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This is yet another gripping and fascinating real-life dramatisation featuring the formidable and sensational acting talent that is Joanne Frogatt. The ITV drama department are have again surpassed themselves.
Frogatt plays Joanne Lees, the girlfriend of Peter Falconio, the missing English backpacker, assumed murdered by a stranger while on a camping holiday in the Australian outback. Frogatt is simply expert at this type of role, something she did equally brilliantly in Danielle Cable: Eyetwitness back in 2003, from the same writer, Kate Brooke.
Joanne Lees underwent a terrifying ordeal at the hands of a maniac who duped the couple into stopping their VW camper van ('combi' in Australian vernacular) in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. Falconio was apparently murdered (though no body has ever been found) and Lees was subjected to a brutal attempted abduction and who knows what else had she not valliantly managed to escape.
The director, Tony Tilse, does an adequate job in the photography and so on. At one point, the couple set off into the sunset and the arid and scorching Australian outback, their van disappearing into its vastness in a huge landscape shot - totally flat, red, and with just a few scrubs and bushes for company. That symbolises very well the deep chasm into which the two of them are about to fall.
Anyway, Lees eventually undergoes media assassination for not being appropriately traumatised enough (at least in public) and at one point even becomes the main suspect. Enter Bryan Brown, that Michael Caine of Australian actors going back to Breaker Morant in 1980. He does a fine job of persuading Joanne Lees to act as witness in the trial, successfully persuading her to return from Brighton in the United Kingdom.
Joanne Frogatt is master at the close-up; particularly that of the traumatised and vulnerable person caught in an unimaginable situation. Every little nuance of eye and mouth is just spot-on. Joanne Frogatt is, simply, the only decent actress EVER to come out of Coronation Street, that famous British 'soap'.
She really deserves an Oscar for her performance here. Actually, as she's still only about 27 years old, I would put money on her winning an Oscar within 10 years, assuming she moves onto Hollywood movies.
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