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A Different Take on a Classic
The Charles Laughton/Tyrone Powers/Marlene Dietrich/Billy Wilder 1957 film of "Witness for the Prosecution" has been one of my favorite films since I was in high school. So, watching this Toby Jones version--that follows Agatha Christie's original short story--comes as quite a surprise. Mostly the same characters, but with a decidedly different take on the story of love & guilt. The two "Witness" films are like watching the Kurosawa film "Rashomon"--the guilt lands on different characters.
That said, and because I'm a student of film, I liked the Toby Jones version, too; and don't feel like it's inferior to the Billy Wilder film. The photography and set designs are all shadows, fog and smoke; just the right mood for a story that is does not reveal itself and fools the eyes. The acting is all excellent, which is in keeping with all British productions. And, the pacing of the narrative is accomplished with no tech or CGI--which is refreshing in this age of SuperHero films.
Bottom line: if approached without bias, this film of Agatha Christie's "first draft" of Witness for the Prosecution is rewarding on it's on merits.
As Good As It Gets
I just stumbled across this film on iTunes on a lazy Sunday, and have been jumping for joy! I love "thinking" spy thrillers--films like The Ipcress Files, Funeral In Berlin, The Night Manager, Homeland, and even Turn: Washington's Spies--and Restless ranks right up there with the best. The plot is intelligent without being too complex, the directing was spot-on (I particularly liked the cutting back-and-forth between time periods at the end of the first part of this two-part mini), and the period clothes, cars and interiors are right up there with The Man in the High Castle. Oh and the acting by this cast of Brits, should make U.S. actors want to go back to school. And I can't say enough about Hayley Atwell's performance: incredible! Plus, with her generous curves, she was made for 1940s films. All around excellent film. Find it on DVD or iTunes and watch it--and then watch it again. You won't be disappointed.