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Archive for the ‘Law’ Category

Turks & Caicos (2014)

In Action, Amazing, BBC, Crime, film, Law, new, political, Recommendation, Review, Spy on 22/03/2014 at 11:00 am

A great BBC Original spy thriller-drama with a cast so starry it’s hard to believe it’s only a telly production. Former MI5 agent Johnny/Tom Eliot (Bill Nighy) is trying to stay out of trouble on Turks & Caicos – a tropical tax haven – but fails miserably when he gets entangled in a CIA efforts lead by Curtis Pelissier (Christopher Walken) to catch some big-arse crooks. We’ve seen Nighy in many roles like this, but it’s hard to object as he does such a lovely job at being the well-mannered, understated and well-tailored Englishman.

When he fled from HM’s SS, he left behind the love of his life and also former spy Margot (Helena Bonham-Carter) – but his plight is bound to bring them back together. Meanwhile, Melanie (Winona Ryder) is in with the bad boys but the question is whether she wants to be. She’s all grown up, fragile, broken and seductive all at once. Back in the UK, Margot gets closer to Stirling Rogers (Rupert Graves, Sherlock) who is too rich and powerful not to be involved somehow, and also plays tennis with the PM, Alec Beasley (Ralph Fiennes), which gives rise to the question of his involvement in illegal financial thievery.

All the plots, schemes, power play and politics are made more interesting by the central notion of this story: humanity. Not once does this film degrade itself to plot-driven cops&robbers trickery. The island’s police force, Johnny, Margot and Johnny’s love, Melanie’s MO – they all boil down to a sense of ‘as long as there’s people like them in the world, we might be alright’.

Also, writer and director David Hare (The Reader, The Hours) made a film that blatantly says: tax havens are corrupt, dangerous, criminal snake-pits that use our tax payers’ money to enrich themselves and politicians involved. And it’s about time.

NB: No trailer available yet – here’s one for Original British Drama featuring some tasters.

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The Escape Artist (2013)

In BBC, Crime, Law, new, Recommendation, Review, series on 19/11/2013 at 5:04 pm

A modern three part justice/crime tale starring the effervescently great David Tennant as a star London barrister. He gets a complete psychopath off the hook for a murder charge and then  his life changes dramatically. I won’t spoil it – but I will say the plot has quite a classic twist, which works in its benefit.

Escape Artist is indeed well worth the watch because it is a story well made and told. But it’s not ground breaking or revolutionary in any sense and unfortunately, you’re likely to forget about it.

However much I appreciate the quality of these BBC drama series, it does make me wonder if our collectively owned broadcaster is trying hard enough to deliver spectacular drama. I feel this is reaffirming, but not artistically anywhere good enough to meet our high standards.

SUS (2010)

In Amazing, Crime, film, Law, political, Recommendation, Review on 18/01/2012 at 11:06 pm

This film in three words: different, important and superb.

It’s election night 1979: just a couple of hours until the era of Thatcher begins. A pregnant woman is found dead in her flat, a bloody screwdriver nearby. Her husband is held and interrogated on suspicion of murder. The detectives are blatantly racist and the devastated husband plummets into a nightmare as all his legal rights are withheld. This is SUS: a frightening law that allows the police to hold and interrogate somebody on suspicion alone – as frequently used in the UK during Thatcher’s reign.

This film, written as a play originally by Barrie Keeffe, is an exceptionally daunting example of what SUS can turn into. As it is claustrophobically set in a single room, it heavily relies on the acting abilities of Clint Dyer (husband Delroy) and police ruffians Ralph Brown and Rafe Spall (also an excellent villain in The Shadow Line).

When I say the acting is superb, I exaggerate not. SUS is a terrifying spectacle and it shows so much with so little plot. It’s just a room, three men and a situation, but they’ll have you on the edge of your seat, hiding under a pillow, swearing at the screen and perhaps desperately wishing you had one of those tissue boxes like in the telly ads as well.

 

Heaven (2002)

In Amazing, Crime, film, Law, Recommendation, Review, romantic on 07/11/2011 at 11:25 am

Yet another reason to love Cate Blanchett. Heaven tells the story of Philippa, an English teacher set out to avenge her husband’s death of a drug overdose. The Italian drug baron she holds responsible must pay with his life. In Turin, all doesn’t go according to plan and we find a woman torn by grief, consumed by determination and led by love and a great sense of injustice.

From a story about fanaticism driven by personal loss, it takes a quite different turn when Philippa’s interpreter Filippo (Giovanni Ribisi) falls in love with her and decides to take charge of the situation.

Blanchett has been labelled ‘the Australian dramatic chameleon’ for her ability not only to tackle parts varying from Queen Elizabeth I to Bob Dylan, but also for capturing an astounding array of human emotions within a single scene. In Heaven she gives life to an immensely complex and terrifyingly human character – despite all its extremities. It makes Heaven an utterly gorgeous watch.

The trailer didn’t do much for me and contains rather many spoilers. Here’s a clip – also harbouring some spoilers- but then it’s such a good scene that I’m hoping you won’t mind. Lots of this in Italian. But I don’t speak Italian and I got every single word, so most of you should be fine without subs.

The Ghost Squad (2005)

In Crime, Law, Recommendation, series on 18/10/2011 at 1:52 am

This is not about ghosts. This is a series about a secret police division combating police corruption.

Right, now that’s out of the way, I can ask you: Have you ever had a crime series reccommended to you not because of the good crime stories but because of the good acting?

How’s that for rare, eh?

The plotting is admittedly phenomenal in the first episode and then it gets a bit average, if still very engaging. BUT the whole thing revolves around bent-copper-catcher detective Amy Harris, played by Elaine Cassidy, who is frankly just a bit brilliant and an absolute pleasure to watch.

Here’s the first bit of the first (of seven) episodes – for lack of a decent trailer.

 

 

Silk (2010)

In Amazing, Crime, Law, Recommendation, Review, series on 23/07/2011 at 4:40 pm

An impressive six part series written by Peter Moffat, mainly about two barristers battling for Silk status (or QC – a much desired position of privilege in law acquired by merit).

Martha Costello (Maxine Peake) is an arrantly dedicated defence lawyer who holds strong beliefs in the workings of the system. Her convictions are often challenged, as is the path she needs to follow to take Silk. Her more playful colleague, the womanising Clive Reader (Rupert-Penry-Jones), while prodding and teasing Martha’s ways, ends up facing his own existential challenges. Perhaps equally important to this drama series are the two interesting and handsome young pupils, Nick (Tom Hughes) and Niamh (Nathalie Dormer).

The focus on Silk lies on the drama, not on the criminal justice system. The pace of this series is quite high (that means you need to pay attention not to lose the plot) and it takes highly unexpected turns. What worked out best (hence my mentioning the writer) is the immediate impact the characters make. Only half way through the first episode, all four of them get to you. Each of them with their own charms, faults and quirks.

Made in Dagenham (2010)

In feel good, film, Law, period drama, Recommendation on 01/07/2011 at 6:07 pm

Made in Dagenham tells the rather marvellous story of the women who worked at the Ford factory in Dagenham in the late 1960s and how one supposedly ordinary lady called Rita O’Grady (well done Sally Hawkins) ends up making all the difference. They’re the first women workers to go on strike and they hold on for three weeks.

It’s a perfect feel good film about very important stuff with great actors and stunning sixties hairdos. That, and Miranda Richardson as Barbara Castle (the Minister who really made it happen) is terrific.