Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Inside Men: Dramaville Goes Noir
matter. A cash-processing depot manager
is put through the wringer by his superiors for the occasional irregularity in
his accounts, but if an armed robber sticks a gun in his face, they will grant
him time-off and provide counseling. If
he is ever going to steal from the apparently impenetrable Larson House, he
ought to do it in a big way. That is
pretty much his plan in the four-part Inside Men (promo
premieres this Wednesday on BBC America’s Dramaville
unassuming John Coniston is like a Bob Cratchit, promoted to management. He is keenly aware neither his boss nor his
subordinates respect him. When viewers
first meet Coniston, he is having a bad day.
Masked gunmen are forcing him to open the vault, while an accomplice
holds his wife and newly adopted daughter hostage. However, there is more to this story, as the
series title ought to indicate.
Coniston is in on it, but there are complications he never anticipated. Having caught his chief security guard Chris
Lebden and loading dock worker Marcus Riley skimming mere tens of thousands off
the top, he recruits them for a far more ambitious take: the lot of it.
flashing forward and backwards between the September heist and the planning
stages six months earlier, Inside Men requires
fairly close viewer attention. While
there is plenty of skullduggery afoot, it is really more of a dark character
study. Writer Tony Basgallop and
director James Kent show us step by step how it all goes down, twisting viewer
assumptions here and there along the way.
deceptively bland Coniston is clearly the key piece to the conspiracy. Steven Mackintosh convincingly sells his burgeoning
empowerment as a criminal mastermind. Indeed,
some of his best scenes involve the grudgingly respectful relationship he forges
with Kalpesh, the purveyor of criminal support services reluctantly brought
into the scheme. Though his character
arc is quite intriguing, it is still hard to believe Coniston would put his
family through such trauma, despite the safeguards he puts in place.
Riley, fellow Luther alumnus Warren
Brown makes a credible enough good-time knucklehead, while emerging UK TV star
Ashley Walters is appropriately intense as the conflicted Lebden. However, the most invigorating supporting
turn might come from Irfan Hussein, playing Kalpesh with icy flair.
Inside Men could well be
too cold-blooded and intricately pieced together for fans of cozier British
mystery television. Unabashedly
naturalistic in its depiction of human nature, it definitely follows in the
tradition of more fatalistic film noir. Even
though it ends on a bit of a flat note, it is smart television, keeping a fair
amount of surprises in store for engaged audiences. Recommended for those who enjoy a dark
criminal yarn, Inside Men begins this
Wednesday (6/20) and concludes July 18th (skipping the Independence
Day), on BBC America.
Labels: BBC America, Inside Men