Wry and obsessive DI Buchan is a cop on the edge; suave and self-assured Jack Harvey is a best-selling crime novelist with the world at his feet. As Buchan probes a 100-year-old cold case, ... See full summary »



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Cast overview:
Jim Buchan
Jack Harvey
Sinead Burns
Professor Bell
The Monkey ...
Tom McGovern ...
Tour Guide
David Robertson ...
Kirsty Wark ...
Cora Bisset ...
Publicist (as Cora Bissett)


Wry and obsessive DI Buchan is a cop on the edge; suave and self-assured Jack Harvey is a best-selling crime novelist with the world at his feet. As Buchan probes a 100-year-old cold case, his investigation takes him on a journey into the Scottish capital's literary past that will cause him to question his very existence and set him on a collision course with his onetime friend. Written by James Mavor and based on an original idea by Ian Rankin, Reichenbach Falls (commissioned as part of BBC Four's fifth birthday celebrations) reflects Rankin's fascination with his home town of Edinburgh and the legacy of a city which has produced so many Scottish literary classics, from 'Kidnapped' to 'The 39 Steps', from 'Sherlock Holmes' to 'The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie'. Written by James Mavor

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Thriller





Release Date:

1 March 2007 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Acid Test  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The original short story on which this is based, featured Rankin's John Rebus character. Jim Buchan was created for the purpose of this adaptation. See more »


Towards the end, Clara reads from the book "42 feet per second per second" - gravity is closer to 32 feet per second to second. See more »

Crazy Credits

The leading characters were credited in the closing credits with the actor name only and no corresponding character name. See more »

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User Reviews

Engaging cop thriller that is entertaining as well as smart
15 March 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

DI Jim Buchan is a hard drinking cop with an attitude. Having lost his wife to his best friend (writer Jack Harvey, who is a success in every way that Buchan is not), he has turned more and more inwards on a path of apparent self destruction. It is his mistake when trying to trap his nemesis "The Monkey" that sees his partner shot dead. Returning to work after some time off, Buchan is given a new partner in the bubbly DS Burns and a new case. Well, "new" really isn't the way to describe it, as the pair look into the discovery of a 100 year old body deep in the tunnels below Edinburgh university.

The title of course refers to the place where Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty once fell together to almost certain death and recognising that suggests that this film may appeal to you because of its literary foundation. Aside from the monologue in the first few seconds of the film, things appear pretty generic at first; hard nosed cop disliked by his peers, new partner, big criminal to stop, convoluted and complex case to solve etc etc. Even the dialogue is a bit clunky and obvious at first. This gradually subsides as the main mystery kicks in and the film does get more interesting with some very enjoyable (if not wholly successful) twists coming in the later stages.

The cast are mostly very good. Newman fits the clichéd character very easily at the start but he is also able to move past that as required – he is a solid lead and is by far the main character in the film. Around him various others turn in good support, with Mackenzie a good foil as his former best friend and Fraser convincing as his ex-wife; neither have a lot of screen time but they do well with what they have. I wasn't sure about Sosanya at first. I think she is a great actress and is very attractive to boot, with her flirty and light character just making me love her more, but I didn't think she fitted in at all and it felt like she had been dumped with a rubbish character that she was just going to tease her way through. It is true she doesn't have much to do character wise, but this does make more sense in the context you'll see it looking back. Wilson is good in his small support role, even if his presence stretched my brain a little.

Some proper reviewers probably over praised this film because they felt it was so much better than other police thrillers. Although I agree it is better and more interesting than its peer group I didn't think it was perfect and the things that make the plot so engaging also make it a bit wobbly at times. That said though once you get through the rather clichéd start it is a clever film that is entertaining and engaging right down to the smart conclusion. Deserves a bigger audience that BBC4 screenings will bring it and has motivated me to check out Rankin's "The Acid Test" as well.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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what a shame. mouse101
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