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Seize Them! Review: Fun British Comedy

Aime Lou Wood sits on a throne surrounded by her people in the poster for the 2024 film Seize Them!

Humorous and yet heartwarming, Seize Them! is a fun, if only a little bit flawed, comedy that takes an ironic look at a fictional British past.

Seize Them!, the newest British comedy film by Curtis Vowell, will hit UK cinemas at the beginning of April. At its prime, British cinema has been known for its satire and humour, and yet there have been only a few memorable ones lately. Needless to say, I had high hopes that this movie would reinstate this aspect of  British filmmaking . Judging from the trailer and promotional material I saw on every London bus in the past couple of weeks, it promised to be a brilliant comedy adventure.

Set in the Dark Ages in Britain, Seize Them! is a fictional take on a medieval story of kings, queens, and anti-monarchy revolutionaries. The young and arrogant Queen Dagan (Sex Education’s Aimee Lou Wood) thinks she is better than anyone else; when the movie starts, her kingdom is about to be taken over by the revolutionaries. They are led by a charismatic leader, Humble Joan (Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan), who takes over the throne and the land, thus making Queen Dagan a fugitive in her own country. As she tries to escape her enemies, Dagan finds much-needed help from unlikely allies, namely Shulmay (Wicked Little Letters‘ Lolly Adefope), one of her former servants, and Bobik (Krazy House‘s Nick Frost), a shit shoveler who wants to become a Duke.

Seize Them! sets up the story really well. The opening shot immediately introduces the stakes and context for the audience thanks to the use of Dagan herself as the narrator and the graphics. Visually, the use of the map of the land throughout the film is particularly successful as it sets the historical and semi-fairytale tone of the movie. It also situates us geographically in the story as the movie goes on and Dagen travels across the her country. The voiceover also works particularly well, because the narrator is the first one to be ironic and self-aware, so much so that we do question whether or not she is reliable in the first place, which is a fun way to reverse the usual trope of the reliable voice-of-God narration.

I also really liked the comedy, which definitely feels like the strongest part of the film: Seize Them! is very funny, particularly thanks to its editing and acting. The characters may feel exaggerated, almost like a parody of what they are meant to represent, but they truly work, especially the main trio, thanks to the personal journey they all undertake during the movie. It is a fun adventure and, ultimately, a journey of friendship and self-discovery: as the characters face their perils and enemies, they soon learn important truths about who they are and who they want to be.

Aimee Lou Wood is in a field holding a spade with her hands open in resignation, followed by two people, in the 2024 film Seize Them!
Seize Them! (Entertainment Film Distributors)

The acting elevates the movie significantly: Aimee Lou Wood shines the brightest as the lead of Seize Them!, showing excellent comedic timing and character work in this role. So does Nicola Coughlan who, despite having a minor role in the movie, proves once again her excellence in comedy and her ability to portray wildly different characters in her career. Where the script and its jokes may not always work on paper, the cast is able to pull them off and make every single joke and every single plot believable. More than anything else, the comedy works because of the chemistry between the cast, particularly between Wood, Lolly Adefope, and Nick Frost whose scenes together are the crowing achievements of the film.

The pacing of Seize Them! is a little off at times: some sequences feel overly long, especially in the last act of the movie. I also wish the film had focused a lot more on the adventure part, which could have been just a big part of its narrative as the comedy. A lot of it seems like a very incomplete movie : while the fun is there and the plot is strong, I kept feeling like something was missing. Ultimately, there is no overall message or overarching theme that ties the whole narrative  together, which undermines it entirely.

Despite the brilliant acting and impressive humour, Seize Them! is unfortunately rather forgettable overall. Regardless, it remains a great – and very fun – way of spending two hours in the cinema, especially with a few friends so you can laugh together at the jokes. I know I had a good time with the movie; apparently so did most of the people who watched it in my same screen on a rainy Monday afternoon, as I could hear the whole cinema laugh with me when the film’s jokes landed particularly well.

Seize Them! was screened for free in the UK on March 25, 2024 in a series of special previews as part of Escapes, an initiative supported by the BFI and the awarding National Lottery funding to offer everyone the opportunity to watch movies on the big screen and discover independent cinema. The film will open in UK & Irish cinemas on April 5, 2024.

Seize Them!: Trailer (Entertainment Film Distributors)
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