Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Honourable Woman (2014)




"Who do you trust?"

The Honourable Woman, Hugo Blick's much awaited follow up to 2011's wonderfully dark and evocative, convoluted thriller The Shadow Line has been a real oasis in a summer schedule clogged up with sporting events. Perhaps inevitably, it didn't quite set the nation talking - the sporting events, its place on BBC2  and it's deliberately labyrinthine somewhat woozy but always classy and intelligent snail's pace put paid to that - but it truly stood out as a drama of quality and distinction.

(Of course, there was the elephant in the room regarding the schedule too, its spooky and prescient appearance just in time for the latest upheaval and conflict between Israel and Palestine)

Closing tonight after eight leisurely paced but vice-like gripping instalments I'm not entirely sure I understood every one of its multiple twists and turns nor why it truly required a very dense eight hours to tell them, but I am glad that it had the chance and opportunity to breathe. The ripples sent out from each strand of the story crept under the viewers skin making what felt at times like a remote drama (albeit one exquisitely and beautifully made) connect on an almost surreptitious level. Like good literature, much of The Honourable Woman lingered in the mind from Thursday to Thursday and, I suspect will continue to do so even now it has ended.

Yes the feints and baffling details served up so matter of factly by the brilliantly talented auteur Hugo Blick, who wrote, directed and produced, may have infuriated but overall one could not help but be in awe at his abilities as a storyteller and his utter trust in the intelligence and patience of the viewer. It's a rare thing indeed in modern television and it should be praised highly and greatly. After all, it is such talent that managed to attract the likes of Stephen Rea, Janet McTeer, Eve Best, Lindsay Duncan, Katherine Parkinson and Andre Buchan  but above all, special praise must go to Hollywood A lister Maggie Gyllenhaal sporting a cut glass British accent and delivering a faultless absorbing performance as the honourable woman in question; Dame Nessa Stein, a businesswoman who wanted to bridge the gulf between her native Israel and Palestine.  Her name on the list of BAFTA nominations for Best Actress next year is simply a must, but she'll be facing stiff competition from the likes of Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley) Keeley Hawes (Line of Duty) and, if Broadchurch series 2 is aired before the closing date, Olivia Colman.

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