Friday, December 05, 2008

The Devil's Whore - TV reviewing belatedly arrives

Isn't The Devil's Whore just brilliant? I mean, everything about it is just brilliant: the costumes, the history, the narrative... yes, yes, I know it isn't (exactly, remotely) what really happened, but it FEELS right.*

I sometimes think that with historical dramas that what you're after is something that feels right even if it may not BE right: the sense of doing more than just conforming to our expectations and errors of history whilst hitting the nail of conviction.

Maxine Peake once again proves herself an incredibly adept actress, far more than just the comedic turn she started out being in the public imagination, whilst Riseborough continues to impress as a relative newcomer. And as for John Simm... it's a fabulous turn as Sexby. In fact, even allowing for the occasional dodginess of Dominic West's accent as Cromwell (Cambridge via... wherever) it feels damn accurate to the recorded dialogue and tone of the times even when it takes obvious dramatic licence.

I'm also pretty damn pleased that the series is 4 parts - not because I don't want more but because it means we get to see it all before we won't be able to watch any more UK TV for a while.

DVD release in the New Year anyone? I'd happily rewatch this again...

* Rather like anecdotes that you probably suspect are apocryphal but they just seem so true to the person!

6 comments:

Jane Henry said...

I think the reason it feels right Lisa is because unlike the risible Tudors they've tried to keep to the spirit of the times. I know Angelica didn't exist, but all the rest of them did, and I think the series has captured brilliantly the horrors and ambiguities of the Civil War. It's a long long time since I studied it, but this does feel pretty right to me.
And John Simm is just FABULOUS!!!
(Actually I am cheating here because I've only seen episode 1, episode 2 I missed, episode 3 I've videoed but on account of having the busiest week of my entire life I've not had a chance to watch it yet...)

Persephone said...

John Simm's character is named Sexby? Seriously?

Jane Henry said...

Yes and Sexby existed, Persephone. He was a soldier who changed fortunes in the war, and felt that Cromwell sold out. (And he'd have been right). John Simms portrays him as a man simmering with rage and brimful of sexual tension. Ooh he's marvellous! (and this I only have from one episode).

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Yes, I will second just how fabulous JS is in this: he plays a character who you can't help but feel for pretty much from the start. Yes, he's a mercenary; yes, he's scarred across his face from battles fought; yes, he changes sides; yes, he is willful and prone to seriously nasty behaviour - but as he interacts with the fictional character of Angelica he is also utterly smitten -- and we all know how well JS can play simmeringly smitten. He's a wrong 'un, but he knows it and he wishes it were different. He's a cynic and it hurts.

Also on a less admiring-JS-note, I also agree about the portrayal of the ambiguities of the period and the people and their actions. Having been to the Levellers Day events in Burford, its a tart reminder of how complex the politics and activities of the period actually were. Very few people come out of it well.

googlegoogle said...

what is the soundtrack of this series, it is amazing and i cant find it anywhere :D

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