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Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch seems to be doing quite well for himself as of late. Last year he starred in Oscar nominated Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, is currently gaining a whole new flock of fans now that Sherlock Series 2 has aired in America, and his just finished filming his role in the upcoming Star Trek sequel. It's fair to say that all of these examples are incredibly successful titles, so it's nice to find a relatively unknown Cumberbatch film to peruse.
Third Star definitely falls under this category. Set in the beautiful countryside of Pembrokeshire, Wales, the film follows four old friends, James (Cumberbatch), Davy (Tom Burke), Miles (JJ Feild) and Bill (Adam Robertson) who have reunited to grant James' birthday wish-to go for a camping trip to his favourite remote spot in Pembrokeshire.
Benedict Cumberbatch gives a heartfelt performance to James, a failed writer with cancer who wants one final chance to feel alive, whist Burke, Feild and Robertson all help to make this a believable friendship that is enjoyable to watch unfold.
The plot may be simple, but this simplicity works in this incidence. The dialogue is excellent at times, and the moments of humour help to stop this from being a completely depressing tale of an incurable cancer patient. Third Star brings us moments of broken tents, bloke banter, reflection, a meeting with a bizarre beachcomber, a hilarious fight with a local Paganistic party, and much more.
One of the best lines of dialogue comes when James, high on morphine, criticises his friends current lifestyles and future choices, most of which he does not agree with, and which he knows he'll never get the chance to experience with them. Bad words are thrown between the foursome, but like plenty of moments in Third Star, the seriousness is quickly followed by a bit of jokey banter; "It's like going for a walk with a sick, white Oprah," his friends retaliate.
As the film progresses, we get to find out more about each of the friends lives. We learn to love them, and in turn we hate them, and with these revelations, we realise just how human these lads, on the cusp of turning 30, are. It also emerges that there are the most incompetent of campers, but overall, they've got a duty to see their dying friend have an amazing final holiday, and each in turn has to prove they are up to the challenge. We're also treated to some rather bizarre, but amusing, moments, such as the meeting with the beachcomber, and the rugged ferryman who is sporting a bright shade of blue eyeshadow.
Third Star is beautifully shot by Hattie Dalton, her first feature length film after winning a Bafta for a short film previously. The peaceful Welsh landscape make a perfect backdrop to this film that so effortlessly combines comedy and typical bloke banter with the dark topic of death.
The film tackles the tragic topic of dying young with plenty of heartwarming moments, humour and sadness. Without giving away any spoilers, the ending is incredibly sad, but yet it's also somewhat uplifting, and this balance is what Dalton should be commended for. This is definitely worth a watch.