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3.9 out of 5 stars
70
3.9 out of 5 stars
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 10 June 2011
From Jack Gold, who also delivered one of the best Inspector Morse episodes, come this Graham Greene adaptation with undertones of Martin Guerre.
The performances are first rate and the screenplay functions well, although it does suffer from being a TV Movie and trying to deal with too many chunks rather than letting the plot develop.
All of that said it is a really satisfying adaptation, with a mature and good story from Greene, a good and haunted performance from Anthony Hopkins and a beautiful Kristin Scott Thomas proving that she is not only more beautiful than other Hollywood stars, but she is also smarter and wiser as an actress, the scene of the "return" is a moment to note here.
If like me you didn't know this movie then give it a chance, something brought you to this page and at this price it is worth a gamble.
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on 15 June 2017
Felt a bit cheated here..was expecting a spy story ala Spy Who Came in From the Cold...it's not . It's one of those made for TV jobs like those Dirty Dozen spin offs.
Saying that it's not a bad film ,is a good story with some surprises. It's saved by the acting talent of Hopkins, Scott -Thomas & Jacobi.
Worth a watch but not worth spending big money on.
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on 28 April 2017
very good
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on 18 March 2017
Well told story with fine acting. Production style a bit dated but worth viewing.
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on 12 October 2013
Arrived dead on the promised delivery in good order & very satisfied. Would recommend to others.
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Excellent actors and well conceived storyline elevate this movie from its ordinary TV movie of the month origins.
Set in WW II, Hopkins plays Cheval - an ordinary man, a lawyer, trying to live his life unobtrusively amid the occupation. His life is upturned when he is taken in along with a group of others by the Germans and put in jail, ready to be shot as an example to the resistance. When that time comes, he buys his life, giving all he has to another man who wishes to leave the house and wealth for his mother and sister Therese (Kirsten Scott-Thomas).
3 years later after the war, Hopkins returns to his house, and meets the sister, never letting on who he actually is. The lies threaten to unravel when a man (Derek Jacobi) then appears, announcing himself as Chavel.
The story is told in an economical way, leading to a relatively short 95 minute running time, and unfolds rather more like a play than a movie. The first act - the prison cell, where Chavel has the moment of weakness he will regret his whole life, The second act - Chavel after the war gains the trust of Therese. And then the third act - The stranger arrives and all the lies become a tortuous mess ultimately leading to a satisfying and inevitable conclusion.
It is not really a war story, but a character study. What can you do if you have a moment of weakness with consequences that cannot be undone? When all you have is guilt, what can be done to make things right? As for the production in general, the music is often overdone, but the subtlety of the acting and fine French locations cover over the TV budget cracks.
A typically well told Graham Greene story, with Hopkins bringing real nuances to the role of Cheval, this deserves a wider audience than its TV movie label suggests, even if it is not up with the best Greene adaptations. 7 / 10 (for the acting!)
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on 6 July 2012
Here's a novelty, a television film with an original and intelligent plot - though as it's based on a novel by Graham Greene that shouldn't be such a surprise. The story is that of an affluent French lawyer whose comfortable and ordered lifestyle comes to an abrupt end when he is plucked off the streets of Paris by occupying German forces. He is imprisoned with others selected at random; a human pool from which some unfortunates are periodically executed in retaliation for acts against the Germans perpetrated by the French Resistance. Our lawyer soon becomes one of those picked for the firing squad, but he persuades another prisoner to take his place in return for all his worldly goods. Already seriously ill, this prisoner considers the price worth paying in return for wealth and property that will pass to his mother and sister.
The ensuing story shows how the lawyer, haunted by his act of cowardice, survives the war. Destitute upon release he briefly considers suicide but is then drawn to his old home, where he meets the two material beneficiaries of his deal with their relative. Careful not to reveal his true identity, he finds the two women greatly embittered by the events he set in train, with the sister in particular vowing to kill the coward who she sees as responsible for her brother's death. Unaware that this is the very man, the sister invites our lawyer to stay on to help with the upkeep of the house and it isn't long before a tentative romance begins. How events unfold from here on forms a thoughtful and quite moving finale to the film.
The production boasts an excellent cast, with Anthony Hopkins as the lawyer, Kristen Scott Thomas as the sister, Brenda Bruce as the mother, and with Derek Jacobi in a fairly brief but crucial role towards the end. As you'd expect they all perform well.
So this is a production well worth watching, but one can't help feeling that there was the potential here for something greater. This is a TV movie, and although much better than the banal and instantly forgettable tripe usually associated with this genre, there's still something of that "cut price" feel to the overall production. It also has a truly awful musical score, a lushly cliched orchestral arrangement that is totally at odds with the restrained and subtle performances from the actors on screen.
To summarise, I'm happy to recommend this film; it is good; it's just a pity that it wasn't the truly outstanding production it could have been
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on 30 June 2016
The story is a good one, of course it is, but, I was very disappointed in the quality of the acting....that surprised me as I was expecting better.
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on 2 October 2016
The film is a bit depressing, but the quality of the DVD itself is excellent.
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on 15 September 2016
Thank you
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