Written by Robin Bell
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part One: from the title alone it is plain to see something has changed. For the last book of the series the decision has been made to cut the story into two parts. It's the first great decision in an ongoing stream of good decisions that this film makes. It allows the film more breathing space, and for the film makers to insert scenes that don't come from the book, but enhance the story magnificently.
The first example of one of these scenes comes in the films pre titles and involves Hermione in an emotionally devastating scene which defines the strength of her character. Then after a sadistically, threatening scene involving You Know Who, and if you don't it's Voldemort, and a stunning chase sequence involving many Harry's you realise the film is in steady hands and is moving swiftly onwards, but never in the way you expect.
The lead performances are all great: gone now should be the quibbles about the child actors who carry this film throughout. And it's a tough film to carry, there isn't much light heartedness and no Hogwarts. It's Harry Potter, but not as you know it, and this makes it all the more exciting; the rules are gone.
The direction of the film is also very different to previous Potter's, most in line with Alfonso Cuaron's crack at the franchise, The Prisoner of Azkhaban, but pushing the stylistic influences even further; in some scenes the film looks like Terry Gilliam's Brazil, and there is also some stunningly strange camera angles drawing some comparisons with German Expressionism.
But what truly satisfies about this film is the emotion on display. Finally, Harry Potter targets the heart, in a finale that had me welling up, but also in another stunning newly added scene that does not feature in the book. At their lowest ebb, Harry and Hermione share an awkward, gawky, and silly dance, and it's perfect, reminding you that the heroes of this story are still only children, despite the darkness surrounding them and the magnitude of the task ahead in Part two which after this instalment, in my mind the best in the series, cannot come soon enough.