18 January 2011 | TheLittleSongbird
Probably the biggest disappointment of the festive season
I wouldn't say Whistle and I'll Come to You is a complete disaster, but it does fall short, especially when the story it is based on is as good as it is. Not only that, it is for me the most disappointing programme of the festive/New Year season, and that is saying a lot seeing as there were quite a few gems(ie. Toast, Eric and Ernie). Starting with the good things, the location shooting is very evocative and atmospheric and the camera work is interesting. And the acting of John Hurt, Gemma Jones and Lesley Sharp is impressive, though I think all three have been better.
Conversely, Whistle and I'll Come to You was a big disappointment, not so much as the previous year's Turn of the Screw but as an adaptation and on its own terms I was disappointed. The ghost story is truly great, it has an unsettling, dark story and has suspense and chills. Here, Whistle and I'll Come to You has its moments but that wasn't enough. Apart from the occasional moment that made me jump I wasn't gripped or unsettled and some scenes(at the beach) were laughable. I don't think the pace helped either, it was really quite dull. Granted, I would have rathered that the story unfolded slowly to add to the atmosphere, but that leads me to my next point.
The atmosphere here is rather empty. For me there was very little suspense or tension, while the ambiguity is not done well at all. The script seemed lacking too, some of it seemed too forced, superficial and methodical, and the story is a mixed bag with some decent bits merged with some very disconnected ones, sadly the disconnected scenes outweigh the decent ones. Also, why call it Whistle and I'll Come to You when the whistle of the title is excised entirely. It's like having an adaptation of Pinocchio but without the puppet or something like that. As much as I liked the production values, the modernisation didn't work, it took away from the authenticity and effectiveness that the adaptation could have had easily, while the climatic scene did little for me as it was rather obvious after about 5-10 minutes. In conclusion, a big disappointment but the cast do their best and the adaptation at least looks good so it is not a complete debacle. 3/10 Bethany Cox