Set in 1930s Shanghai, where a blind American diplomat develops a curious relationship with a young Russian refugee who works odd -- and sometimes illicit -- jobs to support members of her dead husband's aristocratic family.
Set in northern Australia before World War II, an English aristocrat who inherits a sprawling ranch reluctantly pacts with a stock-man in order to protect her new property from a takeover plot. As the pair drive 2,000 head of cattle over unforgiving landscape, they experience the bombing of Darwin, Australia, by Japanese forces firsthand.
Near the end of World War II, 14-year-old Michiel becomes involved with the Resistance after coming to the aid of a wounded British soldier. With the conflict coming to an end, Michiel ... See full summary »
Jamie Campbell Bower,
Yorick van Wageningen
I read the book Birdsong (the basis for this series) by Sebastian Faulks many years ago and really enjoyed it, particularly the sections about life in the trenches, which I found very gripping and evocative. Perhaps my memory is playing up, but I seemed to remember that this was the main point of the book, not the romance between Stephen and his french girlfriend, which was the main focus of this disappointing adaptation.
I am amazed how the production team managed to turn such a good book about WW1 into such a dull and plodding romantic drama. The dialogue was stilted, and although I am English and therefore used to the various English dialects, I struggled most of the time to understand what was being said so had to turn the volume up higher than normal. The acting was also poor - involving lots of staring mournfully at each other and simpering. I'm not sure if this was the actors' / director's faults or whether it was such a bad script that there was just no dialogue to work with. I've never watched a drama with so many long silences in it (except maybe the Twilight films); I'm sure this wasn't a feature of the book. I found myself getting very frustrated with the slow pace and kept wanting to reach for the FF button on the remote. I also found the casting of several of the characters very odd - especially the normally excellent Matthew Goode and Eddie Redmayne.
The one redeeming feature of the series was that it looked good.
In summary then, one to avoid and read the book instead.
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