Basil Brookes (Dan Stevens) joins "Captain Bob" - press mogul Robert Maxwell (David Suchet) - as financial... See full synopsis »

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Basil Brookes (Dan Stevens) joins "Captain Bob" - press mogul Robert Maxwell (David Suchet) - as financial... See full synopsis »

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4 May 2007 (UK)  »

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Maxwell House
10 December 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Cap'n Bob became prominent in 1984 when he purchased the Mirror group newspapers which he used as his own publicity machine and their pension fund as his own loot. He also embellished his own personal history, a Czech born émigré who claimed to speak perfect English in a matter of weeks. Maxwell fought for the British army and later became a Labour MP.

David Suchet when he is not playing ace sleuth Poirot has a fondness for playing real life, over the top personalities with a dark even a malevolent side.

Here he plays a slightly trim Maxwell. Its obvious Suchet has forgone a strict KFC only diet to play the obese Maxwell. His Maxwell at home eats a lot and fights a losing battle with his girth as he uses plush towels to wipe himself at the toilet and having a testy relationship with his wife.

At the office he quietly but ruthlessly humiliates his own son in the boardroom before showing him how to negotiate down the price of newsprint.

However spiralling debt was leading to Maxwell's demise as he strived to become a global player and be a rival to Rupert Murdoch. It was noticeable that on the day he died, the then editor of the Independent Newspaper, Andreas Whittam Smith was the first person to state that the Mirror Group as well as the other Maxwell companies will have to be broken up as they were heavily in debt.

We see a Maxwell here hurtling towards disaster, running out of options, become paranoid, ruthless and a crook raiding his staff's pension funds.

Suchet plays to Maxwell's contradictions. He wants to be part of the establishment but it does not want him. Maxwell, the man of the people doing so much for charity but then with a banker, urinating from the side of his skyscraper on to the people on the street below. Suchet does not want to portray him as a pantomime villain as he had a rough charm with his cynicism.


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