Especially so after the lacklustre Part 1 which in hindsight could never be anything more than a pot-boiler for the grand finale.
We re-join the bespectacled no-longer-boy wizard (Daniel Radcliffe) and chums Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) as they continue their frantic search for the three remaining horcruxes which will secure immortality for the evil Voldemorts (Ralph Fiennes minus nose). Harry realises that means returning to where it all started - Hogwarts - and a final confrontation.
In his fourth Potter film at the helm, director David Yates delivers some moments of breath-taking action and excitement without sacrificing the emotional core of the story.
Particularly memorable is a tense scene in which the trio in disguise infiltrate a vault at Gringotts Bank and have to escape on a fire-breathing dragon across the London skyline, or an equally spectacular scene of fire sweeping through a fantastically cluttered repository and especially the climactic siege at the rapidly disintegrating Hogwarts as school and staff battle to repel an army of black-robed Death Eaters (there is surely a case for saying the splendid Neville Longbottom is the true hero of the story).
The marvel is that Yates manages to incorporate valedictory glimpses of all the notable guest actors – Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, Miriam Margolyes, Robbie Coltraine, even Michael Gambon – without slowing down the action while Fiennes, Alan Rickman’s Snape and Maggie Smith’s Prof McGonagall hold centre stage.
With flashbacks reminding us just how young they were when they started, Radcliffe, Grint and Watson have become increasingly assured as they have grown up in their roles (the much-anticipated Ron-Hermione snog is really rather a lovely moment). If the resolution to the film is a little confusing to non-Potter experts, screenwriter Steve Kloves has contrived a postscript ending which strikes just the right note.
Gripping prison drama Cell 211 (Cert 18) swept the board at the Goyas, the Spanish Oscars.
Keen new recruit as a prison warden Juan Oliver (Alberto Ammann) pays a visit to the jail on the day before he is due to start work and on a tour of the jail is knocked unconscious by falling masonry and rushed by colleagues to recupereate in an empty cell – 211. Just then the inmates of the high security wing break free and a riot breaks out and when Juan comes round the other guards have fled to safety leaving him trapped.
With impressive presence of mind, he realises the only way he can survive is to pretend to be a new prisoner and ingratiate himself with the charismatic leader of the rebel prisoners, the scarily unhinged and violent Malamadre (Luis Tosar).
The politically sensitive presence of a group of Basque terrorists, an informer among the prisoners and media leaks crank up the tension, but director Daniel Monzon is not content with the simple premise for a thriller and leads the story into increasingly darker territory by showing the authorities to be as corrupt as they are incompetent so that Juan begins to question where his loyalties should lie. As it goes on, the drama becomes less credible but maintains its tension through to the bitter end (in more than one sense of the word).
Turkish director has completed in reverse order a trilogy about a poet called Yusuf so that the final part, Bal (Cert PG), shows the character as a six-year-old boy. For those of us who have not seen the first two parts, Sut (Milk) and Yumurta (Egg) – and they are only now being released in the UK - the film, whose title translates as Honey, can be viewed on its own terms.
In a mountain forest region of Northeast Turkey, Yusuf (Bora Altas) lives with his father, Yakup (Erdal Besikcioglu) and mother (Tulin Ozen) and attends the local school.
His father is a honey-gatherer which involves climbing ropes into tree tops where the natural hives are located, a dangerous occupation, as we are shown in the opening scene.
While at school Yusuf is something of a loner who struggles to read and is ridiculed for his stammer, such is the bond between father and son that he is able to read and talk effortlessly in his company. He helps his father at work in the forest with a sense of wonder and mystery which deepens when Yakup goes away on a trip in search of hives deep into the mountains.
The film proceeds at an unhurried pace (which threatens to test the viewer’s patience at times) intensified by its minimal dialogue and natural soundtrack but is always beautiful to look at and has a dream-like quality which is truly affecting.