Not a fan of Harry Potter and the teen wizards of Hogwarts? Then skip to the next article because this film's not for you. Still reading? Then you'll know all about Harry and Voldemort's difficult relationship, the latter's desire for world domination and eternal life by way of grasping the deathly hallows, something young Harry was born to stop. And with little in the way of back-story, the story continues apace. Hogwarts has fallen under the Dark Lord's control, Snape is their new headmaster, Harry is working up his advantage by way of destroying little pieces of Voldemort's soul secreted about the castle. Who wins will determine the fate of mankind, magical or otherwise, and not surprisingly, the odds don't look good for Harry.

Where Deathly Hallows Part 1 was criticised for being all talk and no action as it set up the final showdown, this is quite the opposite. There's a lot of silence but after seven films, there's not a lot more that needs saying: they know what has to be done and get on with it. To underline the point, the movie opens with Voldemort and Snape staring silently, hopefully, across their domain before unleashing unspeakable carnage. Such is the violence that children unversed in Potter lore will be in for a shock – Voldemort does not mince his magic. And nor does Harry as his choices force a swift and bloody exit for many, many characters. It's part of the fun, and part of the problem.

For like most films in the Potter octology, Deathly Hallows Part 2 sticks close to the source material, too close, leaving director David Yates little room to manoeuvre from its unremittingly despairing emotional tone and a slow march to a forgone conclusion. Mind you, that journey is very exciting. The film looks terrific, dark and gloomy as befits the mood, with Hogwarts feeling every bit the desolate, occupied fortress it has become, no longer the magical school it once was. Similarly Yates' principle cast are all on form with Alan Rickman's Snape delivering the greatest emotional kick.

The problem rests with the parade of sub-characters who each get a fleeting moment of glory wedged into a relatively brief runtime. There's a genuine desire to spend more time with these people: over the last decade they've grown in depth and richness and deserve more; stuffing so many moments into the story upsets the film's rhythm and all but breaks the spell. But on the flip side, Yates resists giving each character a too-cute Lord Of The Rings–styled closing monologue and the franchise a dozen different endings, keeping events tight and on track. It may be a bleak track, but it's a fitting one, for this is where it all ends don't you know?

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Daniel Radcliffe
Emma Watson
Rupert Grint
Alan Rickman

David Yates

Judy Morris


M / 125 minutes

July 14, 2011
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moviereview colin fraser film movie australia review critic flicks