Friday, February 20, 2015

Gently with Class (2012)

     Gently with Class (2012) [D: Gillies MacKinnon. Martin Shaw, Lee Ingleby] Rerun on WGBH. From the series Inspector George Gently, based on books by Allan Hunter : see the Wikipedia entry.
     Moody photography, with elliptical story-telling, cross-cutting and flashbacks, which develop the puzzle and the theme jigsaw piece by jigsaw piece, until the final punch-line that makes the socio-political point: the new rulers of Britain will be just like the old ones.
     DS Bacchus is convinced that James Blackstone, son and heir of Hector Blackstone, drove the upturned car half-submerged in the river, in which a girl drowned. Bacchus has twice arrested James for drunk driving, but James’s  mother has twice drawn him out of harm’s way.
But this time it’s more complicated. Bacchus is itching to take the toffs down. Gently just wants to find out who done what. None of the suspects tells the truth, and when they do begin to spill it, they don’t tell the whole truth. As often happens in such complicated stories, the denouement is a perfunctory exercise in tying up loose ends. If the script follows Hunter’s novel, his real focus was on class and class-driven resentments. That was well done; we almost don’t care who actually did what.
     Gently is an interesting character, oddly detached from his job, the passion to uncover the truth concentrated in Bacchus. But Bacchus doesn’t want the truth for the sake of justice, he wants it as a weapon in the class war. Well done entertainment. **½

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