Solid mystery drama
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 11/25/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"What makes this British television film so strong is a combination of the acting and the emphasis on family. Especially noteworthy is Amanda Burton as Rachel Monro, the woman who enters the family life of Ben and Nattie Turner to show both of them that the past cannot be escaped.While the preservation in DVD format of the original film's three parts is a bit annoying--rather than following the entire story straight through--the strength of the film makes up for this quite a bit. So even though you have to view Part I, then go back to the menu and view Part II, then Part III, it's worth it. The plotting is strong, the pacing is well thought out, and, as mentioned, the acting does quite a bit to carry the tale.A little girl is missing, and finally found dead. A young couple, with a 7-year old daughter, becomes involved, thanks to the attentions of the mysterious Rachel Monro. Soon the entire small village is aware of the supposed guilt of the husband, played well by Paul McGann. But things are not as straightforward as they may seem: complicating the picture are a corrupt retired cop; another policeman, bitter due to a failing marriage; and Rachel Monro herself.The revelation of the killer is not completely surprising, if you pay close attention. What is surprising is that over the course of 2 1/2 hours, this holds up so well. Most of the lead and primary supporting characters have families--their family bonds are critical to them, and to the tone and context of the film.This is a good movie to see on a rainy Sunday afternoon, or on a long cold night when the nearby fire is warm enough to keep you where you are for a while. Well done."
Unusual, unforgettable mystery
phantomfan | 08/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an unusual murder mystery in the sense that it focuses on 2 eerily similar murders 20 years apart and emphasizes the families involved and how these crimes affected them. Most murder mysteries portray the detectives and the resulting quest to find the killer, with little attention given to the victims' families and friends and how the murder affects them. That is what makes this story different--yes, you do see the police questioning the suspects, but the sense is more peripherial than usual. What is depicted is the sadness of the parents who learn that their child has been murdered, how they cope with it, and how it changes the family and the relationship between the husband and wife, and the relationship between the parents and (surviving) children.
There are several twists and turns in the plot. Many of the characters in this drama are not what nor who they appear to be at first. This only adds to the overall uneasiness of the story. Is Ben Turner really who he says he is? Is Rachel Munro simply a grieving mother, unable to move on with her life after her daughter was killed 20 years ago, or is she more unstable--unable to accept that perhaps Ben did not murder her child. Her anger and horror when she learns how the police "helped" convict Ben turns to anguish--not only has she lost 20 years of her life hating the wrong person, but the real killer is still free.
There is also an interesting unlying theme of redemption and rehabilitation running throughout the story. If Ben did kill Rachel's child, he certainly does not appear to be the same person that he was 20 years ago. He now has a wife, a daughter, and a child on the way of his own. He and his wife seem to have a good marriage. It does not seem likely that he killed the little girl in his daughter's class. Yet, once his friends and neighbors learn that he is a suspect (and has been convicted of a similar crime in the past), those friendships are altered. The trust is no longer there. Rachel's role in this is also interesting--is she so set upon revenge for her daughter's death that she no longer cares whether she is persecuting the wrong person? Or is she just unstable?
The story does not neatly tie up loose ends. The revelation of the killers of both girls leaves more questions about the characters and the family relationships. You will not forget this mystery. Highly recommended."
Lanore A. Saltzman | Lincoln, NE United States | 09/06/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Going through some Paul McGann movies online, I ran across this little gem. Rarely do I buy dvds that I'm not familiar with, but this one grabbed me and wouldn't let go. I sat through the whole thing, not knowing where it was leading me. Rarely do you see in a mystery how a crime affects each member of the community and the relationships. This one has it all. Highly recommended!
NOT TO BE FORGOTTEN!
Lanore A. Saltzman | 11/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"American fans of PBS's MYSTERY or A&E's MYSTERIES (both of which air British thrillers), won't be disappointed in this superbly crafted and richly atmospheric mystery/thriller.The enigmatic and elegent Amanda Burton (known to mystery fans as Dr. Sam Ryan in the SILENT WITNESS series -- and who is not the child of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in spite of the fact that she bears the Burton name and looks very much like Taylor), stars as a woman of mystery who returns to a small village with ulterior motives. I won't say any more about the story or plot, as Amazon's descrpition sums it up about as well as can be done without revealing too much. The film is presented in three complete 50-minute (approx) episodes.My only (very minor) complaint was the screenwriter's choice of the person who turns out to be the "villian", who only had what I would call peripheral involvement in the storyline. This seemed to me to be a slight cheat on the part of the screenwriter, but I guess it goes to show us to always suspect everyone.But the story is told so well, and the atmosphere is so evocative, that this is only a minor complaint. And there is a nice slew of suspects with which to contend, and several characterizations that are nicely unusual and out of the ordinary (notably, a lady police investigator very much unlike the stereotypical inspector). Although not gory or overly violent, it is presented in a tone of realism, not in the tone of a "for-fun" who-dun-it like, say, MISS MARPLE or MURDER, SHE WROTE. As to movie rating, I would rate it PG-13, or soft R, not for children. The film is beautifully photographed in a picturesque little English villiage (I'd love to know where!), giving a rich "atmosphere" and sense of place to the story. And it ends with an ambiguous yet satisfying "question mark" ending that will leave you thinking further about the story and characters. This beautifully filmed thriller will remove you from your surroundings and take you into another world of mystery and intrigue. I was thrilled with this purchase (no pun intended!). Highly recommended for fans of the genre."