D: Andy Serkis
STX/BBC/BFI/Participant Media/Silver Reel (Jonathan Cavendish)
UK/USA 🇬🇧 🇺🇸 2017
W: William Nicholson
DP: Robert Richardson
Ed: Masahiro Hirakubo
Mus: Nitin Sawhney
Andrew Garfield (Robin Cavendish), Claire Foy (Diana Cavendish), Tom Hollander (Bloggs Blacker / David Blacker), Hugh Bonneville (Teddy Hall), Miranda Raison (Mary Dawnay), Stephen Mangan (Dr. Clement Aitken), Jonathan Hyde (Dr. Entwistle)
Andy Serkis directs this colour-by-numbers biographical drama about the life of Robin Cavendish, a polio victim who was left paralysed by his illness and required a machine to allow him to breathe.
After many months in hospital, he and his wife campaigned for his release and subsequently invent a wheelchair with an in-built breathing device to give him and other sufferers some quality of life despite their disabilities.
The story here forgoes any back story of Cavendish's life in the army and only brushes on the periphery of his tea-trading business in colonial Africa, focusing solely on his relationship with Diana Blacker who would subsequently become his wife, before diving headfirst into his hospitalisation and terminal diagnosis.
The stencil here has been done before in films like The Theory Of Everything and A Beautiful Mind, and though this approach is more romanticised, it doesn't give you any time to involve yourself with the characters, despite a pair of good performances from both Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy.
The subject was of huge importance to director Andy Serkis, who was a friend of the Cavendish family from childhood, and the film was produced by Robin's son, Jonathan Cavendish, but this just proves that this biopic has a very bias approach with barely any conflict, tension or argument between the characters. Unfortunately, it's just far too twee and would have been better if it was released for a television audience at half the length.