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The Runaway
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
After loving the British TV adaptation of Martina Cole's "The Take" (with a riveting, star-making performance by Tom Hardy), I was more than eager to check out this six part series. While "The Runaway" is also based on a Cole novel exploring the criminal underbelly of recent London, it has a much broader scope. With a story that spans several decades, occurs across different continents, and focuses on multiple plot lines, "The Runaway" certainly doesn't lack ambition. It may, however, miss out on an intimacy as episodes jump forward through time, often just when things are at their most interesting. Although I have not read the source novel, this television production does feel like the equivalent of reading a sprawling potboiler. By the end, the central protagonists have lived through a good chunk of history and it's fascinating to see just how far they come as actual characters within this broad narrative arc.

"The Runaway," at its core, tells the story of star-crossed lovers. Joanna Vanderham (the titular runaway) lives a tumultuous life with her prostitute mother (the reliable Kierston Wareing, also great in "The Take" as Hardy's wife). Wareing shacks up with a fellow and suddenly Vanderham has a new step-brother (Jack O'Connell). But O'Connell and Vanderham begin a secret love affair that will last (in some fashion or another) through the remainder of the series. O'Connell gets wrapped up in the criminal world and, after a shocking crime, Vanderham flees her old life to begin afresh. As the two lead separate lives, they continually come together and break apart. It's an unhealthy relationship, to be sure, but one that holds them each prisoner. As the years progress, Vanderham seems to be breaking free from her troubled past while O'Connell gets more firmly entrenched in questionable violence and even terrorism. It seems like this affair is doomed from the start, but you're never quite sure where this tale is headed or how exactly it will get there.

The production boasts a couple of high profile supporting performances by Keith Allen (as a ruthless crime boss) and Alan Cumming (as a mothering cross dresser who takes Vanderham in). The rest of the characters are well cast. I especially liked Max Irons as a rival love interest. But, for the most part, the heavy lifting rests squarely on the shoulders of the young stars. O'Connell is impressive and appealing, I see him going on to bigger and better things. Vanderham, though, has the largest story arc. I wasn't overly fond of her performance as the piece began (and she was supposed to be a teenager) but as the story came to its conclusion, you see just how much growth and depth she has invested in the character. This is a solid and well acted series that makes for an easy recommendation, especially for lovers of British crime drama. It may not have completely enthralled me, but I was suitably entertained throughout. KGHarris, 8/12.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
After loving the British TV adaptation of Martina Cole's "The Take" (with a riveting, star-making performance by Tom Hardy), I was more than eager to check out this six part series. While "The Runaway" is also based on a Cole novel exploring the criminal underbelly of recent London, it has a much broader scope. With a story that spans several decades, occurs across different continents, and focuses on multiple plot lines, "The Runaway" certainly doesn't lack ambition. It may, however, miss out on an intimacy as episodes jump forward through time, often just when things are at their most interesting. Although I have not read the source novel, this television production does feel like the equivalent of reading a sprawling potboiler. By the end, the central protagonists have lived through a good chunk of history and it's fascinating to see just how far they come as actual characters within this broad narrative arc.

"The Runaway," at its core, tells the story of star-crossed lovers. Joanna Vanderham (the titular runaway) lives a tumultuous life with her prostitute mother (the reliable Kierston Wareing, also great in "The Take" as Hardy's wife). Wareing shacks up with a fellow and suddenly Vanderham has a new step-brother (Jack O'Connell). But O'Connell and Vanderham begin a secret love affair that will last (in some fashion or another) through the remainder of the series. O'Connell gets wrapped up in the criminal world and, after a shocking crime, Vanderham flees her old life to begin afresh. As the two lead separate lives, they continually come together and break apart. It's an unhealthy relationship, to be sure, but one that holds them each prisoner. As the years progress, Vanderham seems to be breaking free from her troubled past while O'Connell gets more firmly entrenched in questionable violence and even terrorism. It seems like this affair is doomed from the start, but you're never quite sure where this tale is headed or how exactly it will get there.

The production boasts a couple of high profile supporting performances by Keith Allen (as a ruthless crime boss) and Alan Cumming (as a mothering cross dresser who takes Vanderham in). The rest of the characters are well cast. I especially liked Max Irons as a rival love interest. But, for the most part, the heavy lifting rests squarely on the shoulders of the young stars. O'Connell is impressive and appealing, I see him going on to bigger and better things. Vanderham, though, has the largest story arc. I wasn't overly fond of her performance as the piece began (and she was supposed to be a teenager) but as the story came to its conclusion, you see just how much growth and depth she has invested in the character. This is a solid and well acted series that makes for an easy recommendation, especially for lovers of British crime drama. It may not have completely enthralled me, but I was suitably entertained throughout. KGHarris, 8/12.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Two people grow up together in the middle of London's gangs. They were childhood sweethearts who witnessed violence, drugs, prostitution, and more all around them. As the streets filled up with drugs, rape and murder, their lives were torn apart as they ran away in different directions, until they meet again. This action-packed crime story has you hooked from the start with intense suspense throughout. A heart-wrenching story of crime, corruption, and survival. Drama throughout, acting performance Superb, and Highly Recommended for thriller lovers!
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on September 21, 2014
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Loved it! Great period piece. Excellent acting, wicked soundtrack! A perfect Friday night in series.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 22, 2012
Format: DVD
Although this series succeeds beautifully as a crime drama and a romance, there's more going on than one might at first think. I have not read the novel on which this program is based, but at the very least the adaptors of Cole's story, if not Cole herself, have put together a stylish twist on the classic literary quest for redemption. Whether or not the creators of "The Runaway" intended to reference Graham Greene's "Brighton Rock," I couldn't help seeing Eamon as a slightly more appealing counterpart of Greene's Pinky Brown, and his struggle as parallel to Pinky's conflict over alone-ness and connection. The production also shares Greene's concern for the divide between various systems of morality and gives at least a nod to Greene's exploration of the role of faith, and particularly Catholicism, in a fallen world. In other words, this is a great show that reminds me of one of my favorite books. As in "Brighton Rock," the story comes to an easily forseen conclusion, but it still is emotionally evocative...I can't remember what else I've seen recently that made me feel much of anything.
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on March 21, 2015
Format: DVD
Fast service. Item as described. Thanks.
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