ENDEAVOUR (2012)


Director: Colm McCarthy

Writer: Russell Lewis (written and devised by)
(Based on the character created by Colin Dexter)

Cast: Michael Matus, John Light, Flora Montgomery, Patrick Malahide, Shaun Evans, Roger Allam, Danny Webb, Richard Lintern...

Runtime: 120 minutes

Genres: Crime | Drama | Mystery

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

Inspector Morse had to begin his career somewhere. In ENDEAVOUR, the audience meets Morse in his Detective Constable days. Unlike the Morse most fans are familiar with, the young Morse is insecure, tenative, and doesn't drink. He is disillusioned with police work and at odds with his life. He seems adrift in his surroundings and aloof from his colleagues. A missing persons case brings him, and others from his police station, to Oxford to compliment the regular Oxford police who are stretched thin by the current investigation.

The case is not as straight forward as the detectives in charge would like to believe. Morse's unique perspective on the case immediately puts him at odds with some of the senior officers and changes the course of the investigation, not always for the better. The case is complicated as are the motives of the various suspects.

I was not familiar with the actor portraying the young Endeavour Morse but I was pleasantly surprised at how well the actor (Shaun Evans) was able to capture the essence of Morse yet make it his own. The supporting cast all brought much to the production. The writing was outstanding, the filming superb, and the music glorious! (Un Bel Di from Madame Butterfly is my favorite aria and featured prominently as the storyline unfolded.)

Fans of Inspector Morse will find much to savor in this movie, including many references to places and things from the Inspector Morse series. (Hint: crosswords, maroon Jaguar, and the traditional Colin Dexter cameo appearance, just to name a few.) Viewers new to the Morse character need not worry that they are missing anything. Not knowing the references to the older Morse will not detract from the enjoyment of viewing Endeavour.

I highly recommend Endeavour to fans of Inspector Morse, in particular, and to those who enjoy British mystery and crime stories. The movie is quite enjoyable and stands up to repeated viewing. (I've watched it three times already and plan to watch it again soon.)

The writer plans to continue Endeavour as a series, returning 12 March, 2012 (in the UK). Unfortunately, the DVD is currently available only in the UK format. That is not a problem of course for viewers who have a non-regional DVD player but for those who don't, this DVD will not play on USA/Canadian DVD players. At some point, I anticipate the movie will be made available for viewing in the USA and other countries and/or perhaps be shown on PBS stations. No information regarding such showings is currently available.

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