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Criminal Justice [DVD]

4.6 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Ben Whishaw, Pete Postlethwaite, Con O'Neill, Bill Paterson, Tim Plester
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: 6 Oct. 2008
  • Run Time: 300 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0018JKX2W
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,911 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

The worst thing Ben has ever done is, tonight, he takes his Dad's black cab out without his permission. But that's not why Ben ends the evening in a police cell. What looked to be a spontaneous evening of fun with a sexy stranger, Melanie, has culminated in a dead girl and Ben covered in her blood, holding the murder weapon. All the evidence points to Ben. There are no other leads. But he didn t do it. He can t remember all the events of the night, but he s sure he didn t. Ben is about to see what the criminal justice system does to someone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Steve VINE VOICE on 3 Aug. 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The three ingredients for great drama: script, acting, and direction.

This has them all. Shown on five successive nights on BBC1, some people may have missed out on what may turn out to be the drama of the year; here's your chance to catch up.

It's not at all pleasant viewing. It's in the best tradition of true 'reality' TV (not the crap that passes for that normally these days), gripping from beginning to end. It was written by a barrister obviously well acquainted with our justice system, and doesn't fall into stereotypical traps; e.g. the police and prison officers are shown to be human like the rest of us; there are the good and the bad.

Although it is unfair to pick out one particular aspect of this production above all the rest, I will never forget Ben Whishaw's performance as the accused. He is like a helpless child stuck in a nightmare.

BBC drama at its best.

Highly recommended.
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I've never been into BBC dramas as a rule, but this one had me counting the minutes til 9pm and glued to the TV every night it was on.

Ben Whishaw's talent just shines in his performance as Ben Coulter, a young lad who's night with a beautiful stranger ends in murder. It was almost 'hide behind the sofa' stuff in some parts as the plot twisted and turned I could barely watch, but just couldn't help myself. The horrors this poor boy endured whilst imprisoned for a murder he may or may not have committed were almost unspeakable and each episode ended with me sat on the edge of my seat with my jaw on the floor. Every episode that is except the final one which I have to confess I found a little disappointing, but you'd have to judge it for yourself.

This is the best drama I have ever seen, the whole story is a head-rush from start to finish. I am now counting the days until I receive my copy on DVD!
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Criminal Justice is a very clever TV thriller which features some stand-out performances, an intriguing script, smart plotting and taut direction. It runs for five episodes of an hour each (originally shown on BBC TV on five consecutive nights), and follows the ghastly journey of young Ben Coulter who may (or may not) have killed a young woman during a wild one-night stand.
At first everything looks pretty cut and dried; so far, so clichéd, you might think. Ben wakes up after knocking back some serious booze and other recreational chemistry to discover he's sharing a semi in suburbia with a dead body - and it looks as if he's the murderer. Young Ben panics, flees, makes a hash of trying to cover his tracks, and is arrested and charged in no time flat. He's given a legal aid lawyer, Stone, who just seems to be cynically in the game for his fee and doesn't care about the innocence of his client. Then - to Ben's utter horror - he is denied bail and carted off to prison.

The following events details Ben's interaction with the jail hierarchy (not at all pleasant), the Police investigation, his relationship with his parents, the past of the murdered girl, his defence lawyers and their tactics - and it all meshes together to produce one of the best short-run dramas we've seen in years. There's nothing particularly original about any of the themes: the awfulness of prison life was revealed way-back-when in Scum, while much of the courtroom drama gallops along like a John Grisham novel (and plenty of the lawyers' behaviours seems pretty caricature. It makes for good TV though, even if it's not very likely!).
All through the drama, poor Ben doesn't seem to get a word in edgeways.
Read more ›
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My husband and I bought this after seeing the second series recently on tv. It is fantastic viewing. We were on the edge of our seats the whole time. It gives you an uncomfortable knot in your stomach when you just know bad stuff is going to happen but you can't help watching. We intended to watch one episode at a time but just had to see how it ended. Excellent acting! Excellent writing! Excellent! Just watch it!!
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Procedural shortcomings and other detrimental aspects for the accused in the culture of the UK's criminal justice system are very important to explore. This culture is cogently exemplified in this series. For comparison I recently watched episodes of Silk (UK), Father and Son (UK), Luther (UK), the outstanding Cannes winner The Prophet (France) and the first series of the brilliant Garrow's Law (UK). Criminal Justice is distinguished by Peter Postlewaite's great performance. Unfortunately I found the endless blubbering of the principal actor (Ben Whishaw) irritating after episode two. I confess I should not have watched several episodes at the one sitting and that may have compromised my enjoyment so to speak. Ben Whishaw is actually a favourite actor of mine and I bought the series because of my admiration for his work. He is utterly convincing as Ben Coulter but I guess I like the hero to have a bit more stiff upper lip. A matter of taste. The director might have intervened to moderate such emoting, however well done.
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This almost a masterpiece. The first four episodes are haunting, it just goes off slightly, when tying up the loose ends in episode five. Still it is a great piece of TV. Fantastic acting and a tense script keep you biting your nails throughout.
The focus is all on the Criminal justice system and how it works and is manipulated. Why we accept that innocent people are put into the nightmarish prison system while awaiting trial is beyond me. If conditions are like this and I imagine they are it is a disgrace. Seems nobody wants to face up to the fact that life in prison is dehumanising and not all prisoners deserve to be there. There is a whole world of questions that the series throws up.
Great Drama, not to be missed.
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