Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks, Christopher Good, Dimitry Drannikov, Polly Maberly
Director: Stuart Orme
Series: Foyle’s War #20 (Season 6, Episode 1)
Release Date: 11 April 2010
Length: 90 minutes
Movie Rating: Not Rated
View Format: TV
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
“The war is over in Europe, the dawn of a new era at hand, and much has changed — for Samantha “Sam” Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks) and Paul Milner (Anthony Howell) at least. Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle’s (Michael Kitchen) retirement ambitions have hit another snag, and he’s still bound to his old job and a new case. A Russian POW is on the run, an eminent resident is dead, and Milner, as the new Detective Inspector in the Brighton police force and eager to be out of Foyle’s shadow, is on the case. Milner has his eye on an obvious suspect in the murder, but Foyle is taking a more circumspect view of the case. Why is the War Office so intent on tracking down one particular Russian POW anyway? The answer will put Foyle in grave danger like never before, and shed a searing light on secrets of the British government.” — Masterpiece Mystery
This is another well-made production in the excellent Masterpiece Mystery series. This is the first episode I have seen featuring Foyle and, while he is not my favorite detective in this series, he is definitely worth watching. The series is set during World War II and its aftermath, which presents as interesting snapshot of small British towns as they struggle through the war on the homefront. This particular episode takes place after peace is achieved, but life has not got back to normal, not yet. I think that this episode intrigued me more for the timing of the episode and the historical content than the mystery itself. I always forget that things don’t snap into place when a huge war is over, even if you are considered the victor. Food is still rationed, it is difficult to get meat and fresh fruits and vegetables, jobs are hard to come by and soldiers are struggling to adjust to being home again. I thought that these little snapshots into peoples’ lives were worth watching and interesting.
I am not sure that the mystery was as interesting as the historical context in this episode for me. There are many details of the crimes that are discussed by the villains so the viewers will know what is going on before Foyle (Michael Kitchen) and you are just kind of waiting to see how long it is going to take for Foyle to catch on to what is going on around him. I thought the characters were likeable and Foyle’s detective approach is intriguing, but not particularly exciting to watch. Perhaps it would be different if I was already emotionally invested in the characters as it appears that some of the secondary characters have been in the series for quite some time. While I was not aware of all of the backstory that was going on and the subtle nuances involved in preexisting relationships, I had no difficulty in following the plot or the ramifications of the historical context of the movie. This is a very approachable series for anyone who is interested in murder mysteries and you can leap in at any time. If you enjoy historical dramas or murder mysteries, you definitely should take the time to check out the Masterpiece Mystery series on your local PBS station on Sunday nights.
This movie features a murder mystery and the body is show briefly, as is a reenactment of the crime at the end. There are gunshots, threats, hitmen, espionage, political soapboxes, suicides, escaping POWs, lots of advice that isn’t particularly helpful and some rather depressing discussions about the war and its aftermath. While appropriate for younger viewers, this movie is recommended for ages 10 and up.