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Now showing at Beck Theatre Grange Road,Hayes,Middlesex UB3 2UE 020 8561 8371

  • The Hundred-Foot Journey
  • The Imitation Game

The Hundred-Foot Journey 3 stars

movie title

Papa Kadam and his family flee Mumbai after an arson attack on their restaurant, which results in the death of Papa's wife. They seek refuge in a French village, which boasts a Michelin star establishment run by widow Madame Mallory. The building across the road happens to be vacant and Papa purchases the property with the intention of opening his own eaterie serving traditional Indian fare. This rivalry sparks hostility between the Kadams and Mallory, which spirals out of control.

Made to a tried and tested recipe laid out in Richard C Morais's novel, The Hundred-Foot Journey is an uplifting comedy drama charting the battle of wits between two restaurateurs in a close-knit French village. It's a familiar story of feuds and reconciliation, love and loss, laced with the heady spices of one family's proud Indian heritage. Screenwriter Steven Knight (Dirty Pretty Things) offsets the sweetness of the central narrative with tart one-liners, and garnishes with crowd-pleasing performances from Helen Mirren and Om Puri as fierce rivals, who learn to see eye to eye over the simmering saucepans. Lasse Hallstrom's handsome confection is comfort food for the soul. Myriad scenes of chefs searing fresh meats and fishes, or lovingly stirring the ingredients of thick sauces, tantalise the senses and make your mouth water. Papa Kadam (Om Puri) and his five children - Mansur (Amit Shah), Hassan (Manish Dayal), Mahira (Farzana Dua Elahe), Mukhtar (Dillon Mitra) and Aisha (Aria Pandya) - flee Mumbai after an arson attack on their restaurant, which results in the death of Papa's beloved wife (Juhi Chawla). Initially, the Kadams settle in London but they leave because talented chef Hassan discovers that "the vegetables have no soul, no life." So the clan seeks new horizons in Europe. Shortly after crossing the Swiss border into France, the brakes on the Kadams' van fail and they crash close to the village of Saint-Antonin, which boasts a Michelin star establishment Le Saule Pleureur run by widow Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). The building across the road from Mallory's restaurant is vacant and Papa dreams of serving traditional Indian fare to the good people of France. Eldest son Mansur tries to dissuade his father from competing with Le Saule Pleureur: "It is the best restaurant for 50 miles and the President of France eats there!" Unperturbed, Papa opens Maison Mumbai with Hassan as head chef. This sparks a bitter rivalry with Madame Mallory's own chef Jean-Pierre (Clement Sibony) that spirals out of control. Thankfully, Madame's pretty sous chef Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon) is more welcoming and she inspires Hassan to learn classic French cuisine including boeuf bourguignon and pigeon aux truffes. The Hundred-Foot Journey trades heavily on the spiky banter between Mirren and Puri, the former adopting a cod-French accent as she tells the Kadams, "If your food is anything like your music, I suggest you tone it down." Their interplay is a solid and appealing foundation for a sweet romantic subplot between Dayal and Le Bon. When Knight's script veers into slightly darker territory, and adds the poisonous tang of fame to the feel good mix, the film stumbles. Thankfully, director Hallstrom restores balance with a last-minute dollop of shameless sentimentality to ensure audiences leave with their bellies full of unbridled joy.

Showtimes (Click time to book tickets)

Tuesday 23rd December 2014

The Imitation Game 4 stars

movie title

Socially awkward mathematician Alan Turing arrives at Bletchley Park where Commander Denniston presides over a group of the country's keenest minds in the hope that one of them can break the Enigma code. Turing ploughs his own furrow and raises eyebrows by recruiting Joan Clarke to the team. She is a beautiful mind like Turing, inspiring him to greatness by observing, "Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of that do the things people never imagine."

  • GenreAdaptation, Biography, Drama, Gay, Thriller, War
  • CastKeira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong, Charles Dance, Rory Kinnear, Allen Leech, Matthew Beard.
  • DirectorMorten Tyldum.
  • WriterGraham Moore.
  • CountryUK/US
  • Duration114 mins
  • Official sitewww.theimitationgamemovie.com
  • Release14/11/2014

In December 2013, The Queen granted a posthumous royal pardon to Alan Turing. The London-born mathematician had been prosecuted for homosexuality in 1952 - a criminal act at the time - and he undertook a treatment of chemical castration with oestrogen injections rather than serve time behind bars.

It was an undeservedly inglorious end for a brilliant man, who was instrumental in breaking the Enigma code and should have been feted by our battle-scarred nation as a hero. Based on a biography by Andrew Hodges, The Imitation Game relives that race against time to decipher German communications and bring the Second World War to a swift conclusion.

Morten Tyldum's masterful drama neither shies away from Turing's homosexuality nor lingers on it, framing nail-biting events at Bletchley Park with the mathematician's 1951 arrest in Manchester. "If you're not paying attention, you'll miss things," Turing teases us in voiceover.

Indeed, you'll miss impeccable production design, an unconventional yet touching romance, subterfuge and sterling performances including an Oscar-worthy portrayal of the socially awkward genius from Benedict Cumberbatch.

Alan Turing (Cumberbatch) sits in a police interrogation room with Detective Nock (Rory Kinnear), facing a charge of indecency with a 19-year-old unemployed man called Arnold Murray. "I think Turing's hiding something," Nick informs his Superintendent (Steven Waddington), who is keen to wrap up the conviction.

In flashback, we witness Alan's arrival at Bletchley Park where Commander Denniston (Charles Dance) and Major General Stewart Menzies (Mark Strong) preside over a group of the country's keenest minds in the hope that one of them can break Enigma.

Hugh Alexander (Matthew Goode), John Cairncross (Allen Leech) and Peter Hilton (Matthew Beard) work alongside Turing, but he ploughs his own furrow and raises eyebrows by recruiting Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) to the team.

She is a beautiful mind like Turing, inspiring him to greatness by observing, "Sometimes it is the people no one imagines anything of that do the things people never imagine."

Punctuated by school day scenes of the young Turing (Alex Lawther) and his first love, an older boy called Christopher (Jack Bannon), The Imitation Game is a beautifully crafted tribute to a prodigy, whose invaluable contribution to the war effort was unjustly besmirched by bigotry.

Cumberbatch is mesmerising, trampling over the egos of fellow code breakers without any concern for their feelings as he vows to solve "the most difficult problem in the world". It's a tour-de-force portrayal, complemented by strong supporting performances from Knightley, Goode et al as the close-knit team who note, "God didn't win the war. We did."

The pivotal Eureka moment sets our pulses racing, heightened by Alexandre Desplat's exquisite orchestral score. Director Tyldum navigates the fractured chronology with clarity and flair, ensuring that his heart-rending film doesn't itself become a perplexing puzzle.

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