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November 29, 2011
Review - " Page Eight "  -  (on DVD) By Roland Hansen
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Page Eight
Directed by: David Hare
Starring: Bill Nighy, Ewen Bremner, Felicity Jones, Judy Davis, Michael
Gambon, Rachel Weisz, Ralph Fiennes

Page Eight may be about the world where politics and security are
inextricably intwined but the strengths of the film lie in the electric
back-and-forth scenes of dialogue littered with just as much humour as
tension. It's not exactly a satire per se but more a case of being savvy to the
ins and outs of politics and drawing sardonic laughs from it.

Page Eight follows Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy), a long serving information
analyser for MI5 who one day is given a document from his oldest friend,
and now superior, Baron (Michael Gambon), the contents of which have
particularly serious ramifications if the information is true. The particularly
damaging piece of info is located on the titular page eight of the document,
at the bottom of which is a statement which asserts  (possible SPOILER
ahead) that the British Government - namely the Prime Minister himself - had
known about various incidences and locations of torture camps set up by the
American government.

What makes Page Eight work so well, alongside the spectacularly well written
dialogue which makes up those aforementioned back-and-forth scenes, is
Bill Nighy. Always a joy to watch whether he's doing comedy or drama
(sometimes both, as is the case here), Nighy is perfectly cast as the quietly
charismatic and sympathetic Johnny
who is our link to this secretive,
complex world of politics and national

The film only hints at the larger picture
of what the implications of this crucial
document are, and perhaps a broader
scope could have made this a truly
important film about the current
political situation in both the UK and
US. But instead - and this was
probably the right route to take in
order to make it overall more enjoyable
- it chooses to tell a more intimate tale
with a well observed character study at
its centre.

The film has great supporting
performances from the likes of Rachel
Weisz as Nighy's neighbour, Nancy,
who is desperate to find out the truth
about her brother's death; Ralph
Fiennes as the snake-like Prime
Minister; Michael Gambon as the man
who sets all this chaos in motion; and
Felicity Jones as Nighy's disillusioned
artist daughter rebelling against the
world as a result of her father being
absent when she was growing up. An
unusual but somehow perfect cast for
this type of film.

Mixing true-to-life and often black
humour with a skillfully crafted feeling
of quiet suspense, Page Eight is an
impressively low-key film about
complex issues both intimate and
world-reaching. This is an impressive
effort indeed, especially considering
this is David Hare's first film in over two
decades which he both wrote and
directed. He clearly hasn't lost his