The Shadow Line
- TV Mini Series
Christopher Eccleston and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in this intricate conspiracy thriller set in a world of blurred morality, inhabited by conflicted characters on both sides of the law.Christopher Eccleston and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in this intricate conspiracy thriller set in a world of blurred morality, inhabited by conflicted characters on both sides of the law.Christopher Eccleston and Chiwetel Ejiofor star in this intricate conspiracy thriller set in a world of blurred morality, inhabited by conflicted characters on both sides of the law.
Things to do in London when you're Dead
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.
- Jun 17, 2011
Contribute to this page
Suggest an edit or add missing content