Page Eight and London River reviews

Two very different but very London-centric political thrillers now on DVD:

Page Eight | Written and Directed by David Hare (BBC)

Pravda playwright and The Reader screenwriter David Hare returns to directing for the first time in years with this John le Carré-style British spy drama. Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy) plays a straight-arrow MI5 man, hollow from too many hard years and a bad relationship with his ex-wives and daughter, but still with a firm grip on his professional role. He gets suspicious when a neighbour (Rachel Weisz) gets a little too friendly, and discovers the office of the Prime Minister (Ralph Fiennes) has been keeping secrets. Not only does the picture, made for TV, look as good as most recent big screen spy films, the stellar cast delivers Hare’s typically wordy dialogue with aplomb. Let’s hope Hare turns Worricker’s games into a franchise.

London River | Directed by Rachid Bouchareb (Cinema Libre Studio)

In the days following the London bombings of July 7, 2005 (or 7/7 as it is known in the UK), Elizabeth (Brenda Blethyn) comes to the city from her Guernsey farm, searching for her daughter, while Ousmane (Sotigui Kouyaté), a West African Muslim, has come from France looking for his estranged son. Both are stunned by the chaos of the big city, concerned their children may have been caught in the bombing. The tale of two people’s lives intersecting with a terrorist act is politically on-the-nose, but it is told with a great delicacy, supported by the strength of the two leads. Blethyn channels both small-minded fear and tender warmth, while Kouyaté’s dignified and delicately concerned face is alone worth the price of the rental.

About the author


Carsten Knox is a massive, cheese-eating nerd. In the day he works as a journalist in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At night he stares out at the rain-slick streets, watches movies, and writes about what he's seeing.