I really wanted to like Six Minutes to Midnight.
Eddie Izzard, Judi Dench, Jim Broadbent, World War Two, Nazis in the UK, all appealing and exciting prospects in and of themselves. However, the film is a stilted, underacted, over-edited, confusing pile of conflicting tones and unclear character motivations.
The utter failure to produce any compelling or tense atmosphere is glaring throughout. Even the actors seem to be underplaying their parts. A kind of sick fascination can be gleaned from seeing Dame Judi Dench perform a Sieg Heil, but beyond that even Broadbent doesn’t save the day. The film is genuinely baffling and will, at best, leave most audiences scratching their heads at the bewildering plot and muddled character motivations. At worst, leave them angry at the unresolved setup, red herrings, and strange camerawork.
The film is loosely based on actual events.
The Augusta Victoria College in Bexhill-on-Sea, England that the film is based on was, in fact, a boarding school for the daughters of high-ranking Nazi officials. The film’s events concerning Eddie Izzard’s Thomas Miller and network of spies is utter fiction. The school was closed in 1939, just a week before World War Two broke out.
What is fascinating about Six Minutes to Midnight is its wasted potential–a spy thriller with absolutely no thrills. Any drama that might’ve been there is undermined by underacting, uninspired cinematography, and an anti-climactic ending. I want to stress that there is a good film in there… somewhere, deep down. But what we’ve been presented with is so uninspired, so unoriginal, that it’s barely worth trying.
Usually, I’d tell people to watch a bad film, just to see what went wrong.
But this isn’t so bad that it’s good; it’s painfully, painfully bad, and hard to watch.