21 September 2011 | TheLittleSongbird
Great cast but disappointing
Before I begin, I have to confess that I have not seen the original series, so although I always aim to judge a film/series/episode on its own terms I can't compare. I saw this Bouquet of Barbed Wire because I was attracted to the cast which I have to admit are great on paper.
However in general, I found Bouquet of Barbed Wire disappointing. It isn't completely awful though, it is strikingly filmed and the music is quite fitting with the mood.
Of the cast, three really stood as excellent. Trevor Eve is never less than good, and here although his character is dozy is no exception. Hermione Norris is brilliantly understated, a style of acting she excels at, and Imogen Poots really holds her own against these two actors.
My feelings on Tom Riley were mixed. There are times where he is very effective and appropriately seedy, but there are others where the performance feels over-egged. Nicholas Farrell gives his all and does have some gleeful moments, but his character seemed over-the-top to me at times, while Jemima Rooper was underused in my opinion.
To me, the writing was rather trite and often unintentionally funny, particularly in the final episode. The character of Prue gets the worst of it. I was never particularly gripped by the story either, Prue and Gavin's relationship never came across as believable and some scenes don't flow from one to another coming across as jumpy. And please don't get me started on the scene with the balloon pilot being oblivious to his passenger jumping out.
Of the episodes, episode two was the best, with the pacing at its most relaxed and the black humour at its most effective. Episode 1 was rather slow, while the final episode particularly with the overdone, melodramatic ending was a real let-down. I have to say I didn't care for the characters, Cassie was the only one who I came close to caring for. Gavin especially seemed like a typical boyfriend character with not that much to him.
All in all, the cast is great, the series was disappointing. 5/10 Bethany Cox