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Tag: Thomas Townend

QuickView: Salting the Battlefield (2014)

“It’s one thing to go around saying what you want. The test comes when you are actually given the chance to get it. When they wanted to get rid of Margaret Thatcher, John Major got toothache so he didn’t have to answer his phone. A week later he was prime minister.”

Jill Tankard

If Turks & Caicos was Worricker treading (Caribbean) water, Salting the Battlefield moves at full pace as he and Margot are on the run in Germany before returning to the UK to confront their hunters. This provides a far stronger backdrop for the trilogy’s political machinations. Ralph Fiennes’ prime minister always provided the most compelling adversary to Worricker, aided by his zealous personal conviction — Hare’s script draws clear parallels with Tony Blair’s ambitions as a statesman. In contrast to the earlier films, Nighy’s charm deliberately slips as Worricker finds himself on the warpath and often outmanoeuvred. The story’s conclusion is not entirely predictable despite leaning into a number of tropes, though ultimately it feels more satisfying if you view the Worricker trilogy as a character study of its protagonist rather than focusing on the overarching narrative.


Worricker trilogy: Page Eight | Turks & Caicos | Salting the Battlefield

QuickView: Turks & Caicos (2014)

“Nowadays, people will go anywhere to avoid paying tax. A quick visit to Lichtenstein, Monaco, maybe Jersey; empty the vaults of private wealth, and you could write off the world’s debt.”

Curtis Pelissier

Following the events of Page Eight, former intelligence analyst Johnny Worricker has his quiet life of self-imposed exile in the Caribbean disturbed when he is recognised by a visitor to the islands. The tropical location may at first give the impression of a bigger budget globetrotting adventure, but the stage remains small, confined almost entirely to the Turks & Caicos Islands. In his desire to keep his head down and protect himself through friendships with the locals, Nighy’s charming Worricker has more in common with Rick in Casablanca than with Bond. The plot is a poorly paced follow-the-money affair in which Worricker finds himself aiding the CIA out of self-interest, none of which is as compelling as the whistleblowing story of Page Eight. Hare throws in pithy analysis of global fianance and politics, but it feels scattershot. Bill Nighy carries the film but it again attracts a strong supporting cast, even if the choice of Christopher Walken will leave some bemused.


Worricker trilogy: Page Eight | Turks & Caicos | Salting the Battlefield

QuickView: You Were Never Really Here (2017)

“If she’s there, I’ll get her back.”


A refreshingly different take on the hired killer movie that stands in stark contrast to the slick professionalism of John Wick, Joe is capable but plagued by the trauma of his work and his past. Joaquin Phoenix is a deliberate and slow-moving burly mass (physically the antithesis of his emaciated Joker) wielding a brutal hammer (think OldBoy). That I couldn’t decide how I felt about You Were Never Really Here whilst watching it is a testament to Lynne Ramsay’s skill at subjective filmmaking — everything is experienced from Joe’s perspective. In particular, this lends itself to a powerful depiction of trauma, bleeding into reality in short bursts of debilitating intrusive thoughts rather than the pop culture staples of narrative flashback or violent outburst. Moments of quiet, ethereal beauty feel equally appropriate. The film ventures into dark territory of child trafficking at the hands of political elite but, although Joe gets embroiled in this intrigue, there is no thriller-like mystery to unravel. Comparisons with Taxi Driver are warranted, particularly in the exploration of social isolation, although Ramsay’s focus is narrower, pared back to the essentials with a running time of under 90 minutes.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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