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38 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Edge Of Darkness, State Of Play, Tinker Tailor and now this

Author: bilko-1 from United Kingdom
26 May 2011

Edge Of Darkness and State Of Play have already been mentioned, but come episode two and we have an obvious reference to Tinker Tailor. This show is not overshadowed in such illustrious company. It is a deep, dark labyrinthine plot carried by a superb cast, each member on top of their game. The dense text will not be to everybody's taste, but for those who enjoy the likes of Bleasdale, Pinter and Potter this will probably be the first great television masterpiece of the 21st century. It is hard to pick out one performance that outshines the rest. Chiwetel Ejiofor is truly sympathetic as the cop who has to battle with memory loss to discover whether or not he is corrupt. Leslie Sharp battles to retain her fast fading memory as she descends into the Hell that is Althseimers, whilst her husband played by Christopher Ecclestone, juggles an Hogarthian cast of crooks until he can make his last deal. Rafe Spall gives a magnificent over-the-top performance as the deranged nephew of Mr. Big and then in comes Stehopen Rae as the villainous Alec Guiness style dark brother of GEORGE smiley. Absolutely wonderful!

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32 out of 42 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant on so many levels

Author: gerhard7
26 May 2011

I'm so sick of predictable story-lines and being spoon fed on junk cop related television series with mightier than thou characters that are un-humanly flawless, clever, beautiful and blah blah blah. So at long last, here is a TV series that demands a certain level of intelligence from it's viewers. It's cinematicly glorious with non stereo typical characters. An unpredictable storyline that twist and turns with tension and intrigue throughout. Sublime characters well acted by superb cast. I LOVE it!!! Cannot wait for a week to pass to see the next installment. I've watched 4 episodes so far and it just keeps getting better. This is BBC program making at it's very best. A gem, cannot fault it.

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16 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

I'll watch this more than once

Author: IzAguirreWrathofGod from United Kingdom
10 June 2011

The Beeb, like little Jack Horner, has put in it's thumb and pulled yet another plum classic out of it's pie, with this wonderfully convoluted crime thriller about dodgy cops, drugs, money and "which one is the good guy?" stuff. I have now watched six of the 7 episodes and still don't really know WTF is going on ! But I will watch every minute until it is over and then probably experience some serious withdrawal symptoms for a while. Director Hugo Blick has created a slow-paced atmospheric series where it is nigh impossible to come close to predicting what will come next. It's as cliché-free a story as I have seen recently, with some seriously good set pieces/face-offs and nobody is what they appear to be, except maybe the cat. It also is a masterclass in acting from Stephen Rea, Chris Ecclestone, Antony Sher, Chiwetel wotsisname and others and the editing, lighting and locations are dark and menacing, as an example, the alleyway scene, where Glickman and his girlfriend reunite. WoW Recommended

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18 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Just seen the finale

Author: kensctt from United States
16 June 2011

From tears to screaming out at one of the characters by use of the c word, all within 5 minutes. One of the most moving series I have seen in many a while. Complex.....yes. Worth persevering.....ABSO-BLOODY-LUTELY Wow. A great script. AMAZING performances. Stephen Rea has to be the most evil personae since Hannibal Lecter. Hard to see Eve Best out of her Dr. Eleanor O'Hara role, but she manages to pull it off.

I really wish that there could be a second season, but unlike any yank series it won't be happening.

Thank you BBC. I see several BAFTAs in your future,

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22 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

I reserve the right to revise this upwards.

Author: nichomach from Preston, England
6 May 2011

Just caught up with the first episode of The Shadow Line.

1. Any series that nicks a title off Joseph Conrad is at least ASPIRING to greatness.

2. Chiwetel Ejiofor's a BAMF. With immaculate vowels. Match that with Christopher "Lots of planets have a North" Ecclestone and it's made of win from the start 3. This series is almost into Edge Of Darkness goodness already. No. Not the Mel Gibson version.

In all honesty, this is what the BBC was made to do; original drama that wouldn't have been made by any other channel in the UK. Perhaps it's all going to implode into crapness, but so far I really don't see how it can. OK, posting reviews when I'm shedded's probably a bad idea, but this, so far, is immaculate.

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Things to do in London when you're Dead

Author: paul2001sw-1 ( from Saffron Walden, UK
17 June 2011

Hugo Blick, the writer and director of 'The Shadow Line', has spoken of his inspirations as a television dramatist: the incomparable 'The Singing Detective' (a story based on buried personal drama); 'Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy' (with its deceptively quiet middle aged protagonists); and 'Edge of Darkness' (and its mood of general paranoia). On watching his series, however, I was reminded of some American films: 'Things to to in Denver When You're Dead', and 'Brick', for example, as well as many of the works of David Mamet. What these tales have in common is a certain stylised dialogue, and more generally an internally consistent world which only partly resembles our own and which exists entirely within the prism of its own construction. In the case of 'The Shadow Line', Blick manages to keep this going for seven full hours, mostly successfully: the series is artfully shot and orchestrated and full of memorable scenes, the devilish and inventive plot even makes some sort of sense in the end, and a superb gaggle of character actors rise superbly to the script, none more so than Stephen Rea whose wonderfully-named character Gatehouse is the role of a lifetime. It's not perfect, however: with a plot so intricate, and an entire drama consisting of the sorts of encounter that might normally be found only at the most critical moment, there's no room for normality: it's hard to care about the characters or even, in it's most baffling moments, the story, however much one is absorbed; the personal elements are not as superfluous as might be thought half-way through, but one's still more likely to laugh as the preposterous twists as one is to cry for the death of one of the few sympathetic figures. Against a backdrop of such a superb cast, Chiwetel Ejiofor is a little lightweight in the lead role; and with so many characters, almost all of them dodgy, that at times one can lose track of which is which. But it's bold and inventive, a character-led drama whose characters are (in the real world) scarcely plausible, but who make perfect, chilling sense on the other side of the line.

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12 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

The best mini-series of all time.

Author: Rockwell_Cronenberg from United States
15 August 2011

The closest thing the Brits will have to an answer for The Wire. The Shadow Line is a stunning exploration of the line that men walk between morality, faith, justice and identity. The writers keep you in a constant state of mystery, unsure of who these people are and what side they ultimately lie on. The lines are blurred up until the end and everyone involved makes it a gripping and intense journey through this dangerous world. There are so many scenes that had my legs shaking in paranoia, dying to see how things were going to turn out. They somehow manage to make the quietest moments the most epic; there's a scene at the beginning of the fifth episode (that ends up lasting almost half an hour) that felt very reminiscent of that epic feeling during the Omar/Brother Mouzone meetup in The Wire.

Of course, the talented cast is an essential piece of crafting this brilliant work; Chiwetel Ejiofor is the perfect protagonist, a do-gooder with a potentially dark past who explodes in the final few episodes. Christopher Eccleston excels as the "good guy" on the bad side, a very Stringer Bell-esque character who takes a business approach to everything. The supporting cast all make huge impressions as well; Rafe Spall and Stephen Rea both create two of the most terrifying villains in recent memory. Spall the livewire with his finger always on the trigger and Rea the calm and mysterious shadow figure hiding behind the door. They take two entirely different approaches and each one is marvelous beyond words.

It's pretty hard for a mini-series to end up ranking among the best complete series for me, but this one is high up there. It's without a doubt the best mini-series I've ever seen and at the end I was definitely just desperate for even more. The final episode ends up having to rely a little too much on exposition and there are a few too many twists, but it's all necessary to wrap up the story and leave the viewer satisfied with answers. The Shadow Line is the rare series that will have you constantly guessing and on the edge of your seat. Intensity beyond intensity, a really powerful masterwork.

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12 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Difficult At Times But Daring

Author: GrahamEngland from United Kingdom
17 June 2011

This series lost viewers from a strong start (for a BBC2 series) and got mixed reviews. You cannot win can you? All the signposted, glib, lazy, pandering excess of cop/thrillers blocking up the schedules, not just from the turgid ITV1 either, which many reviewers rightly are fed up with. Blick dares to dare at least.

'The Shadow Line' was not easy comfort viewing, that was the point of it, surely?

It compares very well to the missed opportunity of 'Luther', though in that case perhaps having one of the stars of 'The Wire' raised impossible expectations, even so, what a load of overblown, overheated, all sound and fury signifying nothing 'Luther' is - I gave up on it after series 1.

The Shadow Line had some of the very best, most tense, often shocking set pieces of anything on UK television for many a long time, these were not isolated either. This I think is where many draw comparisons with classics like 'Edge Of Darkness', The Shadow Line does not match up to that one - what does? Still, the comparison with 'Between The Lines' of 20 years ago, as some critics have cited, despite the very different series formats, is a fair one.

Overall, a good effort, worthwhile, a series that will be looked back on rather more fondly that the more negative reviewers think.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Very Good don't miss it.

Author: jacko07 from United Kingdom
27 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I agree with the majority of reviewers, 'The Shadow Line' is a very good drama about the sordid world of double cross and drug deals. A few minor things lessen it's authenticity, but you can't have it all.

Without doubt it is certainly one of the best things this year.

It is a great script and the characters are are realistic. Rafe Spall is good but goes slightly over the top with an accent straight out of 'Little Britain', this in my view made his character slightly less believable as an arch villain. Spall is a good actor, not yet as well known as his father Timothy. Rafe is more in the like of Tim Roth and Gary Oldman. It is on the cards that he and several others in this drama will be in great demand when casting agents watch the performances in this.

Stephen Rea, Robert Pugh, Anthony Sher, Lesley Sharpe, David Schofield and Malcom Storry doing great work as they always do. Although fairly new to me, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Keirston Wareing were great, in fact the whole production was top class.

Great TV with a great British cast and a good music score make 'The Shadow Line' unmissable. It will be an injustice if this isn't up for several BAFTAs next year.

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6 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

The best thing I've seen this year

Author: Moviefile from United Kingdom
17 June 2011

Well the series finally came to its grim conclusion and I have to say I didn't see this ending coming. I read other reviews comparing this series to The Edge of Darkness (the series not the film), and while I get the comparison, that did have light relief in the Joe Don Baker and Charles Kay characters.

The shadow line has no such lightness or let up, and the nearest I can get to compare my feeling at the end is the 'Get Carter' (Michael Caine) film.

A fine cast does this justice and an excellent script made Thursday evenings a night in! A huge well done to the writer and all the actors who made this so memorable. If you remember Stephen Rea as Carter Brandon in 'I didn't know you cared' (one of the best comedy series ever IMHO), who would have imagined he would progress to being one of the most memorable screen villains ever. Bravo!

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