Set in the the early 90s, the fabulous Andrea Riseborough is ‘Collette’, an IRA terrorist who leaves a bomb on the London underground. Only she doesn’t set the timer and is caught by MI5. Still hating the British for the murder of her little brother 20 years earlier, she is desperately seeking a way out to protect her young son, and is recruited by MI5’s ‘Mac’ (Clive Owen) to spy on her two brothers who have committed a number of sectarian killings in Northern Ireland. However, Mac is not sure that he can trust his boss Fletcher (Gillian Anderson) and the IRA soon suspect a traitor in their midst.
Adapted by Tom Bradby from his own novel, and directed unfussily by James Marsh (who made the amazinig documentary ‘Man on Wire’) this BBC film is about grit – not glamour, car chases and explosions – in a similar way to ‘Tinker, Taylor, Soldier Spy’ and ‘Fifty Dead Men Walking‘. The performances were universally terrific, and Andrea Riseborough – the female equivalent of Michael Sheen – notches up another first class role, even Clive Owen (who I personally often find a bit wooden) was great – this was compelling, adult story telling.
One thing though: I was walking back home after the film, when I suddenly realised that the film’s ending wasn’t what I had thought it was!
For those of you in the USA, I don’t think it has a release date yet, but if you like your thrillers intelligent, real and gloss free – look out for it.