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Monarch of the Glen (2000–2005)
Rubbish
15 April 2003
As far as characters, storylines, and production quality are concerned, the "Monarch of the Glen" is indistinguishable from virtually every other British series. What makes it repugnant is the basic premise - that of an English aristocratic family claiming to be "Highland chiefs".

This is based on a small group of ageing Englishmen in the UK given titles like "Lord" or "Chief of the name" by none other than the British court(!), while genuine MacDonalds are conveniently exiles in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, partly due to the actions of the ancestors of these faux chiefs. Anything that celebrates this pompous, triumphalist group of people who seem to think Queen Victoria is still on the throne is highly offensive. Worse still, fake and sanitised "history" of "Clan MacDonald" has occasionally been presented on the programme, in one episode from a silly man with an aristocratic English accent wearing a grotesque tacky fake plaid get-up.

If there were a series like this in the USA or Canada showing a cadre of arrogant Ivy-league educated WASPs purporting to be "Red Indian Chiefs" marching around in commercialised fake "Indian feathers", plastic moccasins and stainless steel tomahawks downplaying such history as the Trail of Tears, it would get the intense criticism and legal challenges it deserves - and probably never have a second show, let alone season. Sadly, equivalent rubbish is allowed to flourish in the UK.
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1/10
Paranoia
22 February 2003
This film is a very enlightening glimpse into Britain's paranoid ideas during the Cold War.

Right-wing English ultranationalist Frederick Forsyth makes it a point to have human rights activist Kim Philby brutally murdered in the beginning of the story, and voices of dissent against Thatcher's heavy handed regime painted as fools.

The KGB is portrayed through silly stereotype and myth. KGB officers are shown killing each other, something that may happen in the UDA/UFF, but not the KGB.

Essentially a nationalist propaganda piece, the film does have some strong points, including a superb cast.
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10/10
Amazing
12 February 2003
The plight of Australia's indigenous people is shown through the struggle of three sisters, lead by the clever and capable Molly Craig.

The cinematography and musical score add layers of depth to an already powerful true and tragic story. I doubt I could run out of good things to say about this film.

The suffering of Molly Craig and her sisters are but one example of a long history of racism, persecution and cultural annihilation enthusiastically practised by the British Empire. Nineteenth century English scholars believed different ethnic groups had varying levels of average intelligence; the Australian Aborigine was thought to be little more intelligent than apes while the English were unsurprisingly purported to be geniuses. Mr. Neville was not devising his own theories, but rather drawing on a longstanding British tradition.
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Kidnapped (1971)
5/10
Pleasant, but Historically Inaccurate.
6 February 2003
This is certainly not the worst film in history, but also far from great cinema. Despite dating from 1971, it has the look and feel of a film from the '40s.

"Kidnapped" follows the story of David Balfour, an orphaned Lowland Scots boy betrayed and cheated by his drunken oaf of an uncle on the cusp of his eighteenth birthday.

The British uniforms and civilian attire are done well, but the "Highland" clothing is laughably inaccurate.

Michael Caine is a very good actor, though horribly miscast in the role of "Allan Breck". The idea of having an Englishman play the role only adds weight to the fiction that anything here resembles genuine Highland history. The "i" is dotted with the garish swashbuckle mustachio sported by Caine. And that hair. Why?

It is also interesting that most of the characters seem to have amazing skill in keeping their hair perfectly clean, straight and shiny and if they just left a hair salon when they are yomping around the Trossachs hiding from the English!

The dialogue is wrought with semi-condescending, boring statements. I can not count how many times I heard words like "heather", "bonnie", or "lassie" from people who should not even be speaking English. It is overtly evident that none of the people involved with this movie, from the caterers to the director, had ANY historical background into Highland history and no knowledge of the culture apart from stereotype and myth.

It was well-intentioned and not cynical, so it does have some strengths. See Rob Roy if you want a historically accurate film on the Highland experience.

5/10
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The Equalizer (1985–1989)
Excellent and highly Intelligent
12 January 2003
"The Equalizer" was a unique and amazing series. I followed each episode with great interest. The ensemble of talent was remarkable - Edward Woodward having started out as a Shakespearean actor.

Hostile comments against this brilliant series derive largely from an inability to understand what McCall represented and who he was. A veteran of the British Army, he served in the Suez conflict and - while in the SAS - in operations in Malaya against Maoist gunmen. On leaving the British service he was recruited by the CIA who had apparently heard of his SAS exploits and talent in intelligence gathering. As his mother was an American, he could qualify as a US citizen - combine that with his last name, and he hardly qualifies as an Englishman. In the CIA he worked in Vietnam, where he met many of his later New York allies.

The character of Robert McCall may be in his early-mid fifties, but has a background of training and experience which would humble any supposedly tough petty-thug. For better organised enemies, McCall has a loyal following of friends to call on, including a selection of law enforcement personnel and ex-Special Forces men.

Therefore, he is not the tea-sipping greying middle-aged gentleman he may appear to be at first.

I adored this show. It requires a certain depth of historical knowledge to fully understand.
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