Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Urquhart dresses down parliament
THE FINAL CUT (1995). Director: Mike Vardy.

In the last of three mini-series dedicated to the rogue-ish activities of prime minister Francis Urquhart (Ian Richardson), the king is nowhere to be seen but there are discussions in Parliament about a conflict in Cypress, leading to the PM having flashbacks to an incident years ago involving the deaths of two young Greek men. Urquhart gets a new chief assistant, Claire (Ilsa Blair), who seems to be spreading her time, affections, and loyalties between the PM and his chief political rival, Tom Makepeace (Paul Freeman). Urquhart's wife, Elizabeth (Diane Fletcher), a kind of Lady MacBeth, makes more appearances and seems to have her own agenda. The Final Cut is crackling good fun, with Richardson in superb form, fine performances from the rest of the cast (although we probably see more of Blair's breasts than we need to), some devious plotting and inter-plotting, and many memorably dramatic sequences -- although it ends on a mildly confusing note. [One quibble is that a clearly sociopathic personality like Urquhart would in no way be haunted or have any kind of regrets over past misdeeds. True, he might worry if his past would catch up with him, but not in any way that would indicate a conscience.] This follows House of Cards and To Play the King.

Verdict: British television at its best. ***1/2.

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