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Restless [DVD]
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on 1 May 2014
RESTLESS, the television adaptation of William Boyd's novel of the same name, was shown on UK BBC One and US Sundance Channel television in two parts in December 2012. The teleplay was nominated for two Primetime Emmy awards the following spring. Part one, the story of Eva's early life as a spy in the days leading to World War II, is beautifully filmed on spectacular locations in Europe. The cars used in the production are European vintage in beautiful condition. The costumes are interesting and appear authentic. The cast is superlative:

Sally Gilmartin...Charlotte Rampling ("Swimming Pool")
Eva Delectorskaya...Hayley Atwell ("Any Human Heart")
Ruth Gilmartin....Michelle Dockery ("Downton Abbey")
Lucas Romer....Rufus Sewell ("Zen")(Part 1)....Michael Gambon ("Dancing at Lughnasa")(Part 2)

The story begins in 1976 in a remote part of England when Ruth (a long red-haired hippie working on her doctorate) and her son visit her mother Sally Gilmartin. Ruth finds her mother in great fear thinking someone is in the woods behind the house trying to kill her. Sally has purchased a rifle, binoculars, and a telescope. She tells her daughter she was a Russian girl named Eva that was a spy for the British in a clandestine group that offered refuge for German informants and recruited Roosevelt's help for British causes in WW II. Sally implores Ruth to find and visit Lucas Romer, the only one she trusts in the group, to stop the present-day killers; she gives her daughter her journal of her days as a spy.

Eva's journal begins in 1939 German-occupied France when she is recruited by spymaster Lucas Romer after her brother is killed by Nazis. She is trained at a safe house in a remote part of England. The film emphasizes that Eva receives no weapons training, so it is clearer that she is training to be a seductress. (At least, clearer to me in the teleplay than in the novel.)

The restaurant scene, one of Eva's first capers, takes place in Amsterdam when she and Romer, but primarily Eva, are to rescue a Dutch informant. The man gives Eva the wrong "double password" and Eva escapes through a bathroom window and witnesses the informant's death by several Nazi diners. The scene is vivid and well done...and shows Romer's early dominance over Eva's activities. (He's across the street in a hotel with a pair of binoculars!)

Romer, played by a handsome Rufus Sewell with a thin moustache, is not nicer than in the book...still an arrogant, rude man! He stays in the shadows at Eva's brother's funeral and during her spy training. The several times they meet, he is discourteous and does not treat her as a lady (although one of her fake passports is for a Baroness). Both Eva and Romer smoke continuously. Other men light her cigarettes...just not Romer. There is a strange scene where one of the group, an older man, calls Eva to witness a murder posed as a suicide at a crime scene before the police are summoned. Eva recognizes the victim as one of the directors of the group.

One can still wonder in the film, as in the book, why Eva and Romer became lovers. It happens suddenly with a kiss and then a seduction in a hotel room. If I recall, it's right after the restaurant caper. (As someone mentioned in my book club discussion...love happens fast in tense times.) Although RESTLESS is an adult drama, there is no profanity nor any bodily function or display in bad taste. Romer's sexual practice (coitus interruptus) is hinted at in the hotel room scene...but you would miss it if you have not read the novel.

The first part ends when Eva is assigned to go to Washington, D. C. to persuade America to come to Britain's aid in its war with Germany. Her specific assignment is to seduce the aide of Roosevelt's personal assistant Harry Hopkins. Previews of the conclusion show her as a blowsy blonde.....

Stay tuned...
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on 29 July 2014
Great story ! I had a little trouble with the dialogue and background sound overriding the voices; however, all in all, it was a fabulously entertaining story ! I am still not sure about the ending, but believe that the double cross/double agent scenario did not become apparent until the very end (I hope that I haven't given too much away). The acting was brilliant, the period settings historically accurate, and the background and historical portrayals were wonderful in the social context of the times. The story is in two parts so required two evenings of viewing. Because of the intensity of the plot, two evenings would be more appropriate. It was well written, well acted, and spectacularly produced and directed.
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on 3 December 2015
“Restless” is a miniseries that was aired on British television (BBC) in 2012 and released on DVD in 2014. There are two episodes. Each episode runs for ca. 87 minutes. The total running time is 175 minutes.

Directed by Edward Hall, the series is based on a book from 2006. The book is written by William Boyd, who is also responsible for the screenplay.

This drama has two story-lines, which are intertwined. One of them is set in England in 1976. The other begins in France in 1939. It continues to 1940, 1941, and 1942, i.e. the beginning of World War II. During this period the location changes several times: first to England and Scotland, later to Belgium, and finally to the US and Canada. The film jumps back and forth between the two story-lines.

The cast includes the following:

** Young Lucas Romer – during WWII – played by Rufus Sewell
** Old Lucas Romer - in 1976 – played by Michael Gambon

** Young Eva – during WWII – played by Hayley Atwell
** Old Eva (aka Sally Gilmartin) – in 1976 – played by Charlotte Rampling

** Ruth Gilmartin (Eva’s daughter) – played by Michelle Dockery

I do not want to spoil the viewing for anyone. Therefore I am not going to reveal any significant details about this spy thriller. I will tell you how it starts, but I will not tell you how it unfolds, and I will certainly not tell you how it ends.

The drama begins in 1976 when Ruth Gilmartin is on her way to visit her mother Sally, who lives in an isolated village in the English countryside. Ruth is driving in her car, a Citroen 2CV. Her son Jochen is in the backseat. His name sounds German. It is. The reason for this is explained later. When Ruth and Jochen arrive at Sally’s house, Sally tells her daughter that someone is trying to kill her. Ruth does not understand. So Sally reveals four big secrets: (1) she is actually from Russia; (2) her real name is Eva; (3) during World War II she was a British spy; (4) since the end of the war she has been in hiding in this remote village, because she left the service under special circumstances: someone was trying to kill her.

Now the drama begins, and therefore I will not say more about the story.

“Restless” is a fascinating drama. Since it is a spy thriller, we never really know who we can trust: who are the good guys and who are the bad guys? They keep us guessing until the very end when the plot is finally revealed. It is almost perfect. But not completely. There are some flaws. In the following I will mention the flaws I noticed while watching the drama:

# 1. Michelle Dockery plays Lady Mary on Downton Abbey. When she is Lady Mary, her posh British accent is just right. But when she has to be Ruth Gilmartin, daughter of Sally, it is totally wrong. As soon as she speaks her first line, you will exclaim: “This is Lady Mary from Downton Abbey!” And you will ask yourself: “What is she doing driving a Citroen 2CV in 1976?” The answer is: this actress is not well-chosen for this role. They should have found somebody else who has a normal tone of voice.

# 2. There is a problem with continuity during a scene that is set in Belgium, near the German border. When guns are fired, Eva runs for her life. She runs so fast that she loses her handbag. Later, when she is safe, we see her with the handbag that she lost during the shooting scene. It seems the producers forgot that she lost the bag while she was running for her life. This is embarrassing.

# 3. As stated above, the plot is revealed at the end of the film. I am not going to tell you what it is, but I am going to tell you that it is not convincing. When the whole truth is finally revealed, it turns out that the plot does not make any sense. It is supposed to explain everything that has happened, but it does not. The drama is set in a specific historical context, but the plot does not fit the context, it is not realistic, it is not credible. What a shame!

While items # 1 and 2 may be described as minor, the same cannot be said for item # 3. While the drama is gripping, it is hard to ignore that the ending does not fit the historical context. I like this drama and I want to recommend it, but I have to remove one star because of this flaw. That is why I think it deserves a rating of four stars.

PS. If you like "Restless," you may also like Any Human Heart, a miniseries that was aired on British television (Channel 4) and released on DVD in 2010. The series is based on a book from 2002. The book is written by William Boyd, who is also responsible for the screenplay.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 May 2016
I liked it, but it's an odd one, and the more I've thought about it since seeing it, the odder it seems. I've come to the conclusion that it's "about" PTSD, but you'll have to see it through (three hours, but not at all boring, and originally a 2-part BBC mini-series) to judge for yourself whether my view of it makes any sense. It's very cleverly structured, for it's telling two stories about 30 years apart (as was also the case in the William Boyd novel on which it was based) and to the credit of the director Edward Hall, the lines of plot are kept very clear. The movie, set in the 1970's, begins with Ruth Gilmartin (Michelle Dockery), a single mother working on a Ph.D. in History, visiting her own mother, Sally (Charlotte Rampling), who amazes her by telling her that she expects an attempt to be made on her (Sally's) life. By way of explanation, she gives Ruth a manuscript that tells a narrative of her life during the Second World War. Her real name is Eva Delectorskaya, and she worked for British Intelligence, having been approached to do so by the agent Lucas Romer (Rufus Sewell), after the murder of her brother, who had himself been an agent unknown to her. The younger version of Sally/Eva is played very creditably by Hayley Atwell.

The "early" story, we're to understand, is what Ruth learns from the manuscript about her mother and is intended to make Ruth understand why Sally's life is in danger and how Ruth can help her in this difficult situation. The "later" story -- and we get it intercut with the early one -- is the story of Ruth's efforts to help her mother track down a man who knows the truth about some traumatic events in the past. Both Sally/Eva and the man she seeks have, since the war, hidden their earlier identities, but Sally's photograph had been shown in a small local newspaper at the time of her husband's funeral, and she believes that her cover has been blown. Both narratives are tense in different ways. We obviously know that Sally/Eva will survive the war, but we don't know all the complications, twists, double-crosses, and narrow escapes that marked that earlier experience. In the later narrative, the question is, at least partly, whether Ruth and her mother will find the man they seek in time. We're also made uncomfortable by the fact that Ruth's young son seems an obvious target for anyone trying to get at Sally through her daughter.

The ending is a genuine surprise -- in fact, it's a kind of double-ending, one of which is fairly predictable and the other understatedly shocking. I can say no more without giving to much away. As far as the look of the film is concerned, attention has been paid to both periods (the 1940's and the 1970's, which is the "present" of the movie). The pacing is efficient, and the suspense well directed. I just have to say that I felt a bit odd about the end, though.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 31 October 2015
As seen on the BBC in the United Kingdom, and on the Sundance channel in 2012 in the United States, this television treatment is based on the bestselling spy novel by William Boyd, who adapted it himself. The Emmy®-nominated historical spy drama is a tale of passion, duplicity, and betrayal that shifts back and forth in time from pre-World War II to the 1970s, boasts a star-studded British cast. Young mom Ruth Gilmartin (Michelle Dockery, DOWNTON ABBEY) is taken aback to learn that her mother, Sally (Charlotte Rampling, BROADCHURCH), who seemingly can’t escape the secrets of her past, has been living a double life. Her mother’s real name is Eva Delectorskaya (the younger woman played by rising star Hayley Atwell, CAPTAIN AMERICA, THE FIRST AVENGER). As the younger woman, Eva had been recruited by the suave, handsome and persuasive Lucas Romer (Rufus Sewell, THE PILLARS OF THE EARTH); worked for the British Secret Service, trained in espionage for crucial missions. But one big job ended in deadly betrayal: Eva is forced into hiding. Now, three decades later, her cover blown; she is being stalked by someone. She recruits her unsuspecting daughter to help her track and face her former spymaster / lover, now Lord Romer (Michael Gambon, HARRY POTTER).

Rampling, trailing a long career of powerful performances behind her, is utterly believable, "armed and dangerous and bewitching,” according to Salon, and carries the gripping thriller manfully. And I’m willing to bet that there are now some movies/television treatments being made simply because Rampling is available, and so good; am mindful that many another movie has been made, is being made for other actors of outstanding ability. Atwell holds her own, playing with what most likely was a terrifying-to-her constellation of British stars. Sewell is fine, and as ever, easy on the eyes. Dockery doesn’t get to do much in a lightweight part, looks uncomfortable in unflattering 1970s styles, blue eye shadow. Gambon gives us his usual superb nuanced performance. Unusually enough, this costume drama required interiors, transportation, clothing, hairstyles of two different decades, the 1940s and the 1970s; the set/costume designers have done well. Don’t know how they did it, but I was particularly impressed with the production’s 1940s’ American South West scenes of Arizona and New Mexico; they look not long removed from the Wild West, and we get a two lane Route 66.

This excellent thriller is tightly written and directed; the acting is remarkably good. It gives us strong action scenes, keeps up the suspense to the very end, when it delivers a sharp surprise, in what, to me, felt like a fresh plot development for those endlessly produced, endlessly fascinating spy dramas. Above all, the production’s female cast is particularly outstanding. It is definitely not a chick flick. And I, who always prefer – surprise—female headed works, was thrilled to finally discover a spy thriller that, for once, cast women as something other than unusually beautiful secretaries/typists/nurses/librarians or telegraph operators.
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VINE VOICEon 13 September 2015
'Restless', is a new two part film, I found on Acorn TV. If you have a chance to view it, grab it. This is an adaptation of William Boyd's novel. 'Restless' is a real spy film and will keep you on tenterhooks until the last scene. Remarkable storyline and superb acting

Part one introduces the main characters in flashback from 1970 to 1939. The main protagonist is spy, Sally Gilmartin, played by Charlotte Rampling. The beautiful, Hayley Atwell, plays Sally in her younger days,using her real name, Eva Delectorskaya. Michelle Dockery, plays Sally's daughter, Ruth Gilmartin. Ruth, a single mother, teaches while she is obtaining her PhD. Rufus Sewell is the young spy provocateur, Lucas Romer, and Michael Gambon plays him as the older man.

Sally Gilmartin lives alone in an isolated village in England. She has past retirement, her husband has died, her daughter is at Cambridge obtaining her PhD, and she is sure someone is planning to kill her. When her daughter. Ruth, and grandson come to visit, she starts to tell Ruth her story and gives her the written story of her life. Pally wants help in drawing out Lucas Romer, the only man who can save her. Via flashbacks we see Sally or Eva as she is known, as her life as a spy for England. The cloaks and daggers are out, and Eva proves to be excellent at her job. We meet her colleagues and the bigwigs in the outfit. We go with Eva on her trips and assignments. She and Lucas become lovers. When Eva us sent to Mexico on an assignment things go very wrong, and she goes undercover. The story continues, and you get to see the inner workings of the spy game. The spy game is not a game,and people are killed and maimed,but this film shows us exactly how I imagined the spy game would be played. Superb!

Highly Recommended. prisrob 09-13-15
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on 21 October 2017
Quite an enjoyable movie, but not as good as Charlotte Grey which is similar in theme. Well acted by all, but I am a little tired of story telling which jumps back and forth in time. So good to see a story told in a straightforward manner once in a while, this did not do so, what a pity.
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on 22 January 2015
Well trodden ground based on lies. The idea that British Intelligence was fighting fascism in Paris in 1939, That the Russian wanted to keep the US out of the war when they were fighting for survival and desperate for help. That the ruling class was covering up Russian spies. The ugly truth is that the Royal family and British ruling class were sympathetic to Herr Hitler, that the did anything to avoid fighting with Germany hoping Germany would attack the Soviet Union. The few spies working for the Soviet Union did so out of desperation at the appeasement of fascism by the British elite. The betrayal of democratic Spain, Austria and Czechoslovakia. The Soviet Union had a superb spy network that help win the war by feeding the Soviet Union with key military and political information. Information that the British government should have given to its Soviet ally as a matter of course.
As a film it is unoriginal and with as many holes in the plot as Swiss cheese. The obsession of the BBC of being as anti communist, anti Soviet and anti Russian as possible at every turn seems to be an attempt to with the love of the, once upon a time fan of fascism, Daily Mail. A shame.
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on 2 September 2015
I could not play the DVD ... it gave a message that I didn't recognize, something about not finding "register" ...
I assume since the DVD was produced in U.K., the equipment might not be compatible. I will not ever order
another DVD from the U.K.
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on 14 October 2014
Really excellent series with excellent acting and plot, BUT no subtitles or captions for the hearing impaired.
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