(Release Info London schedule; November 8th, 2019, Vue Cinemas, 3 Cranbourn St, Leicester Square, London WC2H 7AL, UK, 20:15 pm)
The story of 'The Battle Of Midway', told through the experiences of the 'WWII' leaders and sailors who fought it.
The film starts from 'The Japanese' perspective. It introduces you to a world of culture, honor, and respect. We've an industrial tone for the scenes with 'The American' characters, and then this old world, a more traditional view that you can see in the richness of the colors of 'The Japanese' ships. They've a lot of wood components. Even on the bridge they've real cabinetry. It makes for a lot of brass and mahogany, and warmth, right down to the white gloves worn by the officers. It’s about the beauty of their ships. The Americans didn’t think about their ships as being beautiful, that way. It begins in December 1941 with 'Pearl Harbor' and ends in June with 'The Battle Of Midway'. It's the most dramatic six months in the history of warfare. "Midway" envisions a fresh look at this pivotal battle told for a new generation, with characters who share powerful bonds. The film follows three story lines, depicting three interwoven perspectives on the battle. “One is the pilots aboard the aircraft carrier 'USS Enterprise', mainly Dick Best (Ed Skrein), Clarence Dickinson (Luke Kleintank), and Bruno Gaido (Nick Jonas), who are historical figures. A second storyline follows the critical work of 'Naval Intelligence' officer Edwin Layton (Patrick Wilson); a code breaker, Joseph Rochefort (Brennan Brown); and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz (Woody Harrelson) in 'Pearl Harbor'. The third storyline centers on 'The Japanese' officers, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (Etsushi Toyokawa), and Japanese officers Tamon Yamaguchi (Tadanobu Asano), Kaku Tomeo (Nobuya Shimamoto) and Chūichi Nagumo (Jun Kunimura), who are historical characters, as well.
Dick Best is the unsung hero of "Midway", a tough-as-nails Jersey guy, and a 'Navy' flyboy working his way up the chain of command as 'WWII' unfolds. A natural leader despite a tendency to get short with guys who aren’t as daring as he's, Best is a risk-taker whose flying skills are first rate; he's the one to fly with if you want to come back. Best is a true American hero whose exemplary performance, both leading his men and courageously flying his plane during 'The Midway' battle, resulted directly in turning the tide of war. There’s a real emotional journey for Best. You see several versions of Best throughout the story. First, there’s the cocky guy who turns off his plane’s engine to prove to himself he knows how to land without it. After 'Pearl Harbor', you see the relentless Best, who’s on a one-man mission to win the war. During the war, Best loses some pilot friends, which begins a dark night of the soul for Best, and we see him at his absolute lowest. Best only opens up to two people: his wife, Ann (Mandy Moore), daughter Barbara (Sarah Bublavy), and his closest friend, Clarence Dickinson. They help him overcome his losses and we ultimately see a Best with all of his old qualities and emotional literacy and intelligence. He's a true leader of his men. Dick Best has been overlooked, in a way. He's a humble guy, and Midway is his last battle because of an injury sustained while flying. In this story, Best stands for all those unsung heroes who fought for our freedom. What happened at 'The Battle Of Midway' changed the world, but this story is also rooted in a man whose strength and lifeline is his family.
Edwin Layton is a 'Lieutenant Commander' in 'The U.S. Navy', whose job is interpreting intelligence information for military strategy. Layton works closely with Admiral Nimitz and a group of brilliant decoders, and soon discovers that 'The Japanese' are planning an offensive on 'Midway Island'. Though Admiral Nimitz, who commands 'Allied Air, Land And Sea Forces' during 'WWII', has received contradictory intel from 'The White House', Layton is willing to bet his life, and the lives of countless sailors and aviators that his Midway intelligence is correct. A man who takes his work to heart, Layton spends many long days and sleepless nights in the service of his country. Edwin Layton is an extremely accomplished intelligence officer in 'The United States Navy' who happened to have served in Japan, and is fluent in 'The Japanese' language. During 'Pearl Harbor', he's the lead intelligence officer assigned to the commander. He describes the weight that fell upon his shoulders after that intelligence failure and how he feels this obligation to try to make up for what has happened. Like many who work in 'Intelligence', he's very analytical. When you’re talking about 'Military Intelligence' in the 1930s, and eventually the ‘40s, they're many people who didn’t quite understand it because it's all so new. If you work in 'Intelligence', you're different from the average soldier or seaman. He knows exactly what he's saying, when he converses with Admiral Yamamoto, as he does early in the film. There’s not only a strength but also a globalist point of view when you've someone that’s stationed there that can speak with Yamamoto in his native tongue, knowing that Yamamoto speaks English.
Admiral Chester W. Nimitz is given the position of 'Commander In Chief Pacific Ocean Areas', after 'Pearl Harbor', which a fellow officer calls, the most difficult job in the world. As Nimitz faces the entrance of 'The U.S.' into 'World War II', with fronts in Europe and 'The Pacific', he enlists the help of intelligence officer Edwin Layton to provide him with information so he can throw a punch to 'The Japanese' to let them know what it feels like to be hit. Nimitz winds up working closely with Layton, and despite pushback from 'The White House', Nimitz takes a chance on Layton’s intel regarding 'Midway Island', a seminal battle that changed the course of 'World War II'. Nimitz is an amazing figure in military history. He's a man who, at the beginning of 'The Second World War', is coming to a natural end of his career. But after 'Pearl Harbor', 'The Navy' realized they needed someone who could go out there, reinvigorate everyone and make them realize we can win this war. Nimitz is also an incredibly tough man. Notoriously, once when he's giving a tour of a submarine he gestured and a piece of equipment caught his thumb and tore part of it off. He insistes on finishing the tour before seeking medical attention. There’s this iron Texan core to Nimitz that makes him the perfect guy to rebuild a shattered Navy after 'Pearl Harbor'. After 'Pearl Harbour', there's a lot of pressure on 'The United States' to rebuild these ships quickly, and do what they could to become a power. Admiral Nimitz is the right man for the job. He's a relentless, hard-working, and thoughtful guy who makes critical decisions that changed the course the war.
Wade McClusky is a courageous and tenacious risk-taker, who's in charge of the torpedo and dive bomber pilots on board 'The USS Enterprise'. McClusky briefs the men on their missions, giving them intel on what to expect from 'The Japanese' forces. In the cockpit, McClusky takes big chances that could either pay off, or land him scrubbing potatoes at Leavenworth. McClusky is an outstanding 'Lieutenant Commander' and a true hero who's fully prepared to go back into battle, despite sustaining an injury, until his commanding officer orders him to sick bay. Through his intelligence, courage, and sheer luck, McClusky makes a vital contribution to the victory at Midway. McClusky is a squadron commander and a gifted pilot. He decides, on a hunch, to turn and follow this Japanese destroyer that ends up heading back to the main fleet. If he has simply followed the route he's supposed to fly, the history of 'The Pacific War' would have been very different. McClusky is a little older than the pilots he’s in charge of. He’s been around longer and experienced much more than they've, and he leads by example. What McClusky does in a pivotal moment in 'The Battle Of Midway' makes him one of the heroes of the war. McClusky and his closest friend, Dick Best, find common ground through losing friends and understanding what the other is going through. As much as "Midway" is a film with huge set pieces and big airborne battles, it’s also about a brotherhood and the union of these pilots risking their lives on a daily basis.
Courageous, resourceful, respected and beloved by his men, Jimmy Doolittle (Aaron Eckhart) is the leader of an Army bomber squadron. Admiral Halsey (Dennis Quaid) thinks Doolittle may be the best goddamned pilot in the world. Doolittle is planning a mission to attack Japan, which would be a huge psychological blow to the enemy forces, because 'The Japanese' believed their defenses are impregnable. Blown off-course mid-flight, Doolittle winds up bailing over China. Fearing his entire squadron has been lost, he makes his way through the countryside until he’s welcomed by a 'Chinese Major'. Doolittle is a daredevil and like many daredevils, he likes to push all kinds of boundaries. 'The Doolittle' raid is, militarily, not particularly successful. A handful of bombs are dropped but, strategically, it's of massive importance because 'The Japanese' high command has promised both the people and 'The Emperor' that it's impossible to attack Japan. This assault by Doolittle’s 'B-25' bombers proved that they're either incorrect or lying. It's a huge embarrassment that led 'The Japanese' military to decide that 'The United States' carrier fleet has to be neutralized as soon as possible, which led them into 'The Midway Operation'. Also, it's important from a psychological standpoint, both in making America feel like it has finally struck back on some level, and 'The Japanese' people realizing that it's high command is not infallible. Doolittle and his men knew they wouldn’t have the necessary fuel to return to the carrier. There are '72 Doolittle Raiders' and they all agreed to go on the mission, despite the incredible odds against it's success. Some of them ended up in the sea, many of them crashed, and some died. One team ended up in Russia and has to make it's way back. When 'The Chinese Military' finds out who 'The Doolittle' bombers are after they've crashed, and the mission they've just accomplished, they treated them like kings. They shepherded many of them through China, and then eventually back to 'The United States'
Ann Best is extremely proud of her husband, and is an equal match for her husband’s brains and fiery personality. She’s also the one with whom he lets down his guard, and shows some vulnerability. Ann joins the other stoic, but worried, Navy wives when their husbands go off on the Midway mission. She’s strong and courageous. They've a young daughter and Ann is determined to keep her family together at a time when many husbands are encouraging their families to move away from the warfront. Ann and Dick are real partners in their relationship. There’s a deep mutual appreciation, and affection for one another. You’re not just seeing the heroics of these men. You’re getting a slice of their home life, with their families and wives, and a better understanding of what they’re fighting for and what’s at stake. Admiral William Halsey commands 'The USS Enterprise', an aircraft carrier stationed in 'Pearl Harbor'. As Halsey deals with the aftermath of 'The Pearl Harbor' attack and the encroachment of 'The Japanese' in 'The Pacific', he’s faced with the challenge of 'The U.S.' forces being outnumbered by Japan. He’s a stalwart leader who’s not afraid to do what’s necessary to get his best men in to do the job that’s required. Although Halsey is ill, he insists on continuing to work, until he’s ordered into the hospital by Nimitz. Halsey is no fan of 'The Army' brass and is known for taking matters into his own hands. He has his own style, and is brash. But his connection with his men makes him a great leader, particularly of so many inexperienced and young men, some of whom are little more than boys. They look at Halsey as a father figure who's going to get them through this.
Bruno Gaido, a Naval radioman, is extremely brave, and very confident about it. He catches the attention of Admiral Halsey through an act of astonishing courage on a carrier, prompting Halsey to promote him immediately. During 'The Battle Of Midway', Gaido is forces to bail from his plane and winds up on the deck of a Japanese destroyer. Lieutenant Clarence Dickinson is a courageous, highly skilled dive bomber pilot, who almost died during 'The Pearl Harbor' attack but lives to fight another day. He’s a good friend of Dick Best, with whom he flies in formation. Though Best is frustrated with his own lack of advancement, Dickinson understands what’s holding Best back from being in command; an obsessive pursuit of perfection from himself and everyone around him. A seasoned pilot who doesn't like the odds of the upcoming Midway mission, Dickinson proves to be as fearless, focused, and effective as any hero of 'WWII'. The commander of the fighter plane 'Torpedo Six', Eugene Lindsey (Darren Criss) is Dick Best's superior officer, and he doesn't appreciate Best’s annoying habit of criticizing his pilots for being too slow, and challenging orders mid-operation. But Lindsey is a courageous officer who earns Best's respect by leading his squadron, despite being injured in combat. Lindsey did several tours and is stationed in various places in 'The United States'. He did a post-graduate degree in aeronautical engineering at 'MIT', when he was in his 30s. By the time we meet Lindsey in this film, he has a pretty storied life of being a man of the sea and a pilot. That kind of courage is pretty extraordinary and inspired a lot of these men at this point in the war. They're fueled by this very raw sense of retribution that needed to be gained after something as devastating as 'Pearl Harbor'
James Murray’s (Keean Johnson) laconic North Carolina drawl frequently belies the terror he feels flying as Dick Best’s radioman. Murray doesn't have the same damn the torpedoes mentality as Best; he's frequently worn to a frazzle flying with the relentlessly risk-taking pilot. But Murray perseveres to fly with him because he knows that with Best’s skills in the cockpit, he has the greatest chance of making it home. As 'The Battle Of Midway' progresses, Murray's nerves go to pieces, and he asks Best to turn back. Exhausted and demoralized by the thought of going once more into battle, Murray receives an honest pep talk from Best, igniting his own heroism. Murray is Dick Best’s rear gunner and radioman. He’s juggling two jobs at the same time while being shot at by Japanese planes. Murray basically shoots at the enemy pilots and gives Dick Best the information he needs to safely find and destroy oncoming aircraft carriers and get home safely. He’s not into being a daredevil. Murray wants to do exactly what’s in the rulebook and stick to that. Murray’s an introvert and just wants to do his job. He’s not looking to win a medal, he’s just looking to do his time, to fight for this cause but not sacrifice himself. In the end he learns that he actually would die for his country and sees many of his friends perish. He definitely learns not to take it for granted.
"Midway" is a true epic and it’s told at a certain level of scope that’s now become common in superhero and science fiction films. The film centers on 'The Battle Of Midway', a clash between 'The American' fleet and 'The Imperial Japanese Navy' which marked a pivotal turning point in 'The Pacific Theatre' during 'WWII'. The film, based on the real-life events of this heroic feat, tells the story of the leaders and sailors who used their instincts, fortitude and bravery to overcome the odds. It’s a real-life story of brotherhood and camaraderie, and the determination and sacrifice of real-life military heroes, to secure an American victory. Having been decimated by 'The Japanese' attack on 'Pearl Harbor' only six months earlier, 'The U.S. Navy' is desperately outmanned and outgunned heading into 'The Battle Of Midway'. 'The U.S.' military held on to one great advantage; it's intelligence operations and collective grit, are strongly underestimated. The film takes audiences deep inside the complex decision, making of 'The United States’ tactical command, and then straps them inside a bomber cockpit to experience the most visceral on-screen telling, of the greatest battle in 'U.S.' warfare history. These men faced down tyranny and fascism with their very own lives, strapped into planes known to be inferior to those of their enemies. "Midway" is the event that transformed the war in 'The Pacific', basically preserving democracy and freedom in 'The U.S.' and 'The Western World'. Because of them we live in a free world today. True life can sometimes be the most powerful storyteller.
Young people today don’t always know the stories about those who fought for their freedom. That without the generation who fought in 'WWII', our world would be very different. There's a lot of hardship and a lot of people died for it, but they died for a reason. There's a real fight against fascism going on in the world. Today we sometimes forget about these things, but movies can serve as a vivid monument to them. "Midway" is an homage to all the sailors who lost their lives at Midway, both American and Japanese. The film honors that fight and those who gave so much. The scope of it and the changes that happened over the six-month period between 'Pearl Harbor' and Midway are some of the most compelling events in history. What really moved is the willingness, and the spirit, behind those who suffered from the attack on 'Pearl Harbor'. You can even see allusions of 'Independence Day' in this film. But most of all, it’s about the fight against an idea that's starting to consume the world at the time. Unlike science fiction, however, "Midway" is firmly based in historical facts, which reveal themselves throughout the course of the film. The film discovers this wave of new scholarship, where 'The Japanese' side of the story is finally being told in English. 'The Japanese' in this story are just as brave as 'The Americans', although with far more tragic outcomes. Politicians start wars, but never fight them. It’s the common soldier who ultimately pays the price. It's important to show how the Japanese fought as honorably as 'The Americans' in 'The Battle Of Midway'.
That points to the film’s themes of loyalty, brotherhood, sacrifice and bravery, all of which transcend generations. "Midway" will transport audiences back in time. It shows an America that's not a superpower, and which has just come out of 'The Great Depression'. The country initially tries to stay out of a war but 'Pearl Harbor' changed all that. It's a simpler time, but it also is a time where you've to put your life in danger for ideals. This film isn’t just a tribute to the actions of the people who served in 'The Second World War', but also to the people who continue to put their lives on the line defending us. It looks back at a moment where there was a sense of patriotism and national unity, an understanding of our shared common values, why that’s special, and how, when we pull together, we can achieve something remarkable in the face of impossible odds. It’s a lesson for all of us about uniting in spite of our differences.