Thursday 07 Oct 2021 | 05:25 | SYDNEY
Thursday 07 Oct 2021 | 05:25 | SYDNEY

Films to watch this summer


Rory Medcalf


21 December 2009 10:32

Forget The (other) Interpreter. Here are two must-see movies for those who love a good dose of international conspiracy with their entertainment. Both are big-screen versions of some of the sharpest British television ever made. Both open in Australia in January. One is a seriously dark tragedy about nasty goings-on in the nuclear underworld. The other is a darkly serious comedy about media spin, wars of choice and the US-UK special relationship. 

Edge of Darkness, in my view the best BBC thriller of all time, has finally made it to cinema (trailer above). I'm not yet sure about the casting of Mel Gibson in the lead role, and have to wonder how a story set in Cold War Britain will survive the transplant to an American setting circa 2009. I'd hate to see too much meddling with the late great Troy Kennedy Martin's dialogue – long before The Sopranos, here was someone who knew that TV scriptwriting could be high art.

The good news is that the film is directed and produced by the team from the original series. And Martin Campbell, the director, clearly knows how to do cinematic pace and tension: his last film was the brilliant Casino Royale. It's just a shame that Joe Don Baker isn't reprising his role as CIA-officer-turned-honest-rogue Darius Jedburgh, the sort of man who brings a suitcase of plutonium to a meeting 'just so we know what we're talking about'.

For something not much lighter, In The Loop (trailer below) takes political satire to black new depths. I caught half of it on a plane recently, and can't wait to see the whole thing. It's a spin-off from comedy series The Thick of It – a window on political trickery that makes Yes, Minister look quaint and earnest, The Hollowmen derivative and empty, and Wag The Dog downright naïve. The finest creation yet by comic genius Armando Iannucci, it brings together a dangerous array of talent from both sides of the Atlantic. 

The face-off between (speaking of The Sopranos) James Gandolfini's war-shy American general and Peter Capaldi's Scottish spin doctor with a gift for creative obscenity should be compulsory viewing for every international relations student who still thinks that sheer force of personality has nothing to do with the big decisions of politics, peace and war.