Title: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Director: David Yates
Lead: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint
Rated: Rated PG-13 for some sequences of intense action violence, frightening images and brief sensuality.
The beginning of the end. (this review does contain spoilers)
This movie is the best Harry Potter movie to date. There haven’t been any better, frankly, if this film were to stand alone with no prequels or any books to back it up, it would still be excellent. The opening scene says it all, the Minister of Magic stands up to the press, with only his eyes visible in the frame, and utters the words that will sum up these final two Potter films: “These are dark times”. One of the opening scenes in the Malfoy home is one of the darkest most unsettling scenes Ive watched, it ranks up there with the swastika in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglorious Basterds”, and even the infamous “Shower Scene” in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”. Another very cleverly artistic aspect of the film is all the gloom. There isn’t one bright scene, not a single one. Every scene is shot in fog, if they hadn’t, the film would certainly lose its dark undertone. Which brings me to the camera work; its impeccable, its so well done. When I think of great cinematography in this movie, multiple scenes come to mind. The first being the scene where everybody drinks the poly juice potion to turn into Harry, the camera tracks around Harry to show before and after, the director never cuts the scene. He also did this in the scene with Hermione in the forest, where the snatchers could smell her perfume but could not actually SEE her. Another is the forest chase scene where the three of them are running from the snatchers. There are multiple EXCELLENT truck shots at high speed through the trees, and some great dolly shots against the action. Along with those, every scene was very well framed; all in all Yates was very successful. Another stand out accomplishment is the acting. Daniel, Emma, and Rupert have definitely learned how to act which made for some greatly dramatic scenes that evoked a lot of emotion. Now the acting would only be half as good if the script wasn’t as good as it was, and it was. Every scene was very well written and the ending was as good as it could have been. This movie is a hunt, a lonely, boring hunt. If the movie was filled with tons of action and actors, it would take the boringness away. Now I understand it makes no sense to intentionally make a movie boring, but that’s the way most of the book was, and to the screen writers credit, all the boringness was actually not boring. The movie was so desolate and dark and semi-uneventful, that it really brought the emotion of the book to life. Now lets talk about the end… or should we call it the beginning? Call it what you may, but either way you say it, its good. Its so good in fact that its the only way you could have ended this movie. I sat there in my seat as I tearfully watched Doby being buried, and Voldemort stealing Dumbledore’s wand, and I thought: “This has potential to be a great ending.” and as that thought passed through my mind, the screen went black.
The end of the beginning.