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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Christopher Eccleston at BAFTA on April 12

Christopher Eccleston, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Stephen Rea are starring in a new BBC Two thriller called The Shadow Line (no air date has been announced yet), and it sounds really intriguing:

The Shadow Line is a sophisticated conspiracy thriller that brings to life a cinematic world of blurred morality and the conflicted characters who inhabit it. When police officers discover the body of a man, shot at close range, they soon realise the victim is Harvey Wratten, head of one of the UK’s largest crime organisations. Having served two years of an 18-year sentence for his part in importing £11m worth of heroin into the country, Wratten had only just been released from jail under the very rarely obtained royal pardon.

Assigned to investigate Wratten’s death is Detective Inspector Jonah Gabriel (Chiwetel Ejiofor), in his first case since being shot during a botched police operation that left his partner dead. He has amnesia, caused by the bullet still lodged in his brain, which leaves him doubtful of his own moral compass and his colleagues regard him with suspicion. Gabriel has to follow an increasingly complicated line of investigation, all the while wondering whether he can trust anyone, not least, himself.

On the other side of the line is Joseph Bede (Christopher Eccleston), an associate of Wratten’s, who has built up a legitimate fruit and flower business during Harvey’s time in prison. Now, driven by a profound personal tragedy, Joseph finds himself planning one last deal: a massive drugs operation that he is desperate to see through, so he can retire and step out of the business for ever.

As Gabriel begins to unravel the threads around Wratten’s organisation, the web of intrigue becomes more complex – and the line that divides the players becomes increasingly blurred.

The best bit? The first episode of this seven-parter will debut at a screening on Tuesday, April 12, at BAFTA’s Princess Anne Theatre in Piccadilly, with a Q&A to follow with Eccleston and writer-director Hugo Blick. Tickets are cheap — £7.50! — and available through BAFTA.

I’m gonna try to attend, and if I do, I’ll of course report afterward.



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