Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
Atmosphere and style!
This is something a bit different from the usual police procedural and it works very well because of the stylish and stylised direction and some great acting. The different sides of policing are painted with a broad brush but are essentially true, from the squad-room boys' club to the top brassall management-speak plus old boys' network. Anyone who works in a company, private or public, of any scale, has seen these in action even today!
Phil Davis is cast very much to type as the cynical, angry, working policeman but the twist here is that he is the one who makes major mistakes every time about the perpetrator of the crimes and the possible suspects.
Steve Pemberton manages to be creepy and sympathetic at the same time.
Rupert Penry-Jones' subtle and far-from-heroic presentation of the "useless" plastic fast-tracker is spot-on, as is his gradual realisation that he's out of his depth and is being cast adrift by his "puppetmasters". He's been brilliant at the slow transformation into a real investigator, going with his instincts instead of by the book. It's a very unshowy but intense and believable performance and one of his best to date. The premise is highly imaginative by its nature but the mix of factual background and stylised dramatisation is so effective because it exercises the imagination. So many people, on the net and round the water-cooler, are talking about this drama, who dunnit and how the main characters are going to pan out, whether successful or failed or shattered. That's the mark of a really successful piece of TV!
The 39 Steps (2008)
Right Steps for me!
I really, really enjoyed this. I thought it was light-hearted, entertaining, captured the spirit of the period without getting bogged down in pedantic detail and it fairly zipped along. It was a new version with its own contemporary axes to grind/boxes to tick and on that basis, it worked like a charm for me. And speaking of charm, I think Rupert Penry-Jones is grossly under-rated as an actor and here, he was just perfectly cast and wonderfully skilled in a role almost tailor-made for someone with a light touch and a bit of dash about him. I don't know where people get the idea RPJ is wooden and can't do comedy-his way of commenting with a straight face and a twinkle in his eye is just lovely. Too subtle for some, maybe. And charm? Even when the character was making a klutz of himself he had buckets of charm. Too many nicely detailed moments to count. As to the portrayal of the character of Richard Hannay, it seemed to me truer to the concept of the ordinary man caught up in great events than many others have been. He was presented right from the start as a man looking for something, a man uncertain of his place in the world who was thrown into a situation beyond his control but who did his best, who used what experience and skills he had acquired in life to get himself out of trouble. But he was also a fallible human being who did get out of his depth and who didn't have the perfect answer to everything. People either want an all-knowing, superman-type, one-bound-and-he-was-free hero or they don't. That doesn't make any alternative a wimp or a wet. Hannay here was a clever, talented and resourceful person but also bewildered, confused and scared. I wasn't mad about the addition of the Victoria character but she struck me as far more believable and attractive than any of the introduced love interests that went before. Madeleine Carroll was gorgeous but passive (a stock Hitchcock heroine, quelle surprise!) and the others are just forgettable. I liked the notion that they were both prejudiced and opinionated (a nod to some of the now unacceptable, though of-their-time, opinions stated in Buchan's original) but that they came round to each other as they saw what the other was capable of. And their sarky/comic exchanges were a treat!
Of course it went for shameless audience pleasing and none the worse for that. It obviously succeeded on that score because it got excellent viewing figures-almost 7 and a half million. The romance was delightfully schmaltzy and of course it was sexed up. Hitchcock started that, after all, with his handcuffs and stockings. Big wow-sex did not begin in 1963 and in any case, the Edwardian era (OK, I know this was set in 1914 and George V's reign but it didn't disappear overnight!) wasn't exactly noted for its prudishness, from the top of the social scale down. This was a piece of escapist fiction, not an academic commentary on post-Edwardian, pre-World War One social mores. I loved this and I will love watching it again, so I have ordered the DVD to do just that. And I hope they hire Rupert Penry-Jones to do further Hannays, especially Greenmantle and Mr Standfast. So there!