EIFF Day Six – World’s Greatest Dad & Third Star

Isn’t it about time we heard about something good for a change?!


Thankfully in that regard, my sixth day in attendance at the Edinburgh International Film Festival provided not one, but two great films.

First up was World’s Greatest Dad in which Robin Williams makes first return to “non-shit” films since RV (god I’m hilarious) in one of the most surprising movies I’ve seen so far this year.

The major key to success in this case is the twist in the tail which, somewhat bizarrely, comes half an hour into proceedings. Usually I’m an advocate of going into a film blind and trying to avoid any trailers – in this instance I would absolutely recommend watching any trailers you find for this movie as I guarantee you still won’t have a clue what’s going to occur after the half hour mark – the only thing you’ll really learn is whether or not the comedy is your thing.

If after watching the trailer you find that the comedy of World’s Greatest Dad isn’t your thing – and I wouldn’t blame you if it wasn’t as it’s extremely rude and uncompromising in places – you might as well just stop reading this now and skip down further to the Third Star review. For those still here, let me tell you that not only is this film seriously funny, but when it shows it’s true colours it also raises interesting arguments into the ideas of ownership, loss, love, remembrance and what it is to live a lie.

All of the above has been said without really giving any indication as to what this film is actually about and the truth is that I really don’t want to give anything away because a lot of the fun of it is in finding that out for yourself – that way your reactions will be genuine rather than generated by expectation. I honestly have no idea if a full theatrical release is on the cards on our fairer shores as, despite largely positive reviews, it only had a brief limited run in America later last year – but if you like you comedy crude and biting and aren’t too perturbed by the fact that this movie might actually make you think as well, then I won’t hesitate in recommending you watch this as soon as it’s out on DVD as this was not only one of the highlights of festival week, but also one of the most enjoyable films I’ve seen all year.

And who would’ve thought I be saying that about something starring Robin Williams?!

Casta La Vista’s first ever World Premiere proved to be a somewhat sobering experience after the raucous laughter of the afternoon; a British film by the name of Third Star which revolves around four long time friends who go on one final pilgrimage to a beach in Wales before one of their number succumbs to terminal cancer.

Bleak outlook from the outset then, but what this movie lacks in cheery disposition it makes up for in almost everything else. The core strength from which all others derive is the relationship between the four leads who solely occupy the largest part of Third Star’s all too brief ninety minutes. For the first time in a long time I felt like I was watching something completely genuine; the highs, the lows, the laughter, the tears, the arguments and the reconciliations all feel real – so much so that I wouldn’t be surprised to bump into any one of these characters whilst walking down the street. Even the few occasions in which the quartet come across people somewhat more eccentric than your average member of the public don’t feel at all out of place with the sombre overall tone of the film.

Credit where it’s due here, the four leads are all fantastic and remain entirely convincing throughout, whether they be delivering home truths, getting into fist fights or making cups of tea – but surely one of the major stars here is the direction which keeps us involved in the action at all points without ever becoming too intrusive – an extremely impressive feature film debut for Hattie Dalton.

This film was involving, touching, thought provoking and funny whilst never taking away from  the very real situation at its heart, something that could have proven all too easy in less skilful hands. It was by no means an easy watch but often the best cinema isn’t; should this receive a full release I implore you to make the effort to go and see it – which seems odd for me considering nothing explodes in it…


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