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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1


Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Ralph Fiennes, Helena Bonham Carter, Rhys Ifans, Brendan Gleeson, Evanna Lynch, Toby Jones (voice), Alan Rickman, Julie Walters, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Peter Mullan

Director: David Yates

The seventh episode of the Potter saga scores by concentrating on the (mis)fortunes of Harry, Hermione and Ron (Radcliffe, Watson and Grint), as they seek out the horcruxes whose destruction can spell the end of Voldemort.

Watson in particular relishes having more to do, and both she and Radcliffe give performances whose improvement on previous outings shows that they are maturing as actors.

Poor Ron, though, feels the rough edge of one horcrux when he attacks it, the horcrux defending itself by feeding on his jealousy over what he perceives as a growing relationship between Hermione (with whom he's in love) and Harry. This is rather uneasily underlined by the obvious chemistry between Watson and Radcliffe, who share a charming dance sequence together that's a highlight of the film, as well as a welcome moment of light relief.

Otherwise, the mix is much as before, if darker: dull bits where the narrative dawdles just too much, and exciting set pieces of magical action, though there are enough of the latter to whet one's appetite for the final segment next summer. And Ron and Hermione, even if their relationship fails to convince, can be depended upon to stand by Harry to the end. 'You can't go risking your lives for me,' snarls Radcliffe. 'Oh,' replies Grint, 'we haven't done that before, have we?'

Meanwhile, old characters get short shrift. Maggie Smith is nowhere to be seen (too busy in Downton Abbey, perhaps), while Michael Gambon, Rickman, Robbie Coltrane, Richard Griffiths, John Hurt, Fiona Shaw, David Thewlis, Bonnie Wright, Miranda Richardson and Imelda Staunton make merely the briefest of appearances. Only Bonham Carter's screeching Bellatrix Lestrange and Dobby the house elf (voiced by Toby Jones) get a decent slice of the script.

Major new character in this one is Ifans as the father of Luna Lovegood (Lynch) who gets herself kidnapped by Voldemort (Fiennes). And one other new thing. We learn that Dumbledore's fourth (and last) Christian name is Brian. Yes it is.

David Quinlan

UK 2010. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers. Technicolor.
146 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 13 Nov 2010