|Index||4 reviews in total|
I looked for this for a long time, as I could only remember the plot, and
none of the authors or writer...and I only realised after I recognised
Douglas Hodge when he was in the Caretaker on stage, that i got my
This was an excellently atmospheric dramatatisation about indulgence, abuse, decay and guilt and the past catching up. It was wonderfully scripted and acted...and there was something really chilling about that house and those grounds...
I remember watching this when i was nine, wrapped in a blanket on cold winter's nights..and it gave me nightmares for weeks afterwards...but i didnt mind that....
Now that we have your attention -- yes, there's actually quite a bit of attractive, hippie-ish, naked romping in this film, which flashbacks a lot. The same actors play themselves at 30-ish as well as ten years before -- quite authentically, it's not just lighting, their very movements say "young". A haunting tale, full of the carelessness of youth and the fear of discovery now that middle age, pride of place, and self-created family have begun to appear. Twists and turns, ending in an unjust but completely believable finish.
I recall very well when this was initially shown on the Beeb in May of '92. I video'd it at the time & have retained it ever since. As well as the performances being first rate, by a young cast, it was the incidental score by David Ferguson that I found most haunting. His music for the likes of 'Moondial,' 'Cracker' & more I consider to be unsurpassed by any other of his ilk during the late 80's & early/mid 90's. However, this somewhat under-rated 3 part thriller deserves a singular DVD release, methinks, rather than it being thrown into a box-set with other lesser TV versions of Rendell's work. It's no 'Singing Detective' but it's still great. So there.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This early '90s BBC production starts in 1991 with the discovery on the
remains of a woman and a baby in a pet cemetery in the grounds of a
country house in Suffolk. Forensic evidence suggests that they bodies
have been in the ground for about a decade. The action then starts
moving between the present and the events of the summer of 1979 when
Adam Verne-Smith inherited the house from his late great uncle. He and
his friend Rufus decide to stay there for the summer and they are soon
joined by Rufus's friend Mary. Mary doesn't stay long but she goes she
tell the boys that she has invited two other friends, Vivien and Shiva,
to join them. Before these two arrive Refus picks up a girl, Zosie, who
also stays at the house. It soon becomes apparent that the beautiful
Zosie is a little strange; she steals items from shops but that is
nothing compared to when she takes a baby from a parked car. This
action will cast a long shadow over the lives of the five people living
in the hall at the time. In the present the police start asking
questions about Adam's time there; he claims that he was only there for
a week or so but worries that they won't believe his story so contacts
Rufus for the first time since that summer.
This series manages to be surprisingly gripping; there may be no doubt that Adam and Rufus were somehow connected to the bodies but there are still plenty of secrets to be exposed; notably the identity of the woman and where the baby came from. There are also some twists as certain things are implied early on that don't turn out to be true. The cast do a solid job; Douglas Hodge and Jeremy Northam play Adam and Rufus in both time periods in impressive fashion; carefree in 1979 but more mature in 1991. Saira Todd is great in the role of Zosie; a distinctly damaged but strangely likable character even when she is doing terrible things there is a feeling that her motives aren't malicious. The tension rises towards the end as we know that something bad is going to happen and the police appear to be closing in on the truth. Given the stories themes and the fact that there is a moderate amount of violence and nudity I was a little surprised that this was given a twelve certificate by the BBFC; that said I doubt it would appeal to children of that age. Overall I'd certainly recommend this.
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