A lot of films have been made, not only about World War II, but also about the days before it. New angles can therefore be difficult to find. How about this: a Nazi girls’ school in a coastal town in England in the 1930s?
One such place existed: Augusta Victoria College at Bexhill-on-Sea. The school badge contained both a Union Jack and a swastika. Daughters of the Nazi elite graduated here. Because of this particular fact, Eddie Izzard, whose family is from Bexhill, decided to forge a film. In addition to starring in Six Minutes to Midnight, Izzard is one of the script writers and executive producer.
The scenario transfers a fictional Hitchcock-scented suspense thriller to the reality of the school’s existence. “Midnight” begins with the disappearance of a teacher at the school under eerie circumstances. Enter Izzard as Thomas Miller, come to replace him. Like his predecessor, Miller is a British spy who was really sent to gather information about the school. While the activities of the students, their German instructor Ilse (Carla Juri) and their British headmistress (Judi Dench) seem to be pedagogically up to date, the area still looks ripe for espionage. And when Miller witnessed the enthusiastic reaction of the student body to a wireless speech by Adolf Hitler, he found that his superiors’ suspicions were correct.
Classified lists, a secret evacuation plan, and a murder framework come into play. The double crosses are portrayed by the director Andy Goddard with above-average craftsmanship, but the more the film leans on old tension conventions, the more interest it unfortunately loses.
Six minutes to midnight
Rated PG-13 for violence. Running time: 1 hour 39 minutes. To rent or buy in cinemas and on Apple TV, Google Play and other streaming platforms as well as from pay-TV operators. Please consult the Policies of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before viewing films in theaters.