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The State Within

479 customer reviews

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(Feb 27, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

State Within, The (DVD)

Can you believe what your superiors tell you -- even if you are the British Ambassador to America? In this high octane, action-packed conspiracy thriller, a terrifying plot is played out along the dark corridors of power. When a flight explodes in mid-air over Washington D.C., the British Embassy finds itself enveloped in a diplomatic catastrophe. What happens next is a cat's cradle of tangled affinities and conflicting interests told through interlinking stories that unfold as British Ambassador Mark Brydon slowly realizes that he is being played by an invisible puppeteer with great power.


Leave it to British TV to deliver the slickest, most intense take on terrorism on U.S. soil (with apologies to 24, of course). The State Within is a BBC production of the highest order, tense, dense, and absolutely riveting. The miniseries starts with a bang--actually, a horribly realistic explosion of a U.S. airliner bound for London, and the production values are every bit as detailed and impressive as any big-screen action film. Chunks of plane and passengers fall along the freeway outside Dulles airport in Washington, creating havoc and collateral damage in a truly visceral fashion. And then the real action begins. Our hero is Sir Mark Brydon, British ambassador to Washington, played with sangfroid by Jason Isaacs (slightly reminiscent of Daniel Craig as James Bond). Sir Mark has not only an international crisis on his hands, but quickly learns treachery, deceit, and murder lurk within the governments he's learned to trust. The plot is complex but extremely satisfying, far superior than most mass-market thrillers released in theaters in the U.S. Especially delicious is a small but key role as the U.S. Secretary of Defense by Cagney & Lacey's Sharon Gless, whose eyes glitter like shards of ice. Savor The State Within, but be prepared to be rattled the next time you go to the airport--or try to go to sleep. --A.T. Hurley

Special Features

Other: DVD will release just two days after BBC America premiere! Other: DVD will release just two days after BBC America premiere! Other: DVD will release just two days after BBC America premiere! Other: DVD will release just two days after BBC America premiere!

Product Details

  • Actors: Jason Isaacs, Ben Daniels, Sharon Gless, Neil Pearson, Lennie James
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: February 27, 2007
  • Run Time: 420 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (479 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000KF0DVQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,223 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The State Within" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

98 of 103 people found the following review helpful By Robin on February 4, 2007
Format: DVD
A cracking political thriller with most of the action Washington based and involving governments, private companies and perhaps predictably, a small oil-rich Asian country (Trygyzstan, Tyrgyztan or Tyrygsztan depending how quick your eyes are) so the events are very contemporary and mostly credible, too.

The 350 minutes get off to a stunning start with an airliner being blown up and crashing onto an expressway near Washington and from this point on you'll be hooked like I was. Considering this is not big bucks Hollywood the crash looked incredibly convincing, as does everything else though it was mostly filmed in Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario.

The six parts move along efficiently, especially with plenty of steadycam and accompanying sound effects, but you'll have to pay attention because this is not black and white plotting, the good guys are not obvious and there is no winning side. The casting is fine with Jason Isaacs turning in a great British Ambassador and perhaps Sharon Gless should be taken on by Department of Defence as their no-nonsense Secretary (but maybe her hands are tainted, too). Nothing is what it seems at first.

The UK DVD release includes a twenty-seven minute 'making of' extra. Worth a look though it is the usual back slapping stuff. Several minutes are devoted to creating the airliner crash, which I thought were interesting and Grainne Marmion has some good comments on how she interpreted the production.

This is a conspiracy thriller that will certainly be worth watching several times.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Carla Lilie on June 29, 2007
Format: DVD
"The State Within" is an intelligent, well-acted, entertaining political thriller. What it is not is a diatribe against the United States. Having read reviews claming that it was, I watched "The State Within" with some trepidation. One review said that, with the exception of the death row prison guard, the Americans were all one-dimensional villains. Not true. There were good Americans and bad Americans in the film, just as there were good British characters and bad British characters.

The film does make the point that, in politics, even choosing the better (most moral) choice can lead to unintended and even evil consequences. No one recognizes this better than Mark Brydon, the hero and clearly a good man. There are some veiled references to Iraq, so I supposed those individuals who firmly believe invading Iraq was the correct thing to do might take offense, but that still doesn't mean "The State Within" is anti-American.

The viewer does need to be patient with "The State Within." There's a fairly large cast of characters and it may take an episode or two to keep them all straight. I'm astounded by the reviewer who claimed to have the entire story figured out in half an hour. I'm not sure all the characters were even introduced by that point. The production as a whole is top-notch, and I especially enjoyed Eva Birthistle as Jane Lavery and Ben Daniels as Nicholas Brocklehurst. His character will keep you guessing for several episodes. Also outstanding was the actor who played the prison guard (not sure of his name), He has such an expressive face. Jason Isaacs gives a compelling performance as the lead character Mark Brydon. Ever since I saw him as Lucius Malfoy in the second Harry Potter movie I've found him to be a fascinating actor, and it was so enjoyable to see him play a hero for a change.
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Format: DVD
While I don't think "The State Within" is a perfect political thriller, I will pay it the highest compliment for this type of entertainment--it is ambitiously complex without being unnecessarily convoluted. This six part British miniseries (each part is approximately an hour) carries about twelve major characters and five major plot strands and interweaves them expertly throughout. Seemingly unrelated events converge as layers of intrigue and duplicity are revealed. While some have compared this to a more cerebral "24," it actually has little in common with the American show other than the overt themes inherent in global politics, government corruption, and terrorism. But wait a minute.....Just as "24" in an intriguing thrill ride that sometimes strains credibility, so is "The State Within." And just as you might overlook the believability factor in "24" because the story told is so intricate and entertaining, you might also be willing to accept "The State Within" at face value. For make no mistake, "The State Within" (at the most fundamental level) is rousing entertainment.

Surprisingly, this British production is set largely in the United States. The British Ambassador, played by Jason Isaacs, becomes the centerpiece for the story when an airplane is bombed as it takes off over Washington D.C. Issacs is, literally, in the middle of the wreckage (in an impressively staged action scene) and continues to be, figuratively, as a British national is implicated in the terrorism. With multiple plot strands that include a death row inmate, an American company's international investment, a rogue military unit on U.S. soil, a controversial and brutal coup, and the Secretary of Defense (Sharon Gless)--this drama effectively juggles a lot of action.
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2 discs or 3?
It's a two disc set.
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