The Shamrock Spitfire (2024) Movie Review – An old-fashioned weepie that soars in the sky and stalls on the ground

An old-fashioned weepie that soars in the sky and stalls on the ground

The Shamrock Spitfire is the kind of war movie that, if filmed in black and white, you could be fooled into thinking it was made in the 1940s. The clipped British accents, the old-fashioned music score, and the melodramatic acting, all evoke a style of movie-making that you may assume had been relocated to the past. 

There are scenes in the film that are reminiscent of bygone World War II dramas, with soldiers kissing their lovers under the stars, stiff upper-lipped lieutenants dishing out orders, and planes flying over England’s sun-dappled countryside while gazing admirers cheer the pilots on from below. 

It’s the kind of film that is ideal for Sunday afternoon viewing, especially for those wanting to watch a wartime weepie reminiscent of those they watched during their childhoods. It’s also the kind of film that you might doze off to while watching, as the dialogue-heavy plot and slow pace sometimes threaten to bring the movie to a standstill. 

The film is based on real-life World War II hero Brendan “Paddy” Finucane who became the youngest-ever wing commander in the RAF at the age of 21. After a disastrous start to his flight training, where he was gently bullied by his comrades for crashing into trees, he eventually proved his worth in the air and became famous for his courageous spirit and airborne derring-do.

The scenes in the sky are occasionally exciting, with what I presume to be a mix of real planes and CGI aerial combat. When those bullets start flying, there is a real sense of peril as we watch the pilots weave their way in and out of difficult situations.

It’s only when the film is on land does the movie suffer due to the aforementioned issues – the leaden pacing, the talky screenplay – that hamper the narrative. The nostalgic feel might also be off-putting to some, especially those people who prefer the heightened (and bloody) realism of such movies as Dunkirk, 1917, and the recent adaptation of All Quiet On The Western Front that cater more to the tastes of modern audiences. 

But while The Shamrock Spitfire is a flawed film that has both feet stuck firmly in the past, it’s still a worthy tribute to those men who risked their lives and futures to protect their country during World War II.

So, while the characters in the film could have walked (flown) straight out of a Powell and Pressburger movie from the 40s, such as the classic A Matter of Life and Death which starred David Niven as a doomed wartime aviator, this is still a decent testament to the power of the human spirit and the sacrifice of others. 

As such, this is just about worth a watch, so long as you can forgive the antiquated acting style and old-fashioned dramatics. It’s certainly cringy at times – one scene when Brendan’s love interest looks into the camera and recites Tennyson’s line “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” is particularly corny – but the movie has its old-wooden heart in the right place, which you’ll discover if you’re willing to give it a try. 

 

Read More: The Shamrock Spitfire – Ending Explained


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  • Verdict - 6/10
    6/10
6/10

2 thoughts on “The Shamrock Spitfire (2024) Movie Review – An old-fashioned weepie that soars in the sky and stalls on the ground”

  1. Thanks for getting in touch Ali. I completlely agree with you – the casting choices were one of the weakest things about the movie.

    Lee 🙂

  2. Brendan was 18 when he joined up and 21 when he died. To cast a 30 year old actor in the lead as Bren totally ignores the fact that these pilots were all so young.

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