Sunday, 8 May 2011


Part 1 (of 3)
Part 2 (of 3)
Part 3 (of 3)

Listings and reviews took to calling this a "psychological thriller", which I'm not sure is entirely accurate, but I guess they needed some way to pigeonhole it. In reality it combines two usually quite distinct genres: the "conspiracy thriller" and the "serious drama about illness", in roughly equal parts.

Jim Broadbent was exceptional as a man with Alzheimer's -- combined with Danny Brocklehurst's script, Exile gave a more realistic and thorough depiction than normally seen. The thriller side was pretty good with some nice twists, although the hand of "creator" (how can someone "create" but not write a three-part serial? Weird) Paul Abbott seemed obvious at times: John Simm as a roguish journalist investigating a cover-up that may involve his former best friend, while shagging said former-best-friend's wife? Straight out of State of Play, that.

Didn't overshadow it too much though -- this was a superior drama, proof (if it were needed) that claims we can't do Real Drama (provoked every so often by the likes of The Wire or The Killing) are unfounded. We do a lot of tosh, true, but other countries surely churn out a lot of crap that we simply don't see. In fact, if you put together all the high-quality drama the UK produces every year, it'd probably trump the amount of equally-good drama we see coming out of other countries. So there.

[Watch parts one, two and three (again) in HD on iPlayer.]


An Education (2009)
[#51 in 100 Films in a Year 2011]
This has its UK TV premiere next Friday -- I'll try to have a review up by then, then.

this week on 100 Films

2 new reviews were posted to 100 Films in a Year this week, and they were...

Exam (2009)
The film occurs in real-time (more or less) in a single room. These are two narrative tricks I always enjoy the potential of... Exam succeeds in both... Writer-director Hazeldine’s screenplay is inventive enough to keep the story rolling throughout the entire film, while the direction and camerawork keeps it visually interesting without tipping over into pointless flashiness.

Once (2006)
The musical bit is both traditional and revisionist. The songs still reveal character and emotion, in the way they do in all good musicals, but here the lead characters are a pair of musicians and the songs are (mostly) placed in a plausible context — strumming on the bus, writing lyrics to a tune, recording in a studio

More next Sunday.