How far would you go to protect your job? That’s the question that we ask in director Anand Tucker’s latest film that follows aging theatre critic Jimmy Erskine (Ian McKellen). After the publisher of the London Chronicle passes away, new steward David Brooke (Mark Strong) steps in to help it become profitable once again. Even if that means replacing the old staff with fresh blood. Instead of changing his style or going out the door, Jimmy decides to hatch an elaborate plot to blackmail his new boss and hang onto his job through any means possible.
Ian McKellen made a bold choice to play a mean spirited old codger. But it’s a decision that could very easily lead to an Academy Award next year. His character is not a nice person, yet you can’t take your eyes off of him, no matter what he does. And it’s all because of McKellen adding layers of depth to him. Of course having a strong script behind him helps, but truthfully his performance is unreplaceable. The plot flows nicely too, which in part is thanks to a relatively short runtime of just over an hour and a half. The cinematography does an amazing job transporting you back to pre-WWII times as well.
There are some aspects of the movie that will turn people away due to their controversial nature, but they shouldn’t. The Critic is a character driven story that will enthrall you and keep you hooked until the very end.