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Advocates II (1992)
An Inferior Sequel
Most of the lead characters from the original return for this one. Like before, this three part mini-series takes place in Edinburgh. This time out, there's a lawyer arrested for the murder of his wife. Is he the actual one responsible, or is the town's uncaught serial killer the one to blame? This series is a different animal from the first one. One of the charms of the original was the chemistry between Stella Gonet and Ewan Stewart. With Gonet gone, Stewart has no one to bounce off lines with. A sometimes exotic looking Rachel Weisz plays his girlfriend, but their pairing is more for service of the plot. Their age disparity ensures that no sparks ensue.
The script lacks the wit of the first series. With a different writer this time out(John Cooper), the mechanics are typical TV gyrations. What's more, the motivation given for the setting off of the killer is nothing more than a contrivance. So it's up to Stewart, Isla Blair and the rest of the cast to sustain attention. Thankfully, they do.
Advocates I (1991)
Surprisingly watchable mini-series
I don't know which is the bigger surprise- that this is out on video or that such an obscurity would be so pleasurable to watch. A three part TV mini-series set in Edinburgh about a pair of newly minted lawyers investigating a murder. They have the odds against them dealing with the town's complex web of loyalties ranging from the highest to lowest rungs of society. Nothing at all revolutionary here; what's here has been done a million times. What makes it a decent ride are the highly enjoyable performances by Ewan Stewart, Isla Blair, Stella Gonet and the rest of the cast. Much credit should also go to its writer Alma Cullen. Anyone who appreciates that famous British knack for wordplay will find plenty here to savor.
Godard's most complex soundtrack?
Like zetes stated, this was supposed to be Godard's "commercial" movie. However, it actually feels like his least commercial film of the ones released since 1980. Ever the prankster, Godard stocks the film to the brim with pratfalls, movie quotes and other allusions.
It's hard to imagine how it is watching this in the theater. The film is so multi-layered that it's impossible to take in at one time.
I'm not sure what his stance is on the home video vs. theater debate. A movie so dense with quotes is almost destined to be better viewed at home. There are multiple scenes where if you pay attention to one thing, you wind up missing some other detail. Even after multiple viewings. I had to watch this more times than any of the other Godard film currently in print just to make sure I caught enough of the details.
As awesome technically as the film is, it somehow feels like a rehash of what he already did with First Name Carmen, Passion and Hail Mary. The fact that this was a commission may mean his heart wasn't quite in it. You could never accuse him of that with most of his other films.