PAGE EIGHT  (2011)

 

Director(s): David Hare
Writer(s): David Hare

Cast: Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Michael Gambon, Saskia Reeves, Ralph Fiennes…

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA): Not rated
Runtime: 1 hour 45 minutes
Studio: PBS: Masterpiece Contemporary

Genres: International espionage/Crime/Political drama/Mystery

List Price: $ varies

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Reviewed by Larry Jung
(December, 2017)

 

Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy) is a career MI5 officer.  His long service started when he was recruited at Cambridge. Worricker’s best friend in and out of the service is Benedict Baron (Michael Gambon), who is the Director General of MI5 and Worrikcer’s boss. Benedict seems to be Worricker’s only friend.  The security service is Johnny’s life. Women are attracted to him, but he is decidedly a loner.

In an antagonistic meeting with the Home Secretary Anthea Catcheside (Saskia Reeves), Benedict explodes a political bomb.  A secret file has evidence that the current Prime Minister Alec Beasley (Ralph Fiennes) received reliable information from the C.I.A. concerning threats to British citizens, but did not pass this information along.  The C.I.A. used torture and operated illegal prisons in Europe – illegal both internationally and by British laws.

The price for information from the Americans is that the P.M. and his government deny any knowledge of the illegal actions of the Americans. Benedict has shared the file with his two most senior MI5 officers, one of whom is Worricker.  Worricker afterwards confronts Benedict in private.  What does Benedict hope to accomplish and what is Worricker's role?

The movie is good because Bill Nighy’s performance of Johnny Worricker is spot-on.  Nighy plays an emotionally closed man hiding behind his professional mask of a spy. But he is vulnerable, lonely, and haunted by his own past failures, professional and personal.

If you liked SMILEY’S PEOPLE, the 1982 miniseries starring Alec Guinnress, PAGE EIGHT will not disappoint.


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