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Masterpiece Contemporary: Page Eight

Bill Nighy , Tom Hughes , David Hare  |  NR |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (368 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Bill Nighy, Tom Hughes, Michael Gambon, Judy Davis, Rakhee Thakrar
  • Directors: David Hare
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS (DIRECT)
  • DVD Release Date: November 8, 2011
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (368 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005DJ7AYC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,749 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Masterpiece Contemporary: Page Eight" on IMDb

Special Features

None

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

A volatile document falls into the hands of MI5, threatening to upend the entire government--but first it may destroy the life of Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy), a senior intelligence analyst. The head of the agency (and Worricker's best friend) Benedict Baron (Michael Gambon) abruptly dies, leaving a complex snarl of threads to untangle: Who's the source of the document? Who might benefit from it? And what does it have to do with the lovely woman (Rachel Weisz) who lives across the hall from Worricker, who seems to have a sudden romantic interest in him? Writer-director David Hare unspools the espionage with skill and delicacy, and the cast--lean and inscrutable Nighy, brittle and biting Judy Davis, a startlingly brutish Ralph Fiennes, and jumpy Ewen Bremner (Trainspotting) as a covert agent whose entire career may cease to exist with Baron's death--are all ideal for this cat-and-mouse game. Hare isn't as good with more tender emotions; the romance between Nighy and Weisz feels thin and there's not much tension to the mystery surrounding her. But the political machinations crackle, the cast is magnetic, and the production design is sleek and alluring. The Blu-ray edition brings out the shimmer in the glass and metal surfaces and the depth of the lush fabrics, enhancing the spy games considerably. (It also brings out the layer of makeup on Nighy's weathered face, but you stop noticing that after a while.) There are no extra features. --Bret Fetzer

Product Description

Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy) is a long-serving M15 officer. His boss and best friend Benedict Baron (Michael Gambon) dies suddenly, leaving behind him an inexplicable file, threatening the stability of the organization. Meanwhile, a seemingly chance encounter with Johnny's striking next-door neighbour and political activist Nancy Pierpan (Rachel Weisz) seems too good to be true. Johnny is forced to walk out of his job, and then out of his identity to find out the truth. Set in London and Cambridge, PAGE EIGHT is a contemporary spy film for the BBC, which addresses intelligence issues and moral dilemmas peculiar to the new century.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
151 of 164 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
PBS started a new series titled "Masterpiece Contemporary" to present films that take place in today's modern world (as compared to the Victorian era of most Masterpiece Theater program). This is one of those new shows. Why it didn't show up in their "Mastery" series is a mystery to me. Despite what a previous reviewer said there is a "mystery" here that is not revealed until near the end. But, I'm glad they did at least bring it to US audiences.

The film - with a script by David Hare (his first in 20 years) - wonderful and the cast is superb with Michael Gambon, Rachel Weisz, Judy Davis and Bill Nighy (in the main role) as an M5 Investigator (The UK's "intelligence unit).

I won't give the plot because it would spoil it. And I'll also suggest that you pass on the review titled "I'd Like Some Jazz " which really gives a lot of it away. Even the short description on the back of the DVD divulges info it's more interesting to discover as you watch the film.

This 105 minute film (yes it is 105 minutes on this DVD.. someone asked) is the "Original UK Version" so there is the F-Word - that didn't appear when it aired on PBS.

I watched this DVD knowing nothing about the film or plot and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a modern "spy/ political" film as up to dates as today's headlines.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
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55 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Searingly Poignant Film November 1, 2011
Format:Amazon Instant Video
David Hare both wrote and directed this stylish, intensely intelligent suspense film (his other films include work on The Hours, The Reader, Damage, Plenty, etc). Few films have been made that depend on smart dialogue and intense acting instead of explosions, car chases, and other improbable acts of danger to make their point. Aided by a top-notch British cast, Hare has created a thinking person's drama and it is refreshingly poignant.

A contemporary spy film created for BBC, the action is set in both London and Cambridge. Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy in one of his best roles to date) is an experienced MI5 officer whose boss and best friend Benedict Baron (Michael Gambon) dies of a myocardial infarction: he leaves a secret file for his friend. Both men have been married to the same woman (Alice Krige) and Worricker has a grown child from his marriage, an artist Julianne Felicity Jones) who has never quite forgiven her father for leaving her mother for another woman. The file is so important that it is under surveillance by the British Intelligence (Judy Davis et al) and the Prime Minister's office (Ralph Fiennes). Worricker lives in a flat opposite a beautiful but aloof girl Nancy Pierpan (Rachel Weisz) whose brother has been murdered in the Middle East. It is the silence about Nancy's brother's death that is at the core of the file Worricker holds and with some help from Nancy he traces the truth to the point of being threatened by MI5 to be fired. The film addresses contemporary intelligence issues and techniques and the associated moral dilemmas we face today. To reveal more would be to rob the viewer of the complexity of the story.

The strong supporting cast includes Marthe Kellar in a small but pivotal role, along with Tom Hughes, Kate Burdette, Ewen Bremmer and others. This is a tense drama, exceptionally well written and acted and a welcome change from the current barrage of action flicks. Grady Harp, November 11
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38 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great UK Spy Drama October 31, 2011
Format:DVD
Page Eight is a British Spy novel told from a British point of view. The point of view underlying the drama is that the UK Prime Minister is too close to the USA (e.g., Tony Blair). I personally am not put off by that view which is often expressed in UK Drama (e.g., The Last Enemy), but you should be aware of the underpinnings of the video before you watch it.

The drama is riveting, and the cast is excellent. I am not a big Bill Nighy fan, but everyone else is excellent. I started watching the video at 1AM, and I could not stop watching it. I found the ending realistic and believable, despite the fact that I wished for something more satisfying from our hero's point of view. The dialogue is great. It is witty, and it is what an American Anglophile expects the British ruling class to sound like.

There is a rumor that writer/director David Hare has told some associates that if Page 8 works, he might bring Bill Nighy's character Johnny Worricker back, as part of a trilogy of TV films. I would love to see more (even with Bill Nighy).

PBS Masterpiece will air the drama next week, and has allowed two hours for the broadcast. The drama itself is only one hour and thirty-eight minutes. So, I am hopeful that PBS will broadcast the entire drama.

The only thing wrong with the DVD is the price of $23.49. This is a made for TV movie of normal TV movie length. That price is not warranted. I will wait until the price drops before I buy the DVD.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bill Nighy: The King of Laid Back November 7, 2011
Format:DVD
I love anything with Bill Nighy in the cast. Suave and sophisticated, he is the master of the pithy understatement. In "Page Eight" he plays a jaded MI5 Officer, who is caught up in secret political skulduggery that could bring down the government, headed by Ralph Fiennes as the Prime Minister, who, a la Tony Blair, has been too pal-sy with his American Cousins in the 'war' on terror. Coincidentally, Nighy also becomes involved in a political coverup of a war-crime, which has hit the Syrian family of his beautiful neighbour, convincingly portrayed by Rachel Weisz.

The cast, which is top drawer, includes Michael Gambon, who used to be Nighy's tutor at Cambridge and subsequently became his boss at MI5; Judy Davis, a rather nasty piece of goods who is his colleague and nemisis at MI5; and a still lovely and charismatic Marthe Keller, cast in the role of an old love of Nighy and possibly a professional contact, who is a source of ready cash.

Although I was totally absorbed in the story, which moves at a fast pace, the plot contained some gaps, which makes me wonder whether we on this side of the Pond have been treated to yet another truncated version to fit into the Masterpiece time slot. Furthermore, there were maddening lapses in continuity.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars REALLY wanted to like it... but...
REALLY wanted to like it. I love Bill Nighy and the rest of the cast is solid as well. The problem is two fold: it's a little slow for American audiences who aren't used to English... Read more
Published 3 days ago by A. Stenz
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Intelligent, understated, and compelling with an outstanding cast, including the incomparable Rachel Weisz.
Published 4 days ago by Amazonjon
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, but nothing I would want to sit ...
I'm stingy with stars. Pretty good, but nothing I would want to sit still for 40 minutes to watch. (good for cleaning house by)
Published 4 days ago by Rebecca D.
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Thought it was boring.
Published 7 days ago by JANET S. SMITH
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent.
Reminded me a lot of John LeCarre's stories. Muted and methodical. Intelligent.
Published 8 days ago by J. M. Robbins
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Captivating performances. Especially Nighy, who was just right in his role.
Published 8 days ago by Lyn J Scrimger
5.0 out of 5 stars recommended by two people
Complicated as and thoughtful plot that really delivers.
Published 10 days ago by Karen Glazer
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
The same genre of a John Le'Carre novel. Well done and and with style.
Published 11 days ago by George
5.0 out of 5 stars Watch it
This ig good. Good acting, good direction, good casting, and smart storyline...
Published 16 days ago by Stephen J. Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars However the "F" bomb was used unnecessarily too many times
It was suspenseful and engaging. However the "F" bomb was used unnecessarily too many times.
Published 16 days ago by Skipper Jim
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Subtitles
Both PBS and Netflix say that "Page Eight" has English SDH subtitles.
Nov 9, 2011 by mirasreviews |  See all 3 posts
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