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284 MOVIES (released titles only)

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#50- Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

#100- Black Swan

#200- Mysteries of Lisbon

Last- Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Page Eight

Masterpiece Contemporary Presents: Page Eight
Written by David Hare
Directed by David Hare
Starring Bill Nighy, Rachel Weiss, Michael Gambon, Judy Davis

An aging intelligence analyst falls afoul of the government when his boss lets him in on some secrets.

This was a positive, if uneven, experience.  Acting kind of sloped downward through the cast list; but since we spend the vast majority of the time with Bill Nighy, of whom I have not yet found my fill-line, that's pretty well OK.  Special recognition must be given to an utterly wooden performance by Ralph Finnes as a Bush-esque Prime Minister; but everybody else was fine and I almost stopped hearing Dumbledore when Gambon was speaking.  Direction and production were right at the level I've grown to expect from British TV materials.

The problem here is the story.  Two hours was the wrong length for this much material.  I looked around (a little) to see if it was based on a book or something, and I found no evidence of that.  The story between the leads was the strongest, and I think it was a good choice to have the implications of the intelligence be political rather than "the world's going to explode if we don't uncover this sinister plot."  But everything else was underdeveloped.  There wasn't enough history with his daughter or his ex-wife, nor was there enough discussion of how everybody fell out of favor with the government.  Nor was there, nor was there, nor was there.  We were expected to take too much as a given.

It's kind of like a mediocre finale to a good TV series.  But still, you could do a lot worse.


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