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Masterpiece Mystery: The Escape Artist [Blu-ray]

1,808 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Even serial killers deserve a defense
David Tennant (Doctor Who) stars as Will Burton, a talented junior barrister of peerless intellect and winning charm, who specializes in spiriting people out of tight legal corners, hence his nickname The Escape Artist. Ashley Jensen (Ugly Betty) portrays Will s wife Kate, mother to his son Jamie and the rock of his world.
Much to the aggravation of his courtroom rival, Maggie Gardner (Sophie Okonedo, Hotel Rwanda), Will is in high demand, as he has never lost a case. But when Will s talents acquit Liam Foyle (Toby Kebbell, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), who is standing trial for a horrific and high-profile murder, that courtroom brilliance comes back to bite him. Foyle walks free on a technicality, but he is a serial killer and it is only a matter of time until he kills again. Will must confront his primal instincts as this thriller pushes his legal world far beyond an intellectual exercise.


… chilling legal thriller…

3 out of 4 stars
David Tennant continues his impressive post-Doctor Who run of appearances in British dramas...Recommended. --Video Librarian

Product Details

  • Actors: David Tennant, Ashley Jensen, Maggie Gardner, Liam Foyle
  • Directors: .
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS (DIRECT)
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,808 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,090 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

108 of 111 people found the following review helpful By L. M. Keefer TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 25, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
In this stylish British legal thriller, a brilliant barrister Will Burton (David Tennant) grapples with the question should he defend a man Liam Foyle (Toby Kebbell) whom he suspects is guilty of a heinous crime? He doesn't know for sure the man is guilty, and he doesn't appear to want to know. Burton takes the lofty position it's just a case, and everyone deserves a defense. He's just doing his job, and he never loses a case.

When the case starts to hit closer to home, however, it's harder to be philosophical. Suddenly, perspective changes. What if you win the case and the man strikes again? How do you protect your family and others?

This is a taut legal thriller with accomplished actors and textured British scenery (England and Scotland) as a dazzling backdrop. The legal strategy fascinates as the case becomes more complex. Written by the show MI-5's David Wolstenscraft, the dialogue is fresh and smart. Burton's legal colleague (Anton Lesser) , legal rival (Sophie Okonedo) and son (Gus Barry) enrich the show with particularly talented performances. All of the supporting performances are excellent and seem realistic. David Tennant, as the gifted lawyer, carries the show with his finely acted portrayal. If you saw Tennant in BROADCHURCH, he plays a different kind of character as the confident and warm Burton, you question whether it's the same actor. I thought maybe it was the actor's brother - he's that versatile in playing a role.

There's a bit of gruesomeness in the first episode, but it evolves into more of a suspenseful legal thriller. There's a few predictable plot twists, and "too stupid to live" moves, but then it veers off into something more original and complex. This film allows the viewer to look at the law through many lenses of the participants: the lawyers, the victims, the witnesses, the judge, and the criminal mind. If you like legal thrillers with original plots, set in Britain, this should please.
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56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Arlene Bradley on July 9, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
A brilliant thriller with great writing and even better acting. David Tennant shines in this film as Will Burton a brilliant criminal barrister (laywer for us Americans) running the gambit of emotions and taking the viewer along for the ride. The supporting actors were just as great with Sophie Okonedo as Maggie, Will's opposite, who is driven to beet Will at any cost. Then their is Toby Kebbell who gives a chilling portrayal of Liam Foyle the murderer in this piece. Their are many twists and turns in this film that makes you give thought to what is the Law and what is Justice and what is Moral. Knowing someone is guilty and proving it are two different things. It also makes you think what you would do in the same situation.

I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 because this is not the PBS/Masterpiece version but the BBC DVD version. The two were cut a little different, in the PBS/Masterpiece version they cut small scenes that did not advance the story line but added scenes that in my mind were very important to the story line and made it make more sense . For instance the relationship between Maggie an the DNA Lab Doctor that Maggie uses to find out about the extra cleaning of the lab and then uses so skillfully in court. This also goes a long way to explain that Maggie would do anything to beet Will weather it is wreck a relationship or go all the way to Scotland to go against him. Also an extra scene between Will and his wife and a scene where Will is watching Maggie on TV talking about home invasion and you see his frustration is rising. Not that their is anything wrong with the BBC cut version, I have the DVD and love it but I just thought the version I saw on TV on my PBS station was better and was hoping this was it, which is why I purchased this too.
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Format: Blu-ray
As I post this review (in early June 2014) there is one review, apparently based on the version that aired on PBS.I want to point out that Amazon has a policy of grouping ALL reviews of ALL formats of a film together under each version. So you will find lots of reviews of the theatrical or TV version here as well as reviews of the Amazon Instant version. Neither of these covers the bonus features on the DVD and Bluray. So I always recommend that buyers sort the reviews by “Most Recent” first and then look to see which format the reviewer is discussing. With that said, on to my review of the Bluray version (I received an advance copy since the release date is June 17th. As I understand it the bonus features are the same on both the DVD and BD for this release.

If you have read my other reviews on Amazon, you would know that I’m a huge fan of both British and Australian mystery and crime series DVDs released by PBS, BBC Home Video and Acorn Home Video. And I don’t believe in providing “spoilers” in my reviews. These series were created to have the viewer be surprised.

This film was produced by the BBC but also aired in the US on PBS on Masterpiece Mystery in an edited version. It is a three-episode “series”, with each episode lasting about 58 minutes. (For PBS, the edits were made for two reasons: 1) to allow the “promos for other PBS shows and 2) for both language and violence (which has been more acceptable to British audiences). For this release PBS Home Video has left the Masterpiece intro but has provided the “Original UK Version”. While I did not watch the PBS-TV version, I will point out that there are some gruesome graphics as well as strong language (the S-word for one) in the version included here.
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Masterpiece Mystery: The Escape Artist [Blu-ray]
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