Foyle’s War (2002-2008) TV-PG
September 8th, 2008 by Maxim · No Comments · 5,031 Views
“Foyle’s War” is British TV drama series that marry history of World War II and detective mystery.
The plot: English Channel is the only thing that separates Britain from the Nazi invasion. In a small town of Hastings in the vulnerable Southern coast. While the whole Europe is at war, people of Hastings do their part in the war effort, or just try to survive, or even make a profit. WWI veteran District Superintendent Christopher Foyle (Michael Kitchen) is asked to come out of retirement to help fighting local crime in the environment of social turmoil and war propaganda. His driver Samantha Stewart (Honeysuckle Weeks) is his loyal helper.
The good: First and foremost, it’s a detective mystery series. Yes, they are set in the background of the war, but mostly it’s just a story of a detective solving crimes. Unlike in peaceful time, some of the crimes have shifted in character and motives. War profiteering was punishable by hanging, and someone had to enforce that law. Interestingly, movie asks a lot of questions, such as ”is putting petty thieves in jail a better use for them then sending them to the front line where many of them could be put to good use?”. Also, we see how the war separates heroes from the wicked and weak. We see betrayals, treason, heroism, looting, racketeering. We see jealous soldiers who come back from war only to find their loved ones killed, or their wives leaving them for someone else. We see spies and traitors turned heroes and heroes turned criminals. Michael Kitchen is great – he is an old soldier, always keeps his cool. Emotions are for young people. But his character has his own vulnerabilities. For Foyle it’s his son who is a pilot in RAF. The movie is slow-paced – the same pace you’d expect from Miss Marple or Poirot mysteries, yet it will keep your attention. Unlike other British series like aforementioned Miss Marple and Poirot, which usually have a tiny detail as a key to solving a crime, Foyle’s War mostly hinges on the human psychology and the chaos of war. The mysteries are compelling, intelligent, well plotted and there’s always a twist in the end. The “feel-good” endings will be compelling to the American audience. The atmosphere of the 40s and the countryside life is recreated very nicely.
The bad: Often dialogs are not believable, and as the result emotions of actors are not always compelling. But most importantly: not having enemy on your soil makes all the difference. Sure, there’s martial law, occasional references to bombing of London, but life in the village goes on pretty much as usual. With the whole series in that mood, it’s not surprising that in the last episode with the war is over, everybody at the police station just wonders if they should go to a bar and maybe dance. As you can imagine, the celebrations of the end of the war in London, and especially in Eastern Europe, had been more cheerful.
The summary: Interesting stories that bring out the contrast between darkness of war and the innocence of the countryside. Total of 5 seasons exist to date, released between 2002 and 2008 and covering the entire war. I watched each and every episode. It didn’t help me understand the war better in any way, but it was entertaining. A good time waster. I would have entirely missed these series if Netflix didn’t recommend them for me. They are quite clever and well acted. Michael Kitchen (Proof Of Life, The World Is Not Enough, Golden Eye) plays inspector Foyle perfectly – a man who’s trying to uphold law and order in time of war. Many other known actors like Dermot Crowley (The Legend of Bagger Vance, Babel, Octopussy, Star Wars: Episode IV – Return of the Jedi) are also cast.
See also: the book, “The Real History of Foyle’s War“.
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