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False Witness (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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11 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Worth witnessing

Author: edward wilgar ( from Melbourne, Australia
18 January 2009

"False Witness" is an enjoyable enough espionage mini-series which easily kept me watching for more than three hours in two sessions on Australian cable TV on the second weekend in January 2009 in what was claimed to be a "World Premiere". There's probably very little in it that you haven't seen before though the degree of culpability of the main character Ian Porter (Dougray Scott) had me guessing for a long time.

I thought this was a co-production between Australian pay-TV company Foxtel and British TV (BBC?) but apparently it's all-Aussie. The action takes place in London and Sydney and in case you're not sure where we are, every time the location changes we start with a shot of Tower Bridge, the London Eye, Big Ben etc or alternatively Sydney Harbour Bridge or the Opera House. (Incidentally, according to "False Witness" every resident of Sydney has a harbor view).

Real-life couple Dougray Scott and Claire Forlani are a great-looking pair, Clare especially is a stunning-looking young woman. Unfortunately on this evidence Dougray is something of a sleepwalker.

I don't think I need to explain the plot again as Venus Attack has covered it well but I suspect the couple whose marriage fails after they lose a child in an accident has been done before.

(The broadcast I watched had sub-titles (which I find helpful) in the second episode but not the first!)

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17 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

A Good But Cumbersome European Espionage Effort

Author: tabuno from utah
24 January 2009

This long and more intellectually convoluted espionage television mini-series incorporates the strong European tradition of subdued mystery and moral angst that skews the more uplifting, positive energy of American action-thrillers. The script and special camera work overreach themselves in their attempt to be smart and intriguing, though a careful read will reveal a rather irritating editing and irregular flow of the storyline with a number of gaps in the plot continuity. There is a heavy dose of emotional guilt and suffering, strangely analogous to Eastern cultural humble and suffering sacrifice philosophies. The TV series never quite reaches the potential for really potent enlightening, though it does mightily in its effort to push those notes of inspiration. A hard movie to sit through, The Diplomat though still presents a qualitatively superior substantive performance.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Better than I expected

Author: lucaspix from Brazil
30 January 2010

I saw this at home on DVD, and only realized it was a TV mini-series after I checked the running time ( over 180 minutes! ). Anyway, I decided to see it in one shot, if bored I could always stop it or pause for more popcorn! I found the plot a bit of a mix of other stories' ideas, but it was well developed and ended up quite interesting. I happen to appreciate most British/Aussie movies, especially the espionage genre, where they have a way of keeping you always wondering on the next move, like a chess game. Details come and go very quickly and sometimes I was glad on having subtitles to better understand the accent...! Acting is very good as I expected from the selected cast. I guess I was tired after 3 hours, but I could hold for another half if needed!

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Confusing plot

Author: Venus Attack from Singapore
15 December 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Shot in London & Australia. Ian Porter is the diplomat who got caught in the London's Scotland Yard & Russian nuclear terrorists way. Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard questioned Ian Porter for sealing the diplomatic containers that contains 23kg of heroin. He thought he's helping to counter-terrorism by acting as a middleman between the Russian mafia Krousov & the secret services so he's like the puppet being played by both teams but actually the secret services have other plans themselves. So Scotland Yard decide to whisk Ian & his estranged ex-wife, Pippa to Australia Sydney under a witness protection scheme and slowly discovered a deeper conspiracy that might kill thousands of people which Ian will have to decide who to protect. It's also about a family who lost their son & love by real life couple Dougray Scott & Claire Forlani.

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Great movie

Author: patlightfoot from Australia
15 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I viewed it on NBN last night the full version. I found it very visually dynamic, and the acting and action very exciting. I suppose watching three hours of this should have tired me, but it didn't. As a female I found the male principal actors very interesting. Although being a bit unshaven was a bit - well emphasizing their masculinity a little bit too much. But that's not a spoiler just a comment. The tempo through out was to me consistent and the final solution was energetic and thrilling. One query though, can you use mobile phones to ring internationally, I thought satellite phones could be traced?

The cinematography was brilliant, showed Sydney off very well. Just one comment, is there no customs for boat arrivals? Possibly not if they transferred to a local boat from some other out at sea. And after they blew up the nuke ? people were watching the flash etc. Hope the jets were not effected, that might have been a little creative. But who cares it was just a fictional movie.

I don't think the plot went beyond the point of probability. From what I know there is not necessarily any collusion between secret services or police forces. Unless it suits.

I found it very enjoyable and stimulating, and gave it a high rating for me. I'd like to see it again too!

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Too long and too complex

Author: Bene Cumb from Estonia/Tallinn
5 January 2013

This film/miniseries with quite confusing background - also known as The Diplomat in the UK and U.S., produced by Screen time Australia for the Australian subscription television channel UK.TV - is a proper thriller with mind-twisting and shooting elements, but due to length (almost 3 hours) and multilayer plot is often difficult to follow. Frequent flashbacks repeat themselves and do not provide any additional value to the general story. Behaviour of some officials is rather unrealistic and the link Russian mafia - nukes brings along several clichés and predictable ending. The cast is good, without distinguishable characters or performers though; I found Rachael Blake as Detective Chief Inspector Julie Hales the most convincing one.

The series is for you if you like sophisticated spy and mob series, otherwise it is "lengthwise challenging". Even Australia has given the world more interesting thrillers, not speaking of Brits.

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2 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Tame British version of "24," with a falsified DVD box for USA dupes

Author: charlytully from Rosebush
2 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In America (aka Region 1), millions of yankees have been duped into renting this title under the impression that it is a 94-minute long MOVIE--not a tepid British TV miniseries styled after Jack Bauer's "24," without most of the budget, killing, or excitement. In fact, the climax of the 93-minute Part Two of THE DIPLOMAT (a more apt description of this story than the Brit TV title, FALSE WITNESS) shamelessly steals one of the season-ending scenes from "24." But would Americans shell out one red cent for THE DIPLOMAT if they knew in advance it was 187 minutes long, and chock full of title character Ian Porter's flashbacks about his only child's disastrous loss (and by "chock full," I mean literally EVERY FIVE MINUTES, with a really cheap sepia-toned, shaky camera technique reminiscent of director Ulli Lommel at his cheesiest!) While Dougray Scott as Porter tries to create what James Bond would be like if he was a pathetic, mostly clueless and totally graceless homely man with nothing to live for, all the other characters in THE DIPLOMAT are even stupider, incongruous caricatures. If you need three hours of only occasionally interesting tedium to prove forever that NOT EVERYTHING on Brit TV is Masterpiece Theater-quality, THE DIPLOMAT may be just the ticket for you. It shows how shrewd Alistair Cooke was in not being buried, since he has no grave to spin in!

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Confusing, idiotic and highly unrealistic.

Author: Johnny Utah from United States
12 June 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The people who made this movie need to look up the word diplomatic immunity. The story is so full of plot holes that it makes Grand Canyon look small.

The story starts out with the main character getting pulled over in custom (which is highly unlikely since he's a diplomat) Than after a few hours/days with interrogation he all of a sudden is whisked off to Australia for witness protection along with he's ex wife. From than on out its get confusing and I couldn't figure out if getting caught in custom had been the plan all a long, But what I gather was that he's involved in smuggling a nuclear bomb into Australia and he got the key that could set it off. The MI6 is involved or so it seems, I got the impression it was just two desk clerks who cooked up the idea with some wage confirmation from their superior, but that part never really get clear. It is too long and the storyline goes in too many different directions ,and it never really gets clear why he smuggled drugs in the first place. *************** Spoilers ***************spoiler *******************spoilers****** spoilers The Australian police in Sydney seem to make one mistake after another for no comprehensive reason. they gotta be the most incompetent cops I've ever seen They see the main character "steal" a phone from a nearby kid, they see him talk while he runaway from them, yet they don't question him about the phone call at all. Later as they are about to search a car dealership for the bomb, they fail to see a car that drives away just as they enter the perimeter, even tough it happens right in front of them. I also doubt the local police alone would be fit to handle a case like smuggling of a nuclear weapon, I think a higher authority would be brought inn quite early on.

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3 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Tourist Authority video-postcard posing as thriller, or vice versa?

Author: wordcraft from Finland
16 May 2012

When I watched Part I of this two-part series (sight unseen, no peeking at the newspaper blurb), my immediate reaction was that it HAD to be an international co-production, since it suffers from that curious and embarrassing mannerism of nearly all productions made jointly by two (or three) national broadcasters, namely a perceived need to show countless clichéd images of the countries and cities concerned, presumably so that the Aussies can see "what London looks like" and the Brits can see how nine kinds of wonderful Sydney is.

Hence the action was punctuated every few seconds with expensive helicopter footage of locations like the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the London Eye, the Sydney Opera House, Big Ben, the Gherkin, St. Paul's, Piccadilly Circus by night (have I left anyone out?) and we got no authentic sense of "place" at all, simply bleeding chunks of what some imagination-challenged advertising agency thinks tourists want to see, OUGHT to see.

This approach actually seems a little pathetic and lacking in national self-confidence for a mini-series made in 2009 (and not a film from 1959), as though the show somehow still felt obliged to serve up eye-candy vignettes of the places to be at all "relevant".

The British do not feel a similar need for these postcard shots when they are working alone and/or for a domestic audience, and I rather doubted the Australians would really be so gauche that they think their own grown-ups need to be treated to an open-top-bus sightseeing tour between snippets of violence or dialogue.

Well... it turns out I was dead wrong about the co-production angle. It seems to be an OZ production plain and simple (and several people have mocked the wandering accents of the cast, too), sold on to UKTV, whose involvement was thus presumably only financial and not "artistic".

I'm not sure what that says about the mindset of the makers (or perhaps after all they got seed-money from the NSW Tourism Development Office and other similar instances in the UK), but personally I found the tacky inserts immensely intrusive and annoying, and I couldn't help thinking that if they had spent less on them and more on the nuts & bolts of script and direction (and had even hired an actor with a smidgen of dramatic skills and no facial paralysis to play Ian Porter) they might instead have been able to create a thriller that held my attention.

Still, they are definitely not the first to fall into this trap, and sure as hell they won't be the last. Unfortunately.

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