Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Gambon in very good form, playing charmingly audacious characters. The Security Service, and the sense of 'England' that is built around it, are both portrayed in an amusingly artsy, lighting-a-cigarette-under-a-lamppost-to-the-tune-of-modern-jazz manner that some might might find annoying - but which I felt more to be endearing. And a refreshing contrast to the bleak picture of the world and it's intelligence services painted in other modern spy shows, 'Spooks' being the prime example.
The story seems to ramble a little, at first, and is not as tight or conventionally depicted as audiences might be used to, but it soon picks up - leading to a 'Johnny on the run' sequence that is as good as any other staple 'spy in hiding' romp in any TV espionage thriller of recent years, but one which is much more believable and down-to-earth. An unexpected conclusion left me praising Nighy's character for doing the right thing, in normal person terms, rather than 'the right thing' in the usual On Her Majesty's Secret Service terms that we're usually force-fed by spy drama - one of the many things that made the character and those around him seem less like a phantom, emotionless government spook, and more like a human being.
Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy) is a long-serving MI5 officer. His boss and best friend Benedict Baron (Michael Gambon) dies suddenly, leaving behind him an inexplicable file, threatening the stability of the organization. Meanwhile, a seemingly chance encounter with Johnny's striking next-door neighbor and political activist Nancy Pierpan (Rachel Weisz) seems too good to be true. Johnny is forced to walk out of his job, and then out of his identity to find out the truth. Set in London and Cambridge, PAGE EIGHT is a contemporary spy film for the BBC, which addresses intelligence issues and moral dilemmas peculiar to the new century.
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