on 30 April 2007
This three part film is brilliant. The one setback is the strange dubbing of the character Lucy (Jade) which distracts a little, but other than that there is excellent acting, especially with Rosemary (Emilia) and young Rosie (Tigerlily).
The story takes you from the present, where you meet a cold, calculated mass murderer, and then takes you backwards, first to her teenage years and finally to her childhood.
By the end of the first part I hated her. By the end of the third I wanted to save her. A brilliant look at what makes a person turn into a murderer.
on 14 March 2007
I watched this on television this weekend and did enjoy it. The fact that we begin at the end and retrace events back that made this young woman into the murderer she is today is unique and fascinating. I did however feel that there was a certain depthness missing, that there were areas that could have been explored in better detail but weren't. Perhaps the book which this drama is based on goes further into the background of the girl. I also got quite confused trying to piece it all together and have many unanswered questions, as well as the feeling that why she has murderous tendancies were never really explained particulary well. All of this of course could simply be me having a blonde moment and missing the point, and the endless adverts that interupted the story didn't help either, which is why i'l be purchasing this DVD to try and make sense of it all, because it was quite a good watch and had me on the edge of my seat on many occasions!
While I'd be mightily surprised if anyone were to watch this three-part 'making of a murderer' study drama all in one sitting. "Fallen Angel" is a stretch in it's four-hour-plus entirety, and is undoubtedly easier viewing if you were to view each part of the thrilling-if-slow killer study separately. That being said, the ITV drama remains brilliant in its entirety and is one to snap up if you're a fan of such TV murder dramas.
The basic plot is about two long-time friends trying to piece together why the daughter of one of them, David Byfield (Charles Dance), grew up to become a cold-blooded child murderer. The three-part drama starts at "the end" and details the final days of the murderer Rosemary (Emilia Fox, with an excellent performance) when he she kidnaps and holds captive a young girl (Jade Sharif, who played Rebecca in Eastenders until February) with the assistant of the man she shares a house with. The second installment is Rosemary's father's recollection of events that took place when she was a teenager, including the decapitation of a cat and an obsession with a corrupt priest and his journals. Finally it rounds of with Rosemary's father's friend recalling suspicious events even earlier in Rosemary's life that she believes may have set her on the path to becoming what she was as an adult.
Not conforming to the usual pattern of murderer dramas, this is a three-parter that steers clear of police investigation and prefers to focus on those who know her best unravelling the reasons behind her crimes. It's a refreshing, excellent killer drama.
Though the detriment in the first part of the story is the young actress Jade Sharif (who simply cannot act), the vast majority of the performances in this creepy trio of films are very good. Emilia Fox is excellent as the creepy, cold child killer and the young actors on show in the flashbacks of Part One and Two all deliver pretty fine performances as well. Charles Dance also shines. As does the director David Drury, who has put to film an excellent psychological study that reverts from the usual stereotypes -- thankfully.
Yes, "Fallen Angel" is a stretch. Some people are sure to find its slow-paced depiction of one woman's evil slightly tedious given its running length. However, if you don't mind lengthy crime dramas of this variety than you're likely to enjoy this fascinating drama. I found it to be excellent, creepy and captivating. Excellent viewing.
on 16 September 2008
Fallen Angel (2007) is the story of a woman serial killer, by director David Dury, starring Charles Dance, Emilia Fox and Clare Holman. It is based on the "Roth Trilogy" (2006), by Andrew Taylor, which is a chilly psychological drama about the making of a murderer. The movie is divided into three episodes, each representing one part of Rosemary Byfield's life: from nowadays back to her early childhood. As the movie progresses, so unfolds the story of the Byfield family in the Roth parish, each time a decade earlier. Rosemary's father, countryside vicar David Byfield (Charles Dance), is an ambitious clergyman, with a huge appetite for life (especially for women), whose brilliant theological mind costs him more troubles than satisfaction. Although the acting is beyond reproach - especially the tandem Dance/Fox, which is fascinating to watch - I found Fallen Angel a little disappointing. Dare I say that, once I saw both the entire movie and the behind-the-scenes bonus I am still unsure why Rosemary became the terrible person she became. In the interview of writer Andrew Taylor, we are told very interesting things; for instance that Taylor wanted to give his readers, a feeling of mind-digging, a sort of archeological journey into the sick mind of a female murderer. The trouble is, that knowing that does not really help to understand why Rosemary kills people. Is it because her grandfather was possibly affected by Alzheimer and fearing confinement, was 'helped' by Rosemary in ending his life? She would have then developed a taste for murder. Taylor seems totally convinced that female killers always have a worse behaviour than their male counterparts? Says who? Never mind. One possible explanation - if there is ever to be one - to Rosemary's fate is that, as a child, she was exposed to misinterpreted religious rites (a key scene in the movie, when Rosemary watched her priest father serving the eucharistic wine, and asking "Is it real blood?"), and the bad influence of a revoked lunatic priest, suspected of child abduction, animal tortures and finally murder. But neither Dury, nor the viewer will say if this alone may have been enough to turn a child into a bloody serial killer. Then, Dury suggests that it might have been Rosemary's indirect exposure to her father's sexual life that made her a murderer. At that point, I must say that, not only is this far fetched , but it also sounds preposterous, even by "that time" standards (1990s). Just because one overheards lovemaking noises once in a while, doesn't make one a cold-blooded murderer. Especially, as we discover that the vicar's wiwes are less than sex enthusiasts. Then what? Is Rosemary a genuine fallen angel, one that once stood close to God, but later fell because of something terrible did or thought? Perhaps. At the end of the movie, I must confess that I still do not know the why. On the other hand, Dury is never shy to play with the hows, to the point that Rosemary may very well appear as a catalogue of clinical symptoms, which slowly, but surely produce the disastrous effects that we know. In the first episode, when the Byfield's closest friend, Wendy meets with Rosemary (she is then five-year-old), the girl told her "My name is nobody, because nobody is perfect". Although, I cannot pretend that this is the very key to unlock Rosemary's killer mind, it might be the best clue of the entire movie. As if, becoming a serial killer may have something to do with tragically trying to achieve 'perfection' as an extreme and pathetic way to escape nothingness. Far fetched too? Well, nobody is perfect.
on 24 April 2013
The story was good but breaking into parts did lead to a little confusion. The story seemed to be written for the format rather than being allowed to do its own thing. Dance is a superb actor and is excellent in this. I have mixed feeling about Fox. She was in a remake of Rebecca with Dance some years ago and she was so wet that I hoped Diana Rigg would get her to kill herself. She played the same part, although a little more assertively, in Silent Wtness and I went off her. However, when she plays evil, she does is well and is well worth watching. She and Dance kept the series together, together with some excellent support from the ever watchable Clare Holding.
Good value, good watching but not for those who want to be kept on the edge of their seats.
on 11 May 2013
A story in three episodes that works it's way backwards in the storyline.
Good acting, nicely scripted and at a pace which keeps you wanting to watch. I wouldn't describe it as gripping exactly, but it held my attention all the way and I looked forward to each next episode.
However, as an aside, I'm not sure why they titled it as 'the Making of a Murderer as it becomes clear that the murderer was there from an early age and wasn't exactly 'made'.
Good entertaining British viewing.
on 14 June 2015
A really good storyline - different - beginning at the end, and working backwards, to the whys and wherefores. This was a must watch for me. If it had been a book (it is) it would have been difficult to put down! Excellent acting, as expected of these names. I have to reccomend this; I did not regret purchasing this one, and will probably watch it again. It was really gripping and fascinating. I highly reccomend this DVD. Enjoy; I did.