CE Films - Part 11 - 2001 B



30 Oct 2001
TV series | Dir. Sydney Macartney | Wr. Paul Abbott
S. 1, ep. 1: 'Twins'
Role: Tom Sherry & Neil Sherry (lads about town).

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Alex: "'Dead Ringers' this is not, although Chris gets to play twins, and does that more or less convincingly. To put it short, one is a bastard, the other – of course – not so. It is possible to tell them apart, even without the shirt lifting (the smug one has a tattoo on his abdomen), so it's beyond me how Linda who gets involved with both of them cannot – well, it's the whole premise of the episode, unfortunately.

"This is the very first episode of a sit-com series, and it left me confused as to what it wants to tell (and what CE is doing in it – Paul Abbott might be the answer), and I had no wish whatsoever to watch more, though of course I don't think I'm in the focus group for Bridget Jones type films either. It felt dated and non-involving.

"Trivia: Bruno Langley ('Doctor Who') plays Linda's brother."

Conclusion: Waste of time. 

DVD Notes:
2002 "BBC Worldwide" Region 2+4. English SDH subtitles. Extras: Character profiles (see here).

23 Dec 2001
TV film | Dir. Geoffrey Sax | Wr. Andrew Davies & William Shakespeare (play)
Role: Ben Jago (senior police officer).

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Chiclit: "A modern day version reimagined for US Masterpiece Theatre series, so not Shakespeary in language at all. It's about a black police commissioner in London (Othello).
The script examines racism and jealousy, it is very entertaining and watchable. Chris is terrific, his work really crackles, playing the 'frenemy' Ben Jago. He is very devious and yet you root for him a bit too, because he feels passed over for promotion in favor of political correctness. He is very sly and seductive, whether he is with his friend, or girlfriend, or a rookie cop who needs to confess, etc. It's a mesmerizing turn and tension simmers throughout the movie."

Alex: "It was delicious to watch Jago, the vilest flowers-die-along-his-path mastermind. Once again, not unlike Vindici, he plays other people like pieces on the chessboard – with great success, not shunning any means, but the purpose is different and the result is different too."

C: "The layered performance is knowing, sly and maybe a bit more internal or controlled than some of his roles, although he retains some big gestures and physical theatricality, a nod to the origins of the material perhaps. And Chris's character breaks the fourth wall and talks to the camera, a lot at the beginning and less so as the story unfolds, which I was happy about."

A: "I quite liked Jago as the narrator and it reminded me of 'Shallow Grave', where CE's character has a similar task, structuring and bookending the film. While with 'Shallow Grave' it's first when you start thinking about the film as a whole, you start to suspect it was David's story (he changes most, and these changes are expressed strongest), 'Othello' is clearly ruled by Jago, and he completely blows others out of the water.

"I like the cinematography, the very strongly built mood. The editing has a certain theatrical feel too, especially the timing of superimpositions. Filming itself seems to veer from participating to observing, subjective to objective, I wish there was a clearer motivation for the changes – or perhaps less going into the extremes of self-awareness and awareness of the medium.
"Anyway, it's all about love. Jago's self-love is one of the main driving forces. It was amusing to actually see him having a ball watching his plans take shape. He's a genius of a player and has no regrets. Then, Jago's 'love' for the 'big black bastard', John Othello, who unexpectedly shifts from being Jago's mate, harmless minion, to his boss, political puppet – because he happens to be of the right skin colour and gets pulled into the chess play at much higher level.

"I agree with Eccleston that Jago isn't a racist, he just uses whatever means are handy. Actually, most of Jago's victims did do something – with best or worst intentions – that put them in the unenviable position between Jago and his goal. Similarly you can debate how ambiguous the relationships are – also the relationship between the character and the viewer. It is clear though that Jago's scheming is spectacular."

C: "Excellent cast and the modern setting based on racial tensions/police politics is quite relevant and makes the movie very accessible. I would recommend it if you like political dramas."

Conclusion: A must see, high quality and weighty.

Learning resources from

DVD Notes:
2002 "Acorn Media" All Regions (sold as Region 1). No subtitles. Extras: Filmographies (see here); Production Notes (read here); Info about Othello on film.

12 Oct 2001 (Cork International Film Festival)
Short film | Dir. & wr. Chris McHallem
Role: Cabbie.

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Alex: "Looking for a cut off finger, that's the summary of the film. I'm sure it sounded like a cool idea for a short, but they spend all the time setting up the scene, and then don't really go anywhere. CE is the suspect cabbie, but as he plays him 'normally', there are absolutely no clues how he should be read in the context of the final revelation. Neither a comedy or a horror ever take shape."

Conclusion: Peculiarity.