Top positive review
They survived Nadir bint Ahmed bin Saleh Al-Fulani.
on 28 March 2014
I missed almost all of this series when it was originally aired in 2008. Yet, of the little that I did see of it, I remembered the scene where Steven Ezard (Cumberbatch) is being interrogated by David Russell (Carlyle) in front of Russell's electric fence, and that the main character was a professor who had worked in China. With this scant amount of information, 5-years later, I was able to, Steven-Ezard-like, cyber-track down the title of the series via Google, and then purchase it on Amazon.
This is a very well produced drama which seeks to integrate the qualities of prior art such as Smiley's People and Reilly, Ace of Spies, with a more contemporary editing style, like that of its US counterparts. 24, for example. My impression, on a first viewing of the DVDs, suggested an overly elaborate story line that depended on the heavy use, if not heavy-handed use, of foreshadowing and allusion, to maintain the viewer's interest. Nevertheless, like Roman Polanski's Ghost (The Ghost Writer), the series contains an engaging amount of pathos and inner detail which more than mitigates the issue.
The acting was consistently excellent. Especially from, yet not limited to, Benedict Cumberbatch, Anamaria Marinca (irrespective of a line of tricksy dialogue) and Max Beesley. The rich tone of the images seems to have benefited from being shot on film.
After becoming acquainted with the intricacies of the story for this series, the DVDs give one the opportunity to gain a much better impression of its strengths. Strengths that have enabled The Last Enemy to be included in the lists of Masterpiece Contemporary.