|Index||2 reviews in total|
This is a neat thriller which undeservedly seems to have been rather overlooked by the general public. Based on the novel of the same name by Gerald Seymour, who is a specialist in thrillers with a true background, such as the Gulf War, Israeli incursions into the Beka'a Valley, or a dead Englishwoman found in a mass grave in Croatia, among other settings, A Line in The Sand is basically very characteriological rather than high-strung action, and as such ends up being all the more plausible.
Gary Hughes is a businessman who frequently travels to Iran selling his products; but he is coerced into giving information to the British Secret Service. However his cover is blown and the Secret Service force him into hiding and give him a change of identity. But the Iranians have sent out a hitman ....
Good interpretation here by Ross Kemp, no overacting but well held in line, as well as by Saskia Reeves and others who are not even credited here or on the Meridian TV web site.
Two episodes of a little over an hour each, shown here in one near 140 minute programme. Not at all too long as the story line pace is well maintained as well as keeping steadily on a credible level. Even John Le Carré would have been pleased with this story - and you cannot do much better than that.
* Violence is minimal so do not understand the `R' rating.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
********* SPOILERS **************
An assassin, who has successfully eluded the CIA for twenty years, enters Britain like the man from milk tray, rather than with a false passport. He approaches a heavily-guarded, monitored house like an accountant on a paintball mission, tries to kill his target by shooting blindly through walls, and limps back to the woods. Meanwhile, the highly-trained British armed police are fussing over a pot-noodle.
A lone eagle circles, the assassin meditates cross-legged on a hilltop, the music goes all spiritual - is the writer trying to draw a mystic veil across the bonkers plot? Such as why the Secret Service don't follow the man they know is buying supplies for him in Streatham High Street, or venture more than 5 yards away from Frank's house in the search.
The central romance goes something like this :
Gavin/Frank.......Hello. What's your name?
Meryl...................Meryl. What's yours?
Gavin/Frank.......I can't tell you anything about my past.
Meryl...................Will you move in tonight?
Meryl...................I thought I knew him, but I never really did at all.
Only more abrupt.
The villagers then besiege Kemp's house, in a belated coup to steer the film away from the nonsense and towards Straw Dogs. Alas, it is too late. Ross Kemp makes a rousing speech, and they shuffle off home embarrassed at their behaviour (as well they should be).
To finish on a positive note, the clichéd, and much repeated dialogue (almost as though the programme was designed to go out in 30 installments) required great courage on the part of the actors, and they, at least, should be commended.
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