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  • Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Gambon in very good form, playing charmingly audacious characters. The Security Service, and the sense of 'England' that is built around it, are both portrayed in an amusingly artsy, lighting-a-cigarette-under-a-lamppost-to-the-tune-of-modern-jazz manner that some might might find annoying - but which I felt more to be endearing. And a refreshing contrast to the bleak picture of the world and it's intelligence services painted in other modern spy shows, 'Spooks' being the prime example.

    The story seems to ramble a little, at first, and is not as tight or conventionally depicted as audiences might be used to, but it soon picks up - leading to a 'Johnny on the run' sequence that is as good as any other staple 'spy in hiding' romp in any TV espionage thriller of recent years, but one which is much more believable and down-to-earth. An unexpected conclusion left me praising Nighy's character for doing the right thing, in normal person terms, rather than 'the right thing' in the usual On Her Majesty's Secret Service terms that we're usually force-fed by spy drama - one of the many things that made the character and those around him seem less like a phantom, emotionless government spook, and more like a human being.

    Well worth watching.
  • Hard on the heels of a complete dud ('Glorious 39'), Bill Nighe stars in a worthy, modern successor of John le Carre's seventies cold war dramas.

    If you prefer action, noise and explosions, you won't like this film. If you prefer drama to confirm your own political convictions, you won't necessarily like this film. If you prefer complex plots that make you sit on the edge of your seat, good acting and atmosphere, you will probably like this film.

    The script is sharp, believable and occasionally witty, even if not all the threads are followed to their logical conclusion. Michael Gambon is a cryptic spy master with sense of irony that seems to borrow from his stage successes in Pinter and Beckett. Bill Nighy plays his character with a varying mixture of quick-wittedness, weariness and vulnerability. What little music there is matches his character's personality perfectly. The cinematography is gray and unexciting but very appropriate for the plot. The ending both satisfies and leaves one want for more.

    Bring on the sequel!
  • Slow paced yet clever enough to keep your interest - no need for shoot outs, car chases or fireball explosions because some 'producer' claims "It's what an audience wants!" ( I, for one, don't, unless it's a blood and gore war film). Touches of Le Carre without the seedy Lambeth safe house that seem to pop up in his novels. This is stylish and clever with excellent dialogue, therefore excellent performances from all of the major players. They believe in their characters and it shows,(apart from one 'minor player' that left me a bit annoyed at his wooden delivery - should have been easy to have re-shot that bit with another 'bit part actor'as it was only a short scene on the stairs, you'll spot the bit I mean). All in all, subtly understated, so more believable, and most importantly, a story with a grain of truth running through it that we will all identify with; unless you've lived on the moon for the past 15 years. Bravo, give us more of the same.
  • The cast is strong and the writing adept, and this carries a fascinating film dealing with the tensions between politics and intelligence gathering. David Hare clearly has been disturbed by how closely our (British) politicians may have become involved with 'extraordinary rendition' and intelligence gathered from the use of torture by the Americans.

    Bill Nighy leads as a cerebral senior intelligence officer dealing with a world where fellow spies are not all Oxbridge, even if the Prime Minister is. His neighbour seems to appear from nowhere, and in the form of the lovely Rachel Weisz. Can she be trusted? And what of his one time tutor and now boss, played convincingly by Michael Gambon? The early scene where the spies meet the politicians, in the form of the Home Secretary (Saskia Reeves) and her assistant, is pure Hare theatre. A wonderful script delivered with panache.

    The tension builds slowly but relentlessly. Maybe the grasp of the world of spies does not have Le Carre's inside track, but Hare gives us a film well worth watching.
  • I'll assume you've read the plot summary, so I won't labour on explaining that. In a nutshell, Bill Nighy is playing an MI5 agent who's responsibility it is to uncover the deceit allegedly led by the British Prime Minister (Ralph Fiennes).

    It opens with the quirky, upbeat jazz music and feels a bit 'Alfie-ish' as Nighy struts down the streets of London to his flat, and then we finally settle down into the story. The story is, and I hate to say it, a little thin around the edges and could do with a little more 'oomph' to get it those final couple of stars. If your expecting to see Nighy as the ass-kicking, hard-nut veteran version of James Bond then I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. This is about plot and character, not flamboyant action sequences. Speaking of character, there is plenty of that in this film; from Nighy himself to Ralph Fiennes and Michael Gambon- there are stars a plenty to keep the film alive, the acting is brilliantly good and there's a scene between Nighy and Fiennes which I particularly enjoyed, just simple dialogue between two great actors.

    Yes it does feel a bit BBCish, but at the end of the day it is a BBC film so I can't really complain! So if you have an hour and 40 minutes to fill, I strongly recommend this film- it's mysterious (yet it probably could have been more so), fun (there are a handful of good laugh-provoking lines thrown in there), engaging and an all-round enjoyable watch. Enjoy.
  • David Hare both wrote and directed this stylish, intensely intelligent suspense film (his other films include work on The Hours, The Reader, Damage, Plenty, etc). Few films have been made that depend on smart dialogue and intense acting instead of explosions, car chases, and other improbable acts of danger to make their point. Aided by a top-notch British cast, Hare has created a thinking person's drama and it is refreshingly poignant.

    A contemporary spy film created for BBC, the action is set in both London and Cambridge. Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy in one of his best roles to date) is an experienced MI5 officer whose boss and best friend Benedict Baron (Michael Gambon) dies of a myocardial infarction: he leaves a secret file for his friend. Both men have been married to the same woman (Alice Krige) and Worricker has a grown child from his marriage, an artist Julianne Felicity Jones) who has never quite forgiven her father for leaving her mother for another woman. The file is so important that it is under surveillance by the British Intelligence (Judy Davis et al) and the Prime Minister's office (Ralph Fiennes). Worricker lives in a flat opposite a beautiful but aloof girl Nancy Pierpan (Rachel Weisz) whose brother has been murdered in the Middle East. It is the silence about Nancy's brother's death that is at the core of the file Worricker holds and with some help from Nancy he traces the truth to the point of being threatened by MI5 to be fired. The film addresses contemporary intelligence issues and techniques and the associated moral dilemmas we face today. To reveal more would be to rob the viewer of the complexity of the story.

    The strong supporting cast includes Marthe Kellar in a small but pivotal role, along with Tom Hughes, Kate Burdette, Ewen Bremmer and others. This is a tense drama, exceptionally well written and acted and a welcome change from the current barrage of action flicks.

    Grady Harp
  • My 9 should be taken simply as an unequivocal recommendation to see the movie, rather than as a comparison with any other movie.

    This movie is clearly in love with the world of movie spying but the writer/director have far too much class to reduce it to an exercise in kiss kiss bang bang. Instead of guns and girls we get dodgy dossiers, cold London streets, hushed conversations and uncertain allegiances.

    Very early on, there is an exchange between Michael Gambon (Ben) and Bill Nighy (Johnny) that makes it clear nothing is to be taken at face value. This left me constantly wondering about everyone's motives and questioning every relationship, just as Johnny seems to do. This makes for a very enjoyable, if paranoid, experience.

    Those who do not like the tone or pacing might argue that it is unfocused or misses its punches, but I liked this aspect of the film. For me, it made it all seem more realistic and at the same time more demanding of the viewer (that is, you have to pay attention and notice what is going on).

    I hear that there may be a second and third film. I'd go to the cinema to see them.
  • Atmospheric, intelligent, thrilling and without violence, this film shines as an example of exceedingly skillful work. There are some scenes of doubtful authenticity but those are still believable and in any case the quality of acting glosses over them. It is delightful when great actors have material and settings that allow them to give their subtle best. Even incidental parts are played convincingly by all and the barely plausible delivery by the Home Secretary only serves to keep things at a human level.

    I hope and feel that we shall see more programmes of a similar standard from such a distinguished cast and clever crew. Simply superb from start to finish. (Viewed on iPlayer)
  • This review written in 2016. The Bond franchise is still in play, barely, and upstart franchises like FF7 are slowly but surely taking over the traditional spy "caper." And then there is Page 8. Wow. Assuming, as a moviephile, you don't swoon merely on hearing the cast (Felicity Jones and Michael Gambon in supporting roles!) the story, the pacing, the direction, the dialog, the cinematography, the acting --- these are all a treat to be savoured.

    This is of course the other side of the spy game, with a hero who boasts that he doesn't "do violence" and who when asked by an associate that he no longer trusts, why he picked a certain restaurant for the rendez-vous, proudly answers, "For the best reason of all, the food." Nighy in one of the best roles of his career also talks about life not being worth living without honour. Not many actors could make that line ring true. He does.

    Astonishing, under-rated and to a large degree unappreciated.

    And massively recommended.
  • Bill Nighy really could be turning into this generation's David Niven - with a more world-weary edge, mind you, but he has an immense charm without any swarm, and puts it to excellent use in Page Eight. He plays a civil servant and security analyst coming to the end of his career in the upper echelons of Whitehall who discovers that politics and war are not honourable affairs.

    With an outstanding cast and an intelligent plot this remains a thriller - but one without the usual resort to unlikely battles and chases - it is very British, both in its tone and in its look - and what we get is a very nice thriller indeed.

    If you like 60s cold war spies movies, and want a break from the Bourne type, then this will fit the bill very nicely. Intelligent, beautifully paced and acted, and all in all a nice break from action films to something more purposeful and, really, a satisfying watch.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The MI5 analyst Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy) receives from his boss and his friend since they studied at Cambridge, the Director General of MI5 Benedict Baron (Michael Gambon), a top secret report also distributed to Jill Tankard (Judy Davis) and to the Home Secretary Anthea Catcheside (Saskia Reeves). They have an internal meeting and Johnny highlights that on page eight, it is informed that the Prime Minister Alec Beasley (Ralph Fiennes) knows that the US Government is torturing prisoners in prisons around the world. Baron cannot disclose his source, but if the information is correct, the Prime Minister has not informed the MI5. Meanwhile Johnny befriends his next door neighbor, the political activist Nancy Pierpan (Rachel Weisz), whose brother was murdered by the Israeli army with a white flag. When Baron dies of heart attack at home with his wife, Johnny suspects that the death of his friend may not have been an accident. He also finds the file on Nancy's brother. Now Johnny has to decide his next move.

    "Page Eight" is a boring and stylish British political thriller with a bad screenplay and good cast. The ambiguous relationship of Johnny and Nancy sounds weird since the inexpressive Bill Nighy is too old to be a wolf and shows no chemistry with Rachel Weisz. The slow pace and unnecessary subplots make painful to watch this movie in many moments. The conclusion is incredibly dull and senseless, with Johnny leaving his apartment behind with his art collection and traveling from London maybe to South America (the favorite destination of Londoners on the run) apparently broken after leaking the secret information to the BBC. My vote is four.

    Title (Brazil): Not Available
  • I have watched this TV Movie 10 times already and can watch it every few days without tiring of it. The performances/characters are so real and done so well, it truly is a Masterpiece. I guess it fit for me because of the age of the characters, the way the story was handled/written by Mr. Hare and the nature of the content. I was familiar with most of the actors in this film before I watched it and have been appreciating Bill Nighy's work for sometime now. Michael Gambon as well, but the antagonists and the lesser characters jump out. This is truly a situation where there are no little roles. The actors in this film portray relationships which are so real the film whets the appetite as it progresses from opening to end. It is very subtle and therefore juicy from a storyline standpoint. It is romantic and the intrigue is right on. I recommend this one wholeheartedly and I look forward to acquiring the DVD very soon.
  • When I see Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, and Ralph Fiennes in a cast, I know I have to check it out. I was not sorry I did. The three were together in at least one other great film - The Constant Gardener. Individually, there is seldom a really good film that doesn't have one of the three.

    Of course the Golden Globes and BAFTA agree with me as they both gave the film a nomination.

    The Prime Minster (Fiennes) seems to be up to his neck in deception. The meeting between Nighy and he was fascinating.

    Page Eight was a positive surprise with good dialogue and an engaging story.
  • kosmasp10 June 2013
    If you take a look at the cast, you should be wondering how this can be called a TV-movie. Starting with Bill Nighy, but not ending with Rachel Weisz. A great ensemble that does not only promise good acting, it also delivers it. Add a witty script, with some great ideas and you have an excellent movie. If you only add the "TV movie" sticker, I might as well have rated it higher.

    But even without that added bonus "point", I can assure you, that if you like political dramas/thrillers, you will absolutely love this. Apart from conspiracy and other things, this neatly ties in everything and more. The story is far more complex than one might think at the beginning. Very well thought of and very well executed.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    In a genre that gets grittier and darker by the year, and often seeks to bludgeon its audience with how current and perceptive about real events it is, Page Eight is a relief and an engrossing and suave, almost light-hearted ride. The story is tight and well-paced, centering almost exclusively on a single fact/event, and taking place over the course of just a week or so. No spoilers, but the ending is both off-kilter and just right (one of the better endings to a new film I've seen in a few years).

    Viewed on paper, I suppose you could complain there isn't much new or surprising here. Surely, the events and situations are familiar, even topical. But the treatment is subtle and true, and the telling handled with an emphasis on character and the (slightly) off-beat. The dialog is electric and funny, full of nuance and innuendo, both humor and good humor, while retaining just enough menace and suspense. Bill Nighy and Rachel Weisz are not stretching themselves as actors here, but they turn in performances that are funny and felt, and above all believable. Fiennes and Gambon, in smaller roles, make vivid impressions that amply provide motivation to our heroes. I love the genre, and films like The Constant Gardener, Ronin, Children of Men, the Bourne trilogy, The Guard, Body of Lies, Blood Diamond, and especially the BBC TV series "Spooks" {AKA 'MI- 5'}. This compares closely & very favorably, especially the the last. I really enjoyed this film, and will watch it again soon.
  • I found Page Eight to be both witty and serious. I found it refreshing that it pursued ugly truths and lies of the United States and Great Britain that get at the heart of who both countries truly are at the moment, and have been for some time. There was so much mental dodging and weaving and swordplay going on between most of the protagonists that I'm not sure if I got its main point correctly -- but I felt that, ultimately, it celebrated old principles of honesty and honor, while tripping down current roads of subterfuge quite lightly and adroitly. I loved the ultimate honoring of heart to heart and mind to mind communion between individuals -- and the idea that honor and truth should also be the foundation of a country's daily reality of existence.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    For the first time, last night, a tele-film was selected to close the Toronto International Film Festival. And 3000 people were glad they did. In David Hare's Page Eight we have a wonderfully crafted story, well told, and superbly delivered by a stellar cast.

    Bill Nighy, as Johnny Worricker, is perfect as an idealist MI5 spook dragged into a deep dark conspiracy. He learns that it leads all the way to the Prime Minister (played by a sinister Fiennes) and involves treachery within MI5 itself.

    Nighy is close to becoming my favourite actor - there's just something about the guy - he's equally likable and as enjoyable to watch here as he was as a zombie, a vampire, an assassin and a hippy pirate radio station manager. Rachel Weisz is an equally likable character as an activist seeking justice for the murder of her brother.

    Fiennes is frightening as a politician who would do anything to protect his job. And it was nice to see Alice Krige, for whom I have had a bit of a crush for 30 years since she played Eva Galli in "Ghost Story".

    The Worricker character was well drawn by Mr, Hare, his idealism and depth is revealed bit by bit; in his making up with his estranged daughter,in his loyalty to friends, in his supporting a worthy cause and even in his love of art and beauty.

    I asked Mr. Hare last night over a cocktail how he could make such a strong picture in five weeks for $3 million. He explained that all he had to do was call Ralph Fiennes, Judy Davis, Rachel Weisz and Bill Nighy and there you have it. I think he's modest. He wrote a great story that attracted this talent and he directed them extremely well.
  • pvalley997 November 2011
    Warning: Spoilers
    It's a wonderful cast wasted on a disappointing story. There are so many problems... the same old story lines of the British not being able to trust any of their allies, British cultural superiority, British dignity in righting a wrong committed by a wild card political bad man. And, of course, the hero giving up everything to right a wrong for a woman he just met... even though who ordered the "wrong" is a bit unclear. The film just plods along... terribly boring except when Michael Gambon and Judy Davis are on the screen. However, the most ridiculous and laughable part is the fantasy that the young, absolutely gorgeous Rachel Weisz, would have any romantic interest in skinny, old, dried-up Bill Nighy. As "charming" and "cerebral" as he is supposed to be, only a male writer, David Hare, could fantasize about a sexual match between these two individuals. As a matter of fact, it seems like all the women in this production were juicy, smart and beautiful beings next to the male corpses. Gag! Only Judy Davis' son had any flesh, blood and beauty. There ARE attractive older men, but not in this production. While it's true that there's no accounting for taste, this old man/young woman thing is so tired. When I try to picture Rachel and Bill in a lovers' embrace, it makes me a bit sick to the stomach.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I had an uneasy sense of where this story was going when Rachel Weisz, as the London-based daughter of a Syrian writer and intellectual, informs a neighbor that she's still mourning her brother, who, some time before, was murdered by Israeli soldiers despite waving a white flag.

    Until then, the movie had seemed quite promising — an elegant Le Carré-ish take on modern-day terrorism; one of the characters had even invoked the 7/7 London bombings of 2005, in which more than fifty people died. But it soon turns out that this was just a straw man. The villains in this movie aren't Islamic terrorists; they're (a) the war-mongering American government, who've set up top-secret torture sites around the world, (b) the brutal Israelis, who shoot down peaceful demonstrators "in cold blood," and (c) the sinister, mendacious British prime minister, who colludes with the Americans about the "black sites" and publicly proclaims liberal values while secretly sending his minions to spy on his own intelligence service.

    The heroes are members of that same intelligence service, who seek to blow the whistle on these high-level miscreants. (You may be reminded of the ending of "Three Days of the Condor," with Robert Redford, as a similar governmental whistle-blower, marching into the offices of the New York Times.) Ho hum. It's all so dismally predictable.

    The wicked prime minister is clearly modeled on Tony Blair, a longtime bête noir of writer/director David Hare. Another Blair clone was the central villain in Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer." For a lot of leftists, Blair — thanks to his support of America's war in Iraq — stands just below George W. Bush in the pantheon of approved hate figures.

    But Israel is right up there, too. Britain today is pervaded by an antagonism towards Israel that amounts, especially on the left, to an outright loathing, so I'm sure that this movie was welcomed in some quarters as a righteous blow against the Zionist menace. I'll leave it to others to figure out whether this is some peculiar modern outgrowth of traditional British anti-Semitism or whether its origins lie elsewhere. (But shame, at any rate, on Rachel Weisz, who's Jewish, for participating in such a project.)
  • Page Eight accumulates a terrific roster of talented actors and sets them to work in a mediocre, unexciting story. The result is simultaneously entertaining and dull - whilst you'll delight in the intelligent, witty, and perfectly-delivered dialogue, you'll not feel at all caught up in the story. The story is at times hard to follow, and overall feels very unimaginative and boring. Tension is never developed; at no point will you be anywhere close to the edge of your seat, because we're never presented with a real threat to the protagonist. The romance story never gets going properly for the duration of the tale, and none of the characters seem particularly motivated, resulting in a film that drives through a boring plot to a boring conclusion.

    This is a film that won't entertain you with drama or suspense; this is a film that will show you a wonderfully-executed acting masterclass, where it doesn't feel as if anything is at stake. If the cast had been given a better story, this could have been an absolutely amazing thriller, but the opportunity is squandered.
  • nowego25 September 2011
    Without a doubt I am a HUGE Bill Nighe fan, but that is not a hard thing to be considering his brilliance as an actor. I am yet to see a movie that he is in that has disappointed me. My only disappointment is that he is getting older and the roles he is going to take on are going to be more limited.

    Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz and numerous other favourites put in simply brilliant performances in this absolutely superb movie as only the British can do. Hollywood has nothing on this and they pale into comparison when they try.

    While the story may not be as tight as some would like at first it soon picks up as Bill Nighe's character really goes the extra mile to do the right thing.

    I simply laughed and cried thought-out this movie as it pulled at the heartstrings and cracked me up with its suppleties.

    A must see movie and I gave it a 9.
  • About five minutes into this film you get your first sniff of anti-Americanism (and a bit of anti-God-ism too). It takes twenty minutes to get your first dose of anti-Israelism. Yes, the BBC's favorite talking points are the basis for this by-the-numbers, cliché-ridden "drama" in which, of course, the heroes are those who expose how the EVIL prime minister (no doubt a Tory) was covering up for the US, or Israel, or both. (Similar ground was just recently covered in the mini-series "The Hour.") The Brits must have a horrible inferiority complex, since their news AND entertainment programs are saturated with this "America isn't really our friend" stuff.

    Bill Nighy is always fun to watch, but is wasted on this predictable, threadbare plot. Good cast, nice photography, but PLEASE, o mighty Beeb, stop recycling your pet "betes noires" and get on with life.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    You know you have a good film when you can't miss five minutes without boring a hole in the plot. And Page8 is just the film.

    I'm not going to cover the plot here; let's just say that it's quite more complicated than a brief summary could explain.

    What i will say is, the direction and acting is immense. I'm vaguely reminded of The Ghost, a (pretty bad) film that pales in comparison with Page8; character interaction is spectacular, i haven't seen this depth of immersion since long time - if we omit Heath Ledger's Joker - and i'm really, really happy.

    Cutting this review short, i will say this: this film might bore you; it's not for everyone (see the IMDb ratings), and if you like Hollywood films, and the horrid overacting that comes with them, if you loved films like Inception, any late Bond film, or perhaps Polanski's last outing, then you won't like, or understand, this.

    But if you are looking for a really powerful performance, astounding script, and superb pacing, this film must not be missed.

    Man, i just can't tell how good this film is; not perfect, but great.

    My vote: 9/10 - has almost everything.

    PS. notice how later in the film the file's paper cover is torn and old? that's because he's been keeping it in his pocket, all rolled up. That would NEVER happen with a Hollywood prop. Judge for yourself.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This story contains spoiler.

    Very early on in this made for TV movie, I became aware the interaction between Nancy Pierpan (played by Rachel Weisz) and Johnnie Worricker (played by the excellent Bill Nighy) had a similar feel to the interaction between Richard Burton and Claire Bloom.

    Fortunately, as the story developed in its low key way, no immediate danger was perceived to Weisz's character, which avoided a possible developed comparison to Le Carre's work.

    Alec Beasley, the Prime Minister,(played by Ralph Fiennes) arrives at a "reunion" of former students in Cambridge and the meeting he has with Johnnie makes it apparent Johnnie must make a decision as to which side of fence he wishes to be. A character states "you can get knocked down even when in the middle of the road."
  • lutefan31 August 2011
    Warning: Spoilers
    This is another in a string of British TV shows and movies that have a very simple belief system, which is very fashionable amongst the writing classes in the UK.

    1) Israel is evil 2) America is evil 3) British politicians and civil servants who don't agree with (1) and (2) are evil 4) If only the British people knew the REAL truth which is being kept from them by (3), they would all believe (1) and (2)

    If you believe 1-4, you will surely enjoy this film. If you don't then there really isn't enough substance or acting to keep you entertained as you look beyond this lovely world view. What a waste of a solid cast.
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