Sunday, December 30, 2012

Review: "The Restless"

I have to say, it's very strange (at first) to see Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary Crowley of Downton Abbey fame) playing a single mother and PhD in 1960's Britain.  But once you get over the fact that she's so utterly recognizable as Lady Mary, you can start to see her as Ruth Gilmartin, in the BBC miniseries Restless instead.  For starters, Ruth smiles a lot more than Lady Mary.  And she wears her hair down.  And pants, she also wears pants...

Based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Wiliam Boyd, Restless follows the exploits of Ruth as she becomes aware that her aging mother Sally may in fact be a spy called aka Ava Delectorskaya.  Developed as a two parter for British television, the program skips between 'present' day (1960's Britain) and the past (starting with Ava's recruitment in 1939) and does a remarkable job of keeping the momentum going.  Certainly Hayley Atwell and the events in 1960 are much more compelling than what's going on in the 'present day' England however the actress playing Ava in her later years (Charlotte Rampling, of 2008's The Duchess and 2011's Melancolia).  Ultimately Dockery is neither here nor there (let's say she doesn't detract from the film) but the whole thing leaves me thinking that the novel may be worth picking up.

Restless aired Dec 27th and 28th on BBC One and can be expected to air on BBC America and BBC Canada in the new year.

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