EIFF 2014: Castles in the Sky

Film Review by Michelle Devereaux | 23 Jun 2014
Film title: Castles in the Sky
Director: Gillies Mackinnon
Starring: Eddie Izzard, Alex Jennings, David Hayman, Laura Fraser, Karl Davies, Julian Rhind-Tutt

It’s hard to represent the creative process of invention on screen without resorting to cliché. Gillies Mackinnon’s Castles in the Sky, however, simply revels in it. It’s so corny and faux-respectable even your gran would probably find it too fusty.

Eddie Izzard, in teddy-bear mode, stars as Sir Robert Watson-Watt, a Scottish-born weatherman who, just before the outbreak of World War II, assembles the good old rag-tag team of scientists to create what will eventually become known as radar, thus (as the film tells us, repeatedly) helping assure Britain’s triumph. For extremely negligible reasons his attempts are continually stymied by a nefarious minister and a wife who can’t seem to stomach him being away for a month so he can save the world. Shot and edited like a prestige TV movie, complete with Nazi stock footage, Castles in the Sky is totally subtext-free, constantly underlining the stakes and Watson-Watt’s underdog status in eye-rolling fashion. It’s a shame – the true story is a compelling one, but the movie simply lets it down.

Castles in the Sky has its world premiere at Edinburgh International Film Festival

23 Jun, 6.15pm, Filmhouse

28 Jun, 6.10pm, Cineworld