Defence Of The Realm [DVD]
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While investigating the link between M.P. Dennis Markham (Ian Bannen) and an East German agent, young journalist Nick Mullen (Gabriel Byrne) realises that he is being set up by the authorities. After his colleague, Vernon Bayliss (Denholm Elliott), is killed in suspicious circumstances, Mullen teams up with Bayliss' beautiful secretary Nina (Greta Scacchi) to get at the truth.
In the politically charged atmosphere of Margaret Thatcher's Britain, newspaper reporters are hungry for the big story that will make them stars and their newspapers famous. Nick Mullen (Gabriel Byrne in his first starring role) is one such reporter for the London Daily Dispatch. A top member of Parliament (Ian Bannen) is the focus of the latest political scandal: he has been photographed with a prostitute who is known to have Russian contacts. Nick barrels into the scandal full-bore, despite warnings from his mentor (a deft Denholm Elliott). Nick receives a tip that makes his story a front-page item and he quickly becomes a celebrity himself. But as he soon discovers, there is much more to the story than he imagined. Director David Drury (Prime Suspect 3) keeps this highly complex, John le Carré-esque story moving swiftly. The clues are hard to find at times but it is not because the story is told unclearly; rather, the filmmakers have decided that audiences can think for themselves and piece together the information along with Nick. Defence of the Realm overlooked and truly entertaining thinking person's film. --Doug Thomas --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
Top customer reviews
The DVD is poor quality - the picture seems to throb on screen and the colours fluctuate within scenes. Widescreen would be nice if possible, I don't know. No extras is a shame, not even a trailer.
Never mind the poor quality though, it is worth it for this little, unseen gem.
An efficient, slow burning though slightly dated thriller with plenty of twists, though not heavy on action. This is a film to concentrate on and is intelligent in its construction. The political intrigue and the compliance with the status quo from some unexpected quarters is well realised. Worth a watch if you like stories about the shady dealings of the political establishment.
There are similarities too, with the events of 1986, when US planes from a base in Britain bombed Libya.
This film is made with an all star cast and some compelling plots and sub-plots. The political links between newspaper proprietors and politicians and the British establishment are sketched out alluding to the covert meetings in gentleman's clubs. More sinister are the covert operations and the fine lines of distinction between the regular police and Britain's Security forces. It is hard not to think of the allegations of skullduggery surrounding the Princess Diana affair when the bombblast destroys the reporter's flat.
This thriller evokes a very suspense atmosphere which can almost be felt, particularly when the journalist is released from the clutches of the security forces after their interrogation into the chilly London dawn.
I could go on but would rather encourage others to watch this exceelent film.
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