The penultimate film in the EYG 8 Days of Potter is the first part of the finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. J.K. Rowlings’ final book was split into two films which, of course, immediately made Part 1 darker, more hopeless than you might expect, because everything is setting up for the final movie.
Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and his friends are in desperate hiding as the wizarding world is going crazy around them. The evil Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his Death Eaters are searching out his enemies, killing them to prevent any revolt. Harry, Ron (Rupert Grint) and Hermione (Emma Watson) are separated from their support and family and head out to search for the mysterious horcruxes introduced in the previous movie.
During their searched, they remember the story of the Deathly Hallows, three mystical artifacts that was rumored to have tremendous power.
The film focused again on the relationship between the three main characters and how this constant and seemingly endless struggle with evil took a toll on their psyches and their constitutions. There were some times when I felt it was like the scenes from Goblet of Fire when Ron was jealous of Harry, but this time they were on steroids. The struggle threatened to tear Harry, Ron and Hermione apart. This felt more earned in this moment than it ever felt in The Goblet of Fire.
This is not the type of film that Radcliffe, Grint or Watson could have done a few years prior, but they have come a long way in their careers as Harry Potter characters. Their acting carries this film more than most. The action here is limited, taking a back seat to the development of the characters and the creation of tone.
Director David Yates had done a wonderful job with that dark tone and creating a world of sorrow and despair. With such a place, the light of these characters shines through, presenting us with the opportunity for hope where none appeared to be.
There is a tragic event near the end that did not bother me much, considering that I was never a fan of the character that dies. Harry’s response felt too over-the-top as I did not feel the connection between these two. However, that might be my own prejudices sneaking into my opinions.
Yates has done an exceptional job moving toward the finale and now we are there.