII begins.
A strange event occurs with a teacher working at a German all-girls boarding school, Augusta-Victoria College, Bexhill-on-Sea. The teacher, along with his camera, has vanished without a trace. Thomas Miller (Eddie Izzard) is an English teacher applying for the role, hoping to replace the newly missing teacher. He is interviewed by the school’s headmistress Miss Rocholl (Judi Dench), who is quite protective of her students. Despite her protective nature, she decides to give Thomas a chance and puts him on probation.
Soon, the disappeared teacher’s body floats to shore, and his death is deemed a suicide. We also learn that Thomas is, in fact, a British agent who has been secretly hired to investigate the school and the recent murder. Thomas begins to make several observations, attempting to find out what’s going on and who is responsible. Naturally, he is suspicious of all those who surround him at the school.
As a plot, Six Minutes to Midnight has a wonderful and pleasing opening with great visuals and a mystery that grabbed my attention early. Nothing is explained upfront, but the film enjoys introducing its characters and telling its story at a medium pace. While the opening is solid, I found the film slows down in the second and third acts. These acts are generally filled with Mr Miller snooping around the school and being observant of others around him, including discussions. Because of the large amount of observation, the plot and storyline almost felt halted instead of progressing. Do not get me wrong, everything on screen is still positive to see; the film is just moving slower than I would have preferred.
Performances, for the most part, are excellent. I truly enjoyed seeing actor Eddie Izzard in this type of role. Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent both have a brief and quick presence onscreen as supporting cast, and their performances are welcomed. Unfortunately, I cannot deny that Eddie Izzard, in the leading role, has a few weak or vague lines, even more so during dramatic moments and when the character makes shocking discoveries about his investigation. For the most part, I was highly impressed by his performance. Fun fact- Eddie Izzard also receives credit as an executive producer as well as for the screenplay and writing of this film.
The film’s soundtrack was superb and quite fitting for this film. From the very opening, I was impressed by the music selection and its ability to touch and deliver powerful moments, all complimenting the film’s mystery. I also could not fault the sound effects and sound design.
Overall, this is quite a good drama film which also serves as an exciting thriller. With pleasing performances all around, there are only a couple of questionable moments due to poor line delivery. The film introduces a fun mystery and concept, which is sadly slowed down pace-wise in the second and third acts. The film’s musical score was powerful, working wonderfully with the film’s sound effects. Those seeking a new movie based on an actual event should certainly check this one out.
Six Minutes to Midnight (2020) is Now Available on DVD!