I Know Where I’m Going Review

Finding yourself trapped and fairly isolated in the Scottish Hebrides sounds like a dream come true. Whisky distilleries as far as the eye could see, beautiful, crisp landscapes to take in through days of walking and drinking. Quite the dream indeed. I Know Where I’m Going doesn’t show such beauty, instead focusing in on the happenstance romance that occurs when one woman is trapped in this small collection of islands having missed the boat that would’ve taken her to a preferred destination. The collaborating efforts of Emeric Pressburger and Michael Powell make for a thoroughly entertaining movie that sees the two bring their unique spark to the screen, enlightening audiences with a simple tale set to the backdrop of lovely islands. 

Fluttering through twenty-five years of life in only two minutes, I Know Where I’m Going uses a cheap and cheery style of relaying the life of Joan Webster (Wendy Hiller), a lionhearted lady with a no-nonsense attitude. Rather refreshing it must have been to see this in a contemporary manner, the style and form of Hiller is tremendous. Forthright and entertaining, her attitude and conviction here showcases an impressive lead performance. The confidence displayed by Webster is a grounded attempt at bringing some form of frivolous charm to the film. It brings out a rather nice series of tropes, not one lingering for all that long, nor making too much of an impact. 

But if impact were at the forefront of Pressburger and Powell’s minds, they would have conducted their film with more focus. I Know Where I’m Going, ironically, suffers from not knowing what to do next. A series of characters are introduced to us and before you know it they’ve dispersed and are gearing up for their big unveiling toward the final act of the film. Hiller holds it together well with her courageous leading performance, but there are moments throughout that feel rather weak, and rather than experimenting with narrative twists, fall back onto the stalwart charms of the era and the barely booming post-war feeling.  

Charmingly old school and quintessential British tropes make the rounds throughout I Know Where I’m Going, a nice enough film that doesn’t quite flourish as well as it should. Audiences will find themselves in capable hands, though, a resounding triumph for the period that was peppered with conflict and strife across the globe. Pressburger and Powell remove those worries, just for a fleeting moment, as they carry spectators through a simple, lovely story of unexpected love found off the coast of major landmasses. Rather nice on the whole, and hard to criticise or hail as anything more than a decent bit of fun. A film for the lazy mind, but the efforts from cast and crew are far from that.  

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