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Decent enough, well made and fairly powerful TV drama
26 August 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

STAR RATING: ***** Saturday Night **** Friday Night *** Friday Morning ** Sunday Night * Monday Morning

Doug Beckitt (Timothy Spall) is a calm, mild mannered driving instructor who'd rather walk away from a confrontation. His life is fairly orderly, until his eldest daughter is murdered right in front of him after an altercation in a shop. His life shattered, when the police prove ineffective tracking down the killers, he takes it in his hands to track down the gun that killed his daughter and maybe get even with the killers. But as he goes along his quest, he discovers a world beyond his comfortable existence that changes the course of his life forever.

Gun/knife crime is certainly doing the rounds in the news/media at the moment and this TV drama features a plot line that could be a reality at any given day. The always watchable Spall headlines a cast that fit the bill pretty perfectly, and he does a good job of portraying a gentle, mild mannered man who slowly has to come out of himself and confront his devastating feelings of grief and anger. He's at the centre of a plot that sees the worlds of middle England and inner city hell thrown together quite horribly. Indeed, a scene where he takes to the karaoke stand and delivers a rendition of Karen Carpenter's I See the World From Both Sides Now risks being unintentionally hilarious but while it's a bit unexpected and doesn't really fit the tone, it's also touching and sombre and matches the plot line of a man who's eyes have been opened to a world outside his comfortable existence, of rich and poor, of good and bad. The film manages to maintain a decent air of misery and tragedy through out, and also touches on themes of the appeal of holding/carrying knives for disenchanted IC youths and how they get drawn into that world (hence the title.)

There are some downsides, like Paul Kaye's turn as an incompetent junkie, aping Pete Doherty's pathetic appearance and fashion sense and an ending that takes an unbelievable, Hollywood lite sort of tone. But generally, this does a fair and decent job of conveying an all too likely and disturbing scenario nowadays. ***


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