Glorious 39 (12A)

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The Independent Culture

How does Stephen Poliakoff get away with this stuff? Glorious 39 begins, in mildly intriguing fashion, in the run-up to the Second World War, positing an appeasement conspiracy cooked up by a bunch of toffs who believe Britain hasn't a chance against Hitler.

Anne (Romola Garai), the coltish adopted daughter of a leading MP (Bill Nighy), stumbles on some dubious government records and goes hunting in the dark, at which point the script jumps off the deep end into a hysterical farrago of murder, kidnapping, betrayal and animal slaughter. Every time she seems to be in danger the plot contrives to free her, stretching out an undernourished idea to more than two hours. The cast is impressive – Julie Christie, Jenny Agutter, David Tennant, Hugh Bonneville, Christopher Lee – though more astonishing is why any of them were tempted into such tosh.