Review: TV drama on DVD
The Escape Artist with David Tennant
Up front I have to declare a couple of points. This program is definitely scary in parts and definitely may not suit everyone. The program, like too many others, is yet again about a psychopath male who murders and mutilates women. Having said that as a warning, the big positive is the high calibre actors.
It’s opening scenes are of caged birds with threatening music building up. This straight away reminded me of Hitchock’s The Birds. These are small finches in cages, but the cinematography made us feel threatened by something present.
On of the first scenes was in the killer’s room with all the birds in cages. This was the first of many things that I had to overlook to get on with the story. The reality is that any such closed up room would have had the floor covered with stuff. Mysteriously the floor was clean. It did not take to imagine that the room, having been locked up, would have been full of the odour of bird crap and stale bird seed etc. But alas we digress.
David Tennant is one of the current crop of hot actors in the UK. According to all reports, since he left Dr Who he has moved through several significant TV productions, eg Broadchurch, and has appeared on stage for instance as Richard II. I saw a report that young women are returning to see that production numerous times because of David Tennant acting (not just his sex appeal of course!).
David Tennant is brilliant in this three-part series. It is his performances and those of his supporting cast that partly distracts you from the subject matter, the murderous type who is the killer, as well as some strange faults in the script.
There are faults in the script and at times you are asked to take giant leaps to go along with the story. Yes it is fiction. But even this genre of fiction has to stay attached to enough reality for viewers to take the ride without thinking too much about what is going on. The story line moves along classic lines, scary, hard courtroom drama, and allowing you to get to know people and to feel comfortable. All that and then it veers off in a different direction.
I did have the advantage of viewing this three-part series in a couple of nights. I think if I had to watch it over three weeks, I may have thought about things too much in between and not completed the journey.
Final note: We have had enough of programs that have as their basis that some nasty male is out there to murder women in the most gruesome way possible. The English writers have to get over this obsession.
Recommended (with warning on being horrible in parts): rating 7/10
Paul Costigan, 3 January 2014