class=”alignleft size-full wp-image-27337″ title=”third star” src=”” alt=”” width=”220″ height=”150″ />Third Star is the official film to end the Edinburgh Film Festival and although I am sad that the festival has seemed to come to an end so quickly, this lovely film from Wales helps to soften the blow.

Having directed several short films and edited some of the most recognisable British films during the last few years, Hattie Dalton has made a lovely debut into feature length films with this film.

The film follows thirty-something James (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his three friends as they attempt to head out for one last road trip on his birthday before James’ cancer advances and takes his life away.

Travelling to James’ favourite location, which is a coastal area named Barafundle Bay, their friendship builds up during the course of the film and they face new challenges into what they individually believe in and the difficulties they have back home. From meeting a man determined to find a box of Darth Vader figurines from the eighties to taking a trip over the sea to reach their destination, they reflect on what they individually have waiting for them back home and confront each other about their troubles.

Despite their troubles, their friendship is challenged in such a lovely and natural way that you really feel for the individual characters and the journey they take to give James one last trip to the special coastal area that means so much to him.

Hattie Dalton really knew how to bring the well-written screenplay to life and the result is probably the best of the British and UK-based films that I have seen at the festival. She uses the lighting to match with the trees, beaches and grass and it really does make the already gorgeous locations stand out. The framing is just right and there is great confidence is the change of focus, matching the unstable and confused psyche of James.

Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays the sick James, does a fantastic job and plays someone with cancer in a realistic way, different from other performances who have attempted to play these difficult and personal roles.

This is by far one of my favourite films at the festival and I am so glad that this was selected to end the festival and is worth watching when the film is released. We’ll let you know when that will be when we find out.