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Masterpiece Theatre The Ruby in the Smoke (1971– ) HD online

Masterpiece Theatre The Ruby in the Smoke (1971– ) HD online
Language: English
Category: TV Episode / Drama / Romance
Original Title: The Ruby in the Smoke
Director: Brian Percival
Writers: Adrian Hodges,Philip Pullman
Released: 1971–
Duration: 1h 35min
Video type: TV Episode
In Victorian England, Sally Lockhart receives an anonymous note sending her on a mysterious quest. Her father has recently died and feeling suffocated living with her elderly aunt moves in with newfound friends, a photographer and his sister. She is soon made aware that the mysterious Mrs. Holland is out to kill her. In the end, she realizes the solution to the mystery is rooted in events that occurred long ago when she lived with her father in India and a recurring dream she has had ever since.
Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Billie Piper Billie Piper - Sally Lockhart
Matt Smith Matt Smith - Jim Taylor
Sian Thomas Sian Thomas - Mrs. Rees
Kay Lyon Kay Lyon - Ellen
Robert Putt Robert Putt - Porter
Trevor Cooper Trevor Cooper - Mr. Higgs
Robert Glenister Robert Glenister - Samuel Selby
Dominic Coleman Dominic Coleman - Jeremiah Blyth
Miles Anderson Miles Anderson - Major Marchbanks
Tilly Vosburgh Tilly Vosburgh - Mrs. Thorpe
Chloe Walker Chloe Walker - Adelaide
Julie Walters Julie Walters - Mrs. Holland
JJ Feild JJ Feild - Frederick Garland
Ramon Tikaram Ramon Tikaram - Maharajah
Matthew Cureton Matthew Cureton - Young Marchbanks


Reviews: [20]

  • avatar

    Simple

    This Victorian melodrama proved to be very enjoyable, perfect for Christmas time viewing. It was sometimes hard to follow, but the superb period detail and larger than life characters more than made up for this. High production values were evident throughout and The Ruby in the Smoke stood head and shoulders above the BBC's absolutely dreadful adaptation of Dracula, which ran the following night. Good performances from the cast overall. It was nice to see the cute, very likable JJ Feild once again. I was struck with him following his performance in The Secret Life of Mrs. Beeton. His smile and personality light up the screen - we ought to see much more of him. I must admit that Julie Walters is not one of my favourite actresses. In the main, I feel that she overacts and hams it up too much. She did, however, in this production, turn in a superb performance as the malevolent Mrs. Holland. All credit to her. Billie Piper was OK in her usual Billie Piper way. All in all, an entertaining 90 minutes or so, perfect for a cold December evening.
  • avatar

    Dagdatus

    The book translated fairly well to TV, but there were elements that were changed too much to feel like as cohesive a story as the novel. For instance, Trembler was not in the film.

    Piper was an alright Lockheart; Her acting was good for the most part, but she didn't portray the composure that Sally is given in the book.

    Mr. Berry was by far my favourite actor, he really brought to life the sheer dumb muscle that he has in the book. The fights with him, while short, were very well and convincingly done - he came across brilliantly.

    Generally speaking, the acting and casting was good, though I didn't like JJ Feild as Garland. His acting was fine, but he just didn't seem lively and... innocent, I suppose, enough to play him. I only disliked the acting of Mrs. Reeves. She wasn't callous enough, and her lines were delivered more as if she was trying to remember them properly than deliver them with any conviction.

    As for the plot, it was good enough if you have acute knowledge of the text, but bits were skipped, and, in my opinion, not nearly enough significance or back-story was given to the Ruby, nor was Sally's character or relationship with her father. As I mentioned before, the lack of Trembler was disappointing, though to be fair he isn't an essential plot-driving character. The ending though seemed awfully rushed, such as the talk in which Sally learns everything about her past, was very brief, and Sally knew far more than she did in the book. The same goes for her talk with Ah Ling.

    As a whole, it just felt far too rushed, and bits that were given fine and detailed description in the book were sometimes skipped altogether. Some scene continuity was inexplicably changed as well. The chief culprit of this is when Sally is talking to Frederick in the shop about whether he takes her seriously, and Rosa burst in. In the book, it is Tremlber who bursts in, and with news of Adelaide being kidnapped. This could have been done as Jim bursting in, which would have felt far more plot-driving and fluid than Rosa, as they could just as easily have kept talking after Rosa came and went.

    Also, the atmosphere didn't make me think of the 1800s; it all seemed a bit too pristine and tidy. And there was the odd technical error in scenery: a gravel road with tyre-worn tracks clearly visible, because the centre was grassy while the edges had no plantlife. I considered that this could have been the doing of horse-drawn carriages, but then the road would certainly not have appeared so clean and fresh.

    It's worth a watch if you enjoyed the novel, but it just didn't capture the novel for me. Too much was overlooked to make it really good for a fan of the book. Another thirty to ninety minutes would have greatly improved the potential as a film; far too much was skipped, and the rest was too rushed to make much sense if you don't know the book. Perhaps making short series would have been able to feel more cohesive.
  • avatar

    MegaStar

    Well, I have to say I approached this Victorian thriller with a great deal of pessimism, after being disappointed repeatedly by Masterpiece Theatre (PBS/WGBH) in recent years. Helen Mirren's final 'Prime Suspect', which aired recently, had returned my interest in the honorable, high-road TV series, which had been mired in humorlessly rendered Miss Marple, mediocre Sherlock Holmes, and another tiresome Jane Eyre. Julie Walters has saved the day in this wonderfully crisp and nicely produced Victorian thriller with a young female lead, several refreshing new faces and an excellent TV script. Miss Walters puts in a chilling performance, as notable as her work in 'Educating Rita' and 'Billy Elliot'. What a relief! I would have been quite sad if it had been otherwise. The pace of this production reminds me of the Jeremy Brett 'Sherlock Holmes' of twenty years ago. The strength of this piece is the chain of excellent female characters, major and minor. It has mood and visual production values which captivate, despite their simplicity. I am so pleased to be back as a fan.
  • avatar

    Mogelv

    Overall, I did enjoy The Ruby in the Smoke. I confess I haven't read Phillip Pullman's book, so I can't judge how faithful or not it was. I enjoyed it, but I did feel that also it was too short and rushed and underdeveloped in places. It starts off promisingly, but then there are characters that appeared here and there and disappeared without explanation. In particular Trembler. As I said, the adaptation could have done with being at least half an hour longer, so that it was less rushed. The plot is on the whole complex, involving and fascinating, and the script was sharply observed in general as well. The music was lovely, and the adaptation was really nice to look at, with clean photography and lavish costumes. However, some of the sets didn't quite feel like the 1880s, it looked a bit too clean. Though I must say the scenery was breathtaking. The acting was impressive; while Billie Piper looked luminous and made the most of her protagonist, Sally Lockhart could have done with more character development. JJ Field, Tony Maudsley and Hayley Atwell give stellar performances and the brilliant Julie Walters is exceptional as Mrs Holland. All in all, a well done adaptation, if rather rushed, short and underdeveloped. 7/10 Bethany Cox
  • avatar

    Lightbinder

    I haven't read "The Ruby in the Smoke" which probably explains my reaction to this film. Anyway, for the other uninitiated amongst you, this is the basic plot - young Sally Lockhart (Billie Piper) is living with her aunt after her father's ship sank. It turns out there is more to this death than it seems, as Sally receives a cryptic note, eventually leading her to a man named Marchbanks who gives her a notebook and tells her she has an enemy called Mrs Holland (Julie Walters, at her villainous best). This leads Sally through a maze of clues and memories, finding out the fate of her father and the truth of her own origins, and the truth of the elusive eponymous ruby.

    I feel this would have done very well as a television series, but as a film it merely felt rushed. The characters introduced promised to be interesting, but weren't really properly developed, and I had trouble keeping up with all the twists in the plot, which were rushed by in seconds. Sally seemed like a fascinating character, but her character development was left to a few scenes of her standing up to her aunt and demonstrating her ability for dealing with figures. This left the film feeling somewhat sterile - more of a puzzle than a story.
  • avatar

    Grosho

    First thing: I've not read the book. Comments have been seen elsewhere that Billie Piper didn't fit the character described in the books, but of course I wouldn't know. All I can say is that I've watched this movie and mostly liked what I saw.

    Costumes looked believable, the sets looked OK, but budget constraints meant that camera angles seemed to be carefully constrained to keep the Victorian exterior shots looking authentic. This was evidently easier in the docks scenes (filmed mostly in Liverpool I believe?) than in the city's nicer streets.

    The character acting was a bit of a problem for me. Don't get me wrong, the actors did a fine job with what they had, they just seemed to be rather shallow. You meet them, they do their stuff, they go again. Maybe this is a feature of the story being based on a children's' book (I find the same problem in the Harry Potter movies).

    To compensate for this, it seemed that the whole story was rather "rushed" as if to try and inject some action to try and cover the shallow characters. There were IMHO far too many named characters introduced at breakneck speed, sometimes only to do one or two small things and then go again. I spent most of my time trying to remember who everyone was. Maybe this was just me not paying attention, but I've heard similar complaints elsewhere.

    I liked the atmosphere of the whole thing, and (contrary to some opinions) thought Billie Piper in the lead role was just fine. I look forward to the next one in the series hoping for slightly fewer confusing incidental characters!
  • avatar

    Alsath

    OK, I admit it- I haven't read the book.... But that meant that my sudden and unexpected encounter with this little gem came as a complete surprise. OK (again), Billie Piper was Billie Piper- she is no Larry Olivier or Alec Guinness to submerge herself in the role, but she was perfectly fine as the central character. Julie Walters was genuinely brilliant (and quite terrifyingly malign) along with her supporting cast of interestingly flawed villains. But what made it for me was the total lack of "well, just let me explain..." and "as you already know...". The viewer was left to work things out! Oh JOY!!! Especially since I watched it directly after the explanation-studded car crash that was the Da Vinci Code (didn't live up to the book, apparently- wow, that must have taken some doing). The sheer entertainment value of not having everything laid out and the understanding of it idiot-proofed was immense. Period detail was excellent, lots of fascinating little details thrown in just for the love of it all. Truly excellent, utterly enjoyable. Watch the next one!
  • avatar

    Ynye

    I think really for you to understand the movie you have got to read the book first. Its a fairly short read and can clear some of the confusion people have with the movie. Like the guy before me, I think the scenes do jump around quite quickly so you have to pay constant attention. They actors I thought were pretty decent and I thought that Billie Piper was the perfect pick to act out Sally Lockhart. She has those eyes that just caught my attention and right at the start of the movie I could identify her as Sally.

    Overall a pretty good movie but i thought it should've have been up around 2 hours long at least since they rushed the movie a little. However, I do hope that they will film the next movie soon because I'm a decent fan of this book series.
  • avatar

    Malahelm

    I haven't read 'Ruby in the Smoke' but I have read some of the other Sally Lockheart books. I was hoping that this film would throw some light on a few things, but instead I found it very hard to follow. One minute we were here, the next somewhere else. I found it quite difficult to work out where all the characters fitted in, or why they acted the way they did. I don't think it was the acting, but the script was so rushed, they barely had time to fit in all the slitting of throats and killing everyone off. I'd thought this was a children's book, but I do rather regret letting my kids stay up to watch it. I hope future dramatisations of the books slow down a little for the sake of clarity. Surely, if you're going to do a drama like this with all the scenery, clothes and atmosphere, you should try to do it justice and not rush it?
  • avatar

    Swordsong

    This show was a rare highlight in an atrocious 2006/7 Christmas TV schedule in the UK. Philip Pullman, author of the original story, captured my attention along with many millions of others with his extraordinary "Dark Materials" trilogy, so I was quite happy to give this film a try, not yet having read the book. I found an entertaining story, nicely but hurriedly told, enlightened casting (which I always award extra points for, seeing it's so rare) and a nice take on a period drama. Sally Lockhart (Billie Piper) is an orphan in Victorian London. Her unhappy life takes a new, and dangerous turn, when a message she receives from the past causes a death, and sets off a trail of events that will lead her down some very murky London streets, and bring her into contact with a large cast of characters, including the horrible Mrs Holland, and the charming photographer Fredercik Garland.

    I found it constrained by the need to tell a complex story with a large cast of characters in a short space of time. Why is everyone so afraid the audience will be bored and turn off if it goes on for too long? Even hyperactive adults can concentrate when they're engrossed… I think also the suitable-for-all-ages requirement was something of a barrier to the story – perhaps a few more risks, with a guidance warning, would have compensated for the haste, but a short series would have been better still.

    I really like Billie Piper; she's a luminous actress with a great screen presence. But the natural qualities and the vitality of her performance in the BBC's "Doctor Who" series seemed to have been literally squeezed out of her by her corsetry. The Victorians certainly knew how to keep a woman in her place: it's all she can do to stand and sit and walk correctly, in a ladylike manner, and these eclipse her acting. I also think what her character most needed was a foil, some goody-two shoes young model of excellence in the frame, to set off how Sally's unique upbringing had set her irretrievably apart, even to her own detriment, from her fellow-girls.

    The excellent and charismatic JJ Field (very good in the recent ITV production of "Northanger Abbey"), and Hayley Atwell, were luckier in their Bohemian characters, whose breezy approach to life came across very well. Matt Smith's cockney narrator Jim Taylor, and David Harewood's dual parts as two brothers were both very well played. Julie Walters is terrific – and truly scary – as the very bad Mrs Holland. Not many actresses are altruistic enough to play a much older woman than they are, ugly and evil to boot.

    I've subsequently read and enjoyed the book, and feel now that the BBC did the very best they could within a difficult time slot. The sets and general atmosphere were very well created, and I never had a sense of sacrifices having been made to budget, as with so many past BBC dramatisations. I look forward to seeing more of some of these young emerging actors, and I note that another Sally Lockhart story is in production - hopefully with the next one we get more of a chance to know Sally better.
  • avatar

    CopamHuk

    For a TV movie version of the book, it was not bad. However it did help quite a bit to have read the book several years ago, otherwise I probably would have been confused as well. As others have mentioned it was quite rushed and I would not be surprised if people did not even understand who everyone was by the end.

    I was pleased with Billie Piper, I was not sure she could tone down enough to play the part, but she was fine. She did manage to project the strength and independence of Sally that makes the novels such a pleasure to read.

    Not being a student of Victorian England, I did wonder if there really would have been Anglo-African priests at the time. Is that realistic for the time? It didn't seem odd to have a sea-hand/dock-worker but a priest for a neighborhood seemed a bit out of touch with what little knowledge I have of Victorian England. (I prefer seeing diversity in films, but not if it isn't historically accurate- it did make the character stand out).

    I hope they make the rest of the series and take a little more time to flesh out the story and characters - because it is a really good series.
  • avatar

    Unnis

    Look out for the actress Hayley Atwell who plays Rosa Garland. A bright gem in a supporting role. A lady to go far. Great production and acting from the rest of the cast too. Julie Walters as Mrs. Holland is a revelation. A real nasty piece of work. The film's atmosphere invokes the Victorian age perfectly, as much as I can imagine it was anyway. I do think though that Billy Piper's face is too associated with her role in Doctor Who to convince us otherwise. Although she carried it off convincingly, it was still Billy Piper. Production values were of a high standard and I thought the film remained true to the book. Congratulations too must be awarded to lighting.
  • avatar

    Kashicage

    THE RUBY IN THE SMOKE and indeed the whole Sally Lockhart Quartet is one of my most favourite series of books for children- so my expectations of it were very high. However, the BBC pulled this off very well; the cast and acting was brilliant, very convincing indeed. It was beautifully filmed, and I was delighted to see that the excellent plot was hardly meddled with at all. In fact, the film completely reinforces the greatness of the book, and was in itself a thoroughly entertaining drama.

    In Philip Pullman's THE RUBY IN THE SMOKE Sally Lockhart, a courageous 16 year old orphan finds herself embroiled in a mesmerising mystery, centring around an infamous ruby. As she unravels the mystery she is thrown into many exciting (and dangerous) situations, and meets several dear friends along the way who share her adventures with her. This little summary doesn't do either the book or the film credit- so read, and watch both! All in all, great family entertainment for Christmas, and I'm looking forward to seeing THE SHADOW IN THE NORTH, the second instalment in the Sally Lockhart Quartet, later on next year.
  • avatar

    Phobism

    Sally Lockhart is left orphaned when her seafaring father goes down with his ship. Left with only her father's journal to remember him by, Sally is sent to the home of a stiff Aunt. Here she receives a letter that brings her to the offices of her father's employers but the contents of the note are sufficient to kill the man she shows it to. The mystery of "the seven blessings" continues as Major Marchbanks warns Sally of a dangerous enemy called Mrs Holland. Sally flees on his warning and finds herself pursued by Mrs Holland as both seek the whereabouts of a ruby, hidden by her father and protected by riddles and clues.

    I have never read the books by Phillip Pullman so I can't really comment on how this film compares with the character as written, however this may also be a good thing as I don't have to worry myself about making comparisons across media. This film was screened at New Years and represented a big part of the BBC's festive line-up and was pushed as a result. I wasn't sure what to expect from it but found it relatively enjoyable as a bit of a period mystery. It doesn't really hang together though as the mystery tends to have peaks and troughs even across the comparatively short running time. The central thread concerning Mrs Holland and the ruby is engaging but the rest is not so good and seems to ask the audience just to go along with it.

    A part of this failing can be laid at the feet of the cast. Piper in particular seems very bland and uninteresting throughout. She had a bit of something about her in Dr Who but here she seems to be restraining it as part of her character – which is an approach that doesn't work. In the words of a far less kind commentator – she appears to spend more time focusing on keeping her upper lip pulled down over her big teeth! Walters is much better in her role and her parts of the film are easily the strongest and more enjoyable. Smith is a bit too cheeky-chappie for my liking, while Field, Anderson, Gilet, Maudsley and others are all solid enough in their roles. Atwell was a nice find though, but her good looks and easy performance only served to highlight the weaknesses in Piper's performance.

    The direction is good though and the whole film looks good with strong sets and costumes, however none of these make up for the rather disjointed delivery and flow. Entertaining enough I suppose but not strong enough to really grip me or make me eager to learn more about the characters.
  • avatar

    Leniga

    Nobody does period like the BBC and after the excellent Jane Eyre which recently aired on Masterpiece Theatre my wife and I were looking forward to the PBS presentation of Ruby in the Smoke. My wife enjoyed Phillip Pullman's "Dark Arts" books so maybe the blame for this mess lies with the adaptation. The cast did their best with the limited material they had to work with and the actors who played the photographer and his sister were truly engaging. The same cannot be said about Billy Piper. By the end of her second season on "Dr Who" she was showing some depth and dimension but here she was strangely wooden. And either they never got around to actually finishing the script or big chunks of this project never made it out of the edit suite. A sad waste of talent and my time.
  • avatar

    Swiang

    A brief review of the BBC's adaptation of Phillip Pullman's The Ruby in the Smoke, which aired on the 27th September. This was hugely disappointing. The narrative was horribly rushed, ensuring a disjointed production. If I had not read the novel before watching this, I would have given up halfway through in exasperation.

    Billie Piper was passable in the lead role as Sally Lockhart. But, there is something all too modern in her air, which in many respects should lend itself well to Sally's forthright, proto- feminist character - but instead Piper always felt like she was trying too hard. She was also overshadowed by Hayley Atwell, in her few brief scenes as Rosa Garland, which does not bode well for Piper's prospects as Fanny Price in the ITV version of Mansfield Park, where she stars alongside Atwell, playing Mary Crawford. Even better was JJ Feild, taking on the role of Frederick Garland, Rosa's brother and Sally's friend (and clearly the subject of a mutual crush). Piper has a buoyant, pleasing presence, but although this was not her finest hour, nevertheless. she was far from dismal.

    Sadly the same cannot be said of one of Britain's best-loved actresses Julie Walters, who played the pernicious Mrs Holland - Sally's arch-nemesis and a murderer to boot. Walters was excruciatingly poor here, seemingly regurgitating her once famous role as the hilarious, crook-backed Mrs Overall in Acorn Antiques, re-spun with a sneering, sinister twist. To be frank I had harboured doubts at Walters's casting in this role. There is something too spare, spry and light in her demeanour, her bearing, which to my mind, never quite suited the thuggish solidity of Mrs Holland.

    Other notable castings included David Harewood, playing the Bedwell twins Nicholas and Matthew, Miles Anderson briefly as Major Marchbanks, and newcomer Matt Smith (who woefully underperformed) as the cockney cheeky chappy Jim Taylor. Chloe Walker made for an appealing Adelaide.

    Brian Percival, the director, did precious little innovative with what was a fairly pedestrian adapted script from Adrian Hodges, who has fared better in the past with the mini-series Charles II: The Power & the Passion and an adaptation of Dickens's David Copperfield in 1999. He has now been hired to adapt the sequel, The Shadow in the North - which is perhaps a better novel, with a stronger plot line - and I sincerely hope he produces a stronger, more coherent and more 'cinematic' screenplay. In truth, this adaptation strived to keep close to the source text, but Pullman's original is a bit of a jumble - albeit enjoyable. Hodges would maybe have been better advised to re-draft wholesale, sections of this text.

    Sets, scenery and location were fine if uninspiring. This period drama is not set to win awards, that's for sure. But it made for a pleasant enough evening's viewing, even though it was far from outstanding, and never better than average.
  • avatar

    Mushicage

    I wanted to like this - but couldn't. There were just too many plot holes and leaps of faith plus a massive dollop of political correctness that stuck in the throat rather. I wasn't surprised to learn this is the same author as the golden compass - that movie shares some of the same weaknesses.

    There were some plusses. Julie Walters was excellent - and I see a fabulous 'Crippen' like role for her in the future. She made that little dark dress and hat look most sinister.

    The weaknesses. Why take such pains to look historically accurate - costume, location etc - but then so blatantly manipulate the ethnic population of Victorian London to fit with modern sensibilities? Even accepting that there were concentrations of Slave descendants and Asians in and around the main Victorian ports - you might expect to see a dark skin one in every 1000 people. I just couldn't ignore it - and suspend my disbelief I'm afraid.

    Indeed if I were black - I might take huge offense for such an inaccurate and patronizing portrayal. I suspect life was a terrible struggle for most ethnic londoners at this time - with massive poverty and overt, violent racism faced on the streets. Are we benefited by 'glossing' over such things? And conversely do you think we will ever see a remake of 'Zulu!' with a sprinkling of whites in the African tribes? I think not.

    Of course a female as the main lead is just a different brand of the same politically correct nonsense. A female financial adviser who walks around with a pistol stuffed up her bustle?! Oh, come on people.

    I look fwd to the day when we can see an honest, no holds barred, depiction of Victorian England, which was a fairly hideous mix of almost unimaginable poverty and outrageous hypo-critcal affluence and greed. Thank goodness for Dickens I say.
  • avatar

    Vetalol

    The Sally Lockhardt mysteries proved to be a mild disappointment. They are not up to the usual BBC period drama standards - or rather they haven't gotten the period drama treatment. The story relies heavily on a Victorian atmosphere, but you rarely get this in the film adaptations. First of all, Miss Piper, lovely and talented as she is, has the least Victorian beauty imaginable. She is so much AD 2000 that every scene with her in it loses every kind of credibility. One can argue that women were born with different features in olden days - but they pretty much tried to rearrange their facial muscles to imitate the accepted standards of any given era. Where today's actresses try to make their lips appear lush and succulent, every Victorian girl would have subconsciously made every effort to make her mouth appear as a tiny rosebud. The same goes for eyes, hair, posture, gestures. Miss Piper walks straight out of 2007 and makes everything around her 2007.

    Watching the adaptations, one also gets the impression that the Victorian society was very welcoming to different races and accepted them into the society with open arms. Almost in every single shot featuring the London society, there are Asian, Caribbean and Black people, the latter even boosting rasta hairstyle on one occasion. The golden truth however is that representatives of these races only got into contact with The Society as footmen and servants, and never ever mixed with them.

    My overall impression was that these adaptations were meant for a young viewer who cares little for the authenticity of a traditional well mounted BBC period piece production. If you want some moderate tension and a fairly watchable entertainment with some good moments, don't hesitate to view these films. I don't regret sitting through them at one go, I only wish I would have been totally overwhelmed.
  • avatar

    Gavirus

    I have not read the books (heresy!) so I watched this with an open mind. The narrative is rather confusing - or rather, it makes sudden jumps in logic and you have to jump with it and not question things, otherwise you might get a bit frustrated. There are a lot of false endings too - you keep thinking its all over when something else happens. In terms of casting - JJ Field has a lovely voice. He sometimes looks like Jude Law, in certain lights, but some might find him a little on the geeky side for their romantic hero. Mrs. Holland is very very sinister. Julie Walters is a fabulous grotesque. Wonderful sets - really atmospheric. Especially the opium den. Billie Piper made a pretty good heroine, though I don't think Victoriana is the right period for her looks. Her accent rings false from time to time, but overall a convincing bit of acting.
  • avatar

    Bundis

    There's almost no character development in this plot-driven mess as wooden, shallow characters race to fulfill meaningless twists and turns in a tedious and unfulfilling story. It's all simply plot for plot's sake, which often has to be explained in long expositional passages, poorly disguised in clumsy dialog, or with cheesy flashbacks. These serious handicaps aside, Julie Walters gives an outstanding performance with a character who is largely derivative as a female Fagan from Oliver Twist. Notwithstanding the ham-handed writing and clumsy direction, Miss Walters does a fantastic job -- in the hands of a lesser actress, the role would be a cardboard villain, but she brings it to live with focused wit and style. She made an unwatchable film watchable. Five stars for Miss Walters; one star for the film.