would benefit from keeping America out of the war in Europe? It is a question that will preoccupy a former
British secret agent all her life. She
was supposed to be set-up in a manner that would badly discredit the British
intelligence community with the American public. She was also supposed to be dead. However, the Russian exile has more lives
than a cat in the Sundance Channel’s two part mini-series adaption of William
Boyd’s Restless (promo here), which kicks off
this Friday night.
professional Cambridge student Ruth Gilmartin pays a visit to her mother’s
country home, she finds the woman in the throes of paranoia, or so she presumes. Sally Gilmartin claims there are people watching
the house from the surrounding tree-line.
It all has something to do with her service as a spy during WWII. At the time, she went by her real name, Eva
Delectorskya. Initially, this is all too
much for Gilmartin to accept, but the site of a shadowy figure in the woods
gives her pause. Reading her mother’s
file, she gets the gist of the story viewers see in periodic flashbacks.
former Russian aristocrat, Delectorskya is recruited by British intelligence in
France after her brother is murdered by Fascist thugs. Lucas Romer will be her handler. Although he is not inclined towards any sort
of emotional involvement, sparks will eventually fly between them. Delectorskya turns out to be a natural agent,
but her missions are often rather dodgy.
Yet, somehow disaster always turns into success, at least within the agency
to New York, they both assume roles at a dubious wire service that specializes
in releasing disinformation to mislead the Germans. From time to time, a little field work is required
to plant an especially sensitive story.
Delectorskya assumed that was all she was doing when she accepts her
fateful assignment to Albuquerque.
Unfortunately, she soon discovers someone at the agency sold her out. The consequences of that ill-fated mission
will linger for decades.
more can you ask of a miniseries that gives you Charlotte Rampling buying a
shotgun? She plays
Delectorskya/Gilmartin like the strong, intelligent woman she would have to
Abbey’s Michelle Dockery also looks the part of her daughter, but her
shocked incredulity goes on far too long.
In fact, the first installment does not lack for exposition, but the
second part pays off with interest.
the elements are all in place, Restless becomes
quite a rich feast of skullduggery, helmed with a fair degree of style by
Edward Hall. As young and old Romer
respectively, Rufus Sewell and Michael Gambon might not exactly be the spitting
image of each other, but they are definitely at home with the murky
intrigue. A strong ensemble from top to
bottom, character actor Adrian Scarborough makes a particularly strong impression
as Delectorskya’s ally, Morris Devereux.
However, as the resilient young Delectorskya, Hayley Atwell is a bit
pedestrian, lacking the Mata Hari allure one would expect from her. Still, she becomes Charlotte Rampling, which
Boyd’s screen adaptation of his own novel is smart and tense down the stretch,
his nondescript title never seems particular apt, but no matter. Restless is a quality period production
long on atmosphere that should
satisfy for regular viewers of Masterpiece
Mystery and BBC America’s mystery-thrillers. Recommended for fans of
British television and espionage junkies, Restless
begins this Friday (12/7) on the Sundance Channel and concludes one week
Labels: Charlotte Rampling, Michael Gambon, Rufus Sewell, Spy dramas, Sundance Channel, William Boyd