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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Professional but plodding murder mystery

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
6 May 2007

Ann Devenish is walking home from her private school one day when she cuts through the village and, finding the gates open, into a house. She walks towards voices to find two policemen standing over a brutally murdered woman. She flees the scene with only a piece of jewellery that she stole from the house but the police question her over what she saw. The small community reacts to the murder and is on edge – even more so when Ann goes missing, only to turn up a week later with no memory of where she has been. The blackouts continue to plague her while at the same time the small community around her grow suspicious and fearful.

Shown as part of 1997 week on BBC4 a few months back, this is a murder mystery set in a small leafy town and with schoolgirl Ann at the centre of the narrative. The opening scenes are arresting enough as the first murder victim is discovered but after this things start to crawl along in a weird sort of way that never really gets going until the final few scenes pull it all together. By this time though, it is too little too late because the two hour running time has been made to feel like an eternity thanks to an incredibly slow pace throughout. I have no problem with a slow pace (my favourite show is HBO's The Wire) but I need the material to be able to support it and I didn't think that was the case here. The conclusion is reasonably predictable after about 40 minutes but then it continues the slow pace of not really doing much while trying to spin out the mystery. Director Menaul must carry the can for not being able to hold the film at a level that works and not drawing depth or drama out of the script.

The cast mostly try hard and deserved better. Fox is obviously the most impressive but struggles to protect the obvious from the audience and her performance stutters her and there. Support is solid through and features turns from Purefoy, Carter, Bowe and others. The downside is that their performances tend to reinforce the slow pace by not being deep enough to engage in their characters and not urgent enough to convince within the mystery aspect. Overall a polished but plodding murder mystery that is too long and doesn't have the strength in material to sustain it.

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