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Helena Bonham Carter,
Kristin Scott Thomas
Game theory and practice in picture-postcard London
`Vengance is mine' saith the Lord, but we all have a desire to get even, and in these godless times it is not surprising to discover that in London at least professional help is available. Patrick Vine, professor of History and Anthropology, has an interesting sideline in helping people to get revenge. His clients include a cheated wife, a rejected lover, a victim of unfair dismissal and an obsessive journalist jealous of a more successful colleague who got started by appropriating one of his ideas. Mixed up in this are a bent judge and a rather over-enthusiastic student, who plans a bit of revenge herself when apparently rejected by Patrick.
Patrick helps his client work out and implement some deliciously ingenious, if not always appropriate, pay-back. For instance, Ellie's philandering husband is induced to assault the cabin attendants in mid-flight, and loses his job. A disgruntled ex-secretary gets back at her ex-boss by putting a figurine she owns, and he desperately wants, up to auction. Naturally she is always the successful bidder. The scene darkens with a shooting and a couple of deaths, and Patrick's mysterious past comes back to haunt him.
Paul McGann, eager, yet chilly as Patrick, and Sophie Okonedo, sparkling as Ellie, the cheated-upon wife, work wonderfully together and there are strong performances from Stephen Macintosh as Sebastian, Patrick's barrister friend, and Susan Lynch as the beautiful, mysterious and menacing Madelaine. London, or at least some of its interesting historic parts, is also a character, as Patrick's abiding interest is the city's growth and development. I'm not sure the weather is so conducive to the outdoor classes Patrick likes to hold in surprise locations but we get to see some interesting parts of the city including St Paul's and such little-seen places as the Temple, the gorgeous mediaeval haunt of the Bar. His classes seem a bit small (limited budget I guess). Anyone that innovative and enthusiastic in academia would have a full house.
In the end, of course, while revenge might be sweet we really need to heal ourselves, and Patrick himself finds this out in brutal circumstances. Still, the message is `don't get mad, get even. And then move on'. Wonderfully entertaining Sunday night TV.
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