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. For instance, Nighy sensibly locks a plastic shopping bag containing £60,000 (the bills with Queen Elizabeth's face plainly showing through the plastic), and then in the next scene, he pulls his car up to the shoulder of the road in the middle of nowhere, opens up the trunk of the car--leaving it wide open--retrieves a tuxedo, and walks off toward the bushes--minus the sack of money--apparently to change his clothes, because in the very next scene, it is night and he turns up at his old college dressed for a dinner in honour of the Prime Minister. In still another scene, we discover Nighy standing at a hotel reception desk; he is deep in conversation with Ms Weisz, and the plastic sack of money is sitting open on the counter (the Queen's face still visible through the plastic), unattended. By the time he reaches the airport in the final scene, plastic sack of money in hand, I kept wondering how he was going to get it through security (which is fierce at English airports!). The point is that the director seems to have forgotten that the plastic sack contained a fortune in pound notes; nor did it occur to him that, as far as the collective memory of the audience is concerned, the prop might consequently become a maddening distraction from the plot.
The stellar cast kept the film on track, but I do think that a strong dose of continuity control ought to have been exercised in the editing of this otherwise riveting film.