Starring: Patricia Hodge, James Fox, Jeremy Child
Director: Michael Samuels
Running Time: 90 mins
The Falklands Play is a British film about the events leading up to and during the Falklands War of 1982, when an Argentinian invasion of the British-administered islands prompted the UK government to retaliate with force for the first time in decades.
Though a significant event in recent British history, The Falklands War is often only briefly touched upon in films and TV detailing Britain in the 1980s. The Falklands Play, however, goes into so much detail about the lead-up to the war and the actual conflict that you’ll probably never need to see another film dealing with the topic.
The film’s immense attention to detail and fact-heavy nature work both in its favour and against it. On the plus side, The Falklands Play is an enthralling piece of historical drama that, although likely not 100% accurate, gives a gripping insight into the incredibly complex decisions that had to be made as Argentina signalled it could invade the islands in 1982.
On the downside, however, The Falklands Play isn’t what you’d call an exhilarating watch. It doesn’t have the tension of Thirteen Days, and despite a couple of enjoyably jingoistic speeches from Patricia Hodge as Margaret Thatcher, the movie isn’t one that will really grab wider audiences.
As a result, I’d only recommend watching The Falklands Play if you have a real interest in the war, because there is just so much to learn about, and it’s all detailed brilliantly in this film.
Briefly, a word on the film’s accuracy, which I of course can’t verify entirely. As with any story that details events that happened behind closed doors, there’s likely to be dramatic license taken, with decisions made that favourably or unfavourably portray certain figures – with the film’s more positive portrayal of Margaret Thatcher garnering controversy in the BBC when it was first set to be made in the 1980s.
That said, what you can be sure of is that The Falklands Play details the progression of events as diplomacy between Argentina and Britain deteriorated in great detail, with both a concise approach to relating the history and yet no scope for real melodrama.
As I mentioned, that can leave The Falklands Play feeling a little hefty and arguably dry, but if you’re interested in the subject matter, then there’s no better film out there. The movie doesn’t have edge-of-your-seat tension, but it is at least a comprehensive portrayal of historical events, complete with strong performances across the board that make it all a thoroughly convincing cinematic account.
Overall, I really liked The Falklands Play, principally because of that detail and depth in historical fact throughout. The film isn’t perfect, and it’s never quite as exciting as it could have been, perhaps meaning it’s less appealing to general audiences, but with strong talent in front of and behind the camera, it’s still a thoroughly captivating watch, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5.