7 July 2008 | paolo_bf
Fanfastic start, but later on seems to wander a little into sub-Dickensian territory
This mini-series hits the ground running, the first episode including the sea side scenes and part of the second are just fantastic, but then the drama engages in the ambitious task of analyzing whatever may or may not be wrong with the British penal and judicial system, I praise the intent, but to incorporate seamlessly and successfully this sort of concerns into a drama is not an easy task, we are promised some sort of rigorous examination, but instead of 'Oz' (brutal US prison drama), we get some sort of sub-Dickensian ambiguous horrors, where a lot is promised but very little delivered and there is always a little army of semi-benevolent Artful Dodgers and Fagins to save our hero's day, like Peter Postethwaite's Hooch 'the listener' and David Harewood's master criminal Freddie Graham, the latter does a really good job of injecting true menace in its role. We know we are entering Dickensian territory when Con O'Neill seedy lawyer complete with gotta, bandaged feet and perennial facial stubble appears on the scene, the irony is that he does a wonderful turn and steals every scene in which he appears, it is just that it feels like he had just been wandering out of a Great Expectation set to blunder into the wrong drama by mistake. In the last episode where all ideological concerns need to be shed to wind down the narrative the drama seem able to recreate some of the original dramatic tension of the first part. ON THE WHOLE Highly RECOMMENDED!