The twentieth century, more so than any other in history, was shaped by war. The First World War, the ‘War to end all Wars’, was rapidly followed by a Second global conflict which exposed mankind’s inhumanity in a way never previously dreamt of or imagined and was the beginning of both the nuclear age and the cold war. Set during the period of World War II that Churchill referred to as “our darkest hour”, and named after the aircraft in which they flew, Hurricane is the story of 303 Squadron which was comprised almost solely of Polish pilots, who having escaped the Nazi invasion of their country, arrived in Britain with one purpose. To fight the forces that had taken everything from them and slaughtered their friends and families. Taking to the skies, despite the initial reluctance of their adopted homeland to let them fight, when the RAF faced annihilation at the hands of the Luftwaffe, the Polish pilots soon proved their worth as they help to turn the tide of aerial warfare leading up to, during and immediately following the Battle of Britain.
Incredibly immediate and personal, and featuring some of the most gorgeously filmed and brutal dogfights to have appeared on celluloid, Hurricane barrel rolls its across the screen with all guns blazing. Recounting the difficulties and the prejudice that the pilots faced in the air and on the ground, proving the adage that the more things change the more they stay the same, it’s a film whose fate ultimately rests on the shoulders of the central characters and the actors charged with playing them, Iwan Rheon, Milo Gibson and Stefanie Martini, all of whom are at their absolute best and turn in incredible, highly charged, magnetic performances. Unexpectedly for a film based on a true story, Hurricane doesn’t play as fast and loose with the facts as a lot of its contemporaries and predecessors do, and did, and stick’s far more closely to the events as they happened and bar the obligatory romantic entanglements tells the tale of these remarkable men lives as they played out in the most arduous of circumstances. Heart-breaking, invigorating and incredibly exciting in equal measure, Hurricane is an emotional rollercoaster that ultimately, and admirably, succeeds in achieving its over-riding ambition; acknowledging and remembering the sacrifice made by so few for so many. If anyone ever needed a reason to be reminded why Brexit is such a catastrophically bad idea, they need only watch Hurricane to realise just what it was that Europe did (and continues to do) for “us” . Thoroughly recommended. Tim Cundle