9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant drama starring Bill Nighy , Rachel Weisz and Michael Gambon about MI5 and their relationship , good or otherwise , with 10 Downing Street. I'm sure this sort of scenario is played out with regular monotony and you're never sure who knows what and , more importantly , what they do with the imformation. Bill Nighy is perfectly cast as the old school spy at odds with the new influx into MI5 and Government. Watch out for the brilliant little act of defiance at the end as Bill Nighy walks through the airport.
123 of 131 people found the following review helpful
If you're after a spy story with running and shouting, violence and high-tech trickery then try Spooks. `Page Eight' is a much more thoughtful, contemplative drama reminiscent of early Le Carre (`The Spy Who Came In From The Cold' era) or the wonderful but short-lived series The Sandbaggers - Series 1  [DVD].
`Page Eight' covers some of the same ground as `The Ghost Writer' by Robert Harris in that it uncovers dastardly behaviour on the part of the British Prime Minister (an entirely undisguised interpretation of Tony Blair) who's found to be complicit, and maybe worse, when it comes to gathering intelligence by torture.
However, PE tells its tale in a very different way, from the perspective of a life-long intelligence analyst at MI5. Bill Nighy constructs a fascinating, old-school character in what might be one of his finest performances. Every line is crammed with hidden meaning; every raised eyebrow suggests the unspeakable. The interaction between Nighy and Michael Gambon is magnificent - as are Nighy's confused relationships with the various women in his life. The supporting cast is wonderful too, with superb turns from Alice Krige and Rafe Feinnes.
However, it is the neatly constructed plot, delicate dialogue and tight direction which deliver so much from `Page Eight'. On one level this is a very small story about an old spy at the end of his career, making a choice to prioritise his service and his country over his family for one last time. On the grander scale, the plot of `Page Eight' threatens to bring down the established security service and/or the Prime Minister and the special relationship with the USA. Like all the best spy stories, one tiny shuffle of a pawn has the potential to bring down an empire...
It's not entirely flawless. A couple of the jumps in the plot are a little hard to follow which made me wonder if a longer version had been trimmed down for British TV. But if any production company wanted to spin off this single film into an ongoing series (it's crying out for a prequel, at least) then I'd be glued to it.
37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on 18 December 2011
This is a cracking BBC British spy movie with a superb cast. It is heavy on atmosphere, great character portrayal and clever dialogue rather than violence which is happily absent. While it is not a comedy, it has some dialogue that made me laugh out loud.
Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy) is an intelligence expert in MI5. His boss and best friend, Benedict Baron (Michael Gambon) reveals to Johnny and a few others in the MI5 a file stating, on page 8, that Downing Street knows that the Americans are torturing prisoners in Black Sites even though such practices have been denied by the British Home Secretary (Saskia Reeves). It seems the Prime Minister has been witholding information from the Home Secretary. Suddenly Benedict Baron dies of natural causes and Johnny still has a copy of the damning file which the British Prime Minister (Ralph Fiennes) menacingly demands he return. But Johnny has a job to do. He realised that Benedict revealed this information with the intention of the truth being outed.
Meanwhile, Johnny's neighbour, Nancy Pierpan (Rachel Weisz) who he has never met, introduces herself and reveals that her brother, a political activist, has been murdered but no one will admit to it.
I loved it. But then I like almost everything that Bill Nighy is in.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This BBC made for TV movie opens up with many loose ends. Bill Nighly stars as Johnny Worricker, an MI5 agent. His neighbor, Nancy Pierpan (Rachel Weisz) suddenly takes an interest in him. Sitting in her flat is Ralph Wilson (Tom Hughes) who must now leave because Bill showed up.
At work, Bill's boss (Michael Gambon) shows him a Top Secret document. Bill is most interested in "Page Eight." There is a concern for future terrorist attacks. Meanwhile Bill's daughter (Felicity Jones) is a famous artist who paints morbid pictures of despair. At a showing of her paintings, Ralph Wilson happens to be there too. Bill doesn't like these coincidences in his life.
***Midpoint plot spoiler*** Page 8 of the document is rather boring by 2010 standards. It seems Americans have secret interrogation sites across the world where they torture prisoners AND the Prime Minister knows about it. Ralph Fiennes (Lord Voldemort) is the Prime Minister of England. The political and legal ramifications are discussed, but there appears to be no moral outrage. More coincidental things happen in the film to make you go hmm, but it is not really a mystery as there is no puzzle, or is there?. All we have is Johnny Worricker's gut feeling something isn't right.
Good acting. Interesting plot twists. A movie which asks moral questions for our modern society.
The movie initially uses some good old fashion gumshoe jazz as a way to connect us to simpler times. But it's the 21st century now...
F-bomb, No sex, no nudity.
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 25 May 2012
Superb ensemble performance. Gripping plot with high tension and enough happening in the background to lead to many repeat viewings.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Bill Nighy plays a senior intelligence analyst and best friend of the head of UK intelligence services with his usual genial cadaverousness.
If I met him, Bill would be the poshest person I had ever met. His character has a first rate mind and a double first from Cambridge, he hangs out in posh restaurants, dropping references to TS Eliot and collecting dour paintings. For fun he drinks whisky and listens to jazz. Women of all ages find him irresistable, including Rachel Weisz, young enough to be his daughter.
In terms of spy tradecraft and realism this is well wide of the mark, you would never do covert surveillance with only one person, two of the top people in the Department share a secretary, the geography makes little sense. It is a very upper middle class affair.
The first half was gripping, with great terse lines, and a real sense of style. It was wonderful to see so many great actresses with decent roles. For me though it failed to find the ending it was looking for, the revelations were just not that shocking; the villains, Israeli brutality and a Blair like PM, not that novel. As with Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan, there was not so much a sense of menace as well meaning liberal annoyance. This is definitely superior stuff, but it is likely to leave thriller fans cold.
Two follow up films, Turks & Caicos, and Salting the Battlefield, recently screened on BBC, continuing the story of Johnny with mixed results.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
In our world, the head of some Policitical parties have their own secret service division that answers to him, only. The people who work in this division, also openly work in the larger secret service group, but no one knows. These secrets are how our countries work, secret agents, secret groups, secret meetings, and it is no wonder that untoward things occur, and no one stops them. That is the tomb of this film, 'Page Eight'.
Bill Nighy playes Johnny Worriker a Senior spook in the MI-5. His boss and best friend, Benedict Baron, played by Michael Gambon, have the best and most interesting scenes together. This is spy country at its best. David Hare, the screenwriter, gives us the backstory in drips, and the tension and secrecy are handled slowly. It takes awhile to understand the story that is unfolding, and if you are a lover of the British spy stories, it is much easier to keep up. Someone in the US has given Benedict Baron some highly classified information that involves the Prime Minister. The PM knows and has hidden from the rest of the country that the UK and the US are involved in some nasty stuff. This is politics played the hard way, downright nasty and dirty. It is not until Bebedict Baron dies from a suggested heart attack, that Johnny Worriker realizes he is really in this all alone. He is clever enough to notice the young lady on his floor and her attractive young man and is able to put them in place. The secret Johnny carries and the information he has yet to gain, keep this film flowing. The introduction of Ralph Fiennes as the Prime Minister, and Saqskia Reeves as the dard boiled Home Secretary add the grace that is needed. Johnny finds himself in a tough spot, and we wonder can he dig himself out?
The film gives us a sense of how the MI-5 and the CIA has worked over the last years. The terrorists threats after 9-11 have added a sense of foreboding and dirty tricks are the name of the game. Bill Nighy gives a superb performance, he is natty and sexy and a great spy. Not quite James Bond, but that is not what we want. We want this man, Johhny Worriker, who seems to be a true patriot, a little tainted, but the best we have.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2014
Page Eight tells the story of two 'old school gentlemen' (Michael Gambon and Bill Nighy) in MI5 who are at odds with a ruthless and manipulative Prime Minister - and the lack of ethics in modern politics. The plot unfolds at a leisurely pace and remains low-key throughout. No shoot-outs, screaming car chases, explicit sex, or gratuitous violence. Bill Nighy's character (Johnny Worricker) saunters through problems with career and family and is so laid back I half expected him to nod off more than once. The plot suffers a bit from left-wing prejudice and I found the relationship between Worricker and his neighbour Nancy Pierpan ( the gorgeous Rachel Weisz)a bit vague and somewhat difficult to accept but like Tinker, Tailor I don't think anything about this story should be analysed too much. Better to sit back and let a superb cast ease you through a thoroughly enjoyable performance of the highest quality.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 5 March 2013
Very well written script by David Hare, extremely well acted by all the participants - an intelligent and exciting thriller.
on 1 November 2014
What's not to like? Bill Nighy and Michael Gambon in full mellifluous flower as two old college (Cambridge) friends in the top echelons at MI5; Rachel Weisz in full intense mode as an activist whose brother's death at the hands of Israeli forces has been covered up; Judy Davis as an MI5 officer who seems to be willing to mix intelligence gathering with the fraught politics of the British war on terror. The Prime Minister is Ralph Fiennes, as a character much less sympathetic than the one he played opposite Weisz in "The Constant Gardener." That's a strong cast, and they do justice to a tightly written script by David Hare, who pays his audience the compliment of not needing to have everything spelled out, with the effect that, although the movie is often conversational, a lot of stuff is crammed into its 107 minutes with no loss of clarity.
At heart, this is a story of office intrigue, even if the offices are those of the British Security Service. Without giving anything away that matters, I think I can say that in this version the old Cambridge guys -- unlike the "Cambridge Spies" of the 1940's and 1950's -- are on the side of the angels, but times are changing, and public relations are becoming more important than truth telling for the politicians who see the Secret Service as serving them, rather than their country. So there's an attractive old-fashioned patriotic element in the story, and the threat of the loss of patriotism as a motive -- especially as voiced by Gambon and Nighy -- gives an elegiac, almost nostalgic cast to the film. It catches some of the tone of the Le Carre novels with George Smiley, and it too asks the question: can we trust the Americans??? Are the old guys still up to the task in the age of cellphones and the internet? See it and find out. It's a highly enjoyable movie of a kind that since the filming of the Le Carre books for TV has become comfortably familiar.