Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Into the Blue|
Actors: Matthew Marsh, John Thaw, Abigail Cruttenden
Director: Jack Gold
Genres: Indie & Art House, Television, Mystery & Suspense
As Seen on Mystery!"...a well-crafted tale..." ? Chicago Tribune"...a good-looking thriller..." ? The Sunday TimesBased on the novel by Robert GoddardIn this intriguing mystery, John Thaw (Inspector Morse) portrays unlikel... more »
Murderous but clunky, with a fine John Thaw, a well-disguise
C. O. DeRiemer | San Antonio, Texas, USA | 06/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Into the Blue is the story of Harry Barnett (John Thaw), an easy-going failure who lives on Rhodes as the caretaker of a house belonging to his good friend, the wealthy Allan Dysart (Matthew Marsh). They've known each other for years. One night Harry meets Heather Mallender (Abigail Cruttenden) on the beach. He takes her back to the house. They spend two or three days together...then she disappears. The Rhodes police think Harry might have killed her. Dysart shows up and gets him out of jail. Harry immediately leaves for London to find out more about Heather. Among the things he finds is that her sister died mysteriously and that Dysart had employed her. It's not long before unpleasant things begin to happen to Harry.
Into the Blue is a lumbering mystery, filled with camera shots peeking threateningly from the bushes and around the sides of trees, with the occasional heavy breathing we can hear off camera, with an ominous score filled with musical clichés and with obviously suspicious characters lurking after Harry. It also has several people who are efficiently converted into corpses. That's not a bad thing, especially as we realize all the corpses when they could move on their own had some kind of relationship with Allan Dysart
John Thaw, as great a television actor as he was, looks too old for the part. He was 55 and could have passed in bad light for 65. His bed scene with Cruttenden could have been a young woman in bed not just with a man old enough to be her father, but her grandfather. And Thaw not just looks ten years older than Dysart, his employer, friend, protector, rich businessman, former politician and widower, which would be appropriate to the plot, Thaw could pass for 20 years older. This isn't just being picky, it's one of the factors that disrupts the story and turns Into the Blue from a clunky but intriguing mystery into a clunky, intriguing mystery which primarily is a vehicle for Thaw.
But, oh, what potential. As old as Thaw looks he is still a hugely engaging, likable, and intelligent actor. The storyline is clever, with a puzzle that would have fascinated Inspector Morse. The final realization of the motivation for the murders is carefully disguised and so is the killer. The conclusion is melodramatic but it works. The skill of the other actors generally is first rate. I like complex, murderous mysteries with plots that play more or less fair with the viewer and that show some restraint. I like John Thaw. That's enough for me to enjoy Into the Blue and watch it more than once. Give it a try. Even with its weaknesses you might enjoy it, too.
One of the things I admire about Thaw is that as comfortable an acting life as he could have had after Morse took off, he kept taking roles every year or so that offered different challenges. Some of them, like Monsignor Renard, were, in my opinion, well made. Some, like Goodnight Mr. Tom, were close to being mawkish (again, just opinion), and some, like A Year in Provence, were a delight. Part of the success of the latter, I think, is that it gave Thaw an equally good actress to play off of. Lindsay Duncan was just as effective and charming as Thaw.
The DVD transfer is clear and crisp. The only extra is a pile of previews of other shows, some of which show up at the start of the movie. You have to find the key to clicking past them and that's a real irritation."
R. Obrien | conn. | 07/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"John Thaw takes over every movie he is in,he is without a doubt the best actor there ever has been. I have all of his movies and tv shows and I watch them when I think I may have forgotten the plot. If you like John Thaw you will love this movie,if you don't I feel sorry for you."
A fun-to-watch, made-for-TV thriller, but not a memorable ad
Mary Whipple | New England | 05/22/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"(3.5 stars) Those who have loved John Thaw in all his previous roles--in the Inspector Morse, Kavanagh QC, and The Sweeney TV series, along with various films and Shakespearean plays--will undoubtedly love John Thaw here as a failed garage owner who has been bailed out of financial difficulties by a mysterious and very wealthy entrepreneur. Though this is not really a "fit" for Thaw in terms of the usual elegance and thoughtfulness we have learned to expect in his performances, many viewers will enjoy seeing Thaw in a scruffier and less intellectual mode.
Harry Barnett (Thaw) has a one-night stand with Heather Mallender (Abigail Cruttenden), who picks him up in a bar on Rhodes. On a walk the next day, she sees a man in an abandoned house, and when Barnett goes to investigate, she disappears. Barnett soon becomes the lead suspect in her disappearance. It takes some interference by Alan Dysart (Matthew Marsh), the wealthy entrepreneur who owns the house for which Barnett is caretaker on Rhodes, to get Barnett released from jail. Heather has obviously had an ulterior motive in picking up Barnett, and when Barnett discovers that Heather is the sister of Clare Mallender, a woman whose drowning death ended the busy political career of Alan Dysart, he becomes more than a little suspicious about having been set up.
When Barnett makes his way to England, he investigates the circumstances of Clare's drowning and checks out Dysart's friends and associates, always trying to find a potential killer and exonerate himself and Dysart from suspicion. This made-for-TV thriller, jointly produced by WGBH/Boston and Carlton Productions, and directed by Jack Gold, is loaded with dramatic scenes--fires, chases, wild seascapes, and sudden deaths--and the visual effects, including some wonderful scenes on Rhodes, are beautifully photographed to keep the viewer's interest high. The film moves along smartly and never lags.
Unfortunately, the ensuing complications involve numerous new characters, some of them friends of Dysart from his early years at Cambridge, and keeping track of who is who, what all the relationships are among them, and who is currently sleeping with whom is more distracting than crucial to the plot. When the killer is finally unmasked (literally), the viewer may be surprised but not shocked because so little information has been revealed about the character in the first place, and the surprise twist at the end is irrelevant to the action. Fun to watch for Thaw's role and the settings, this made-for-TV movie fails to take advantage of the talents of its cast and crew. n Mary Whipple
Kavanagh QC: True Commitment
Kavanagh QC: A Sense of Loss
A Year in Provence
Goodnight Mister Tom