The Diplomat (aka False
Witness/2009/TV Mini-Series/Vivendi Blu-ray w/DVD)
Sound: B-/C+ Extras: D Episodes: C+
An attempt to pull off a spy mini-series similar to such
British mini-series of the past, The
Diplomat (2009, aka False Witness)
is a modern Australian/British answer to such shows, especially with the other
slick spy entertainment around. The
story centers around the title character (Dougray Scott) accused of being in
cahoots with Russian gangsters and threats against his professor/wife (Claire
Forlani) bring more official involvement.
Then it comes down to trying to figure out what is really going on.
The action is limited, the supporting cast (including
Rachel Blake, Richard Roxbury and Shane Bryant) is not bad and the script goes
for long-term involvement, but Director Peter Andrikidis just cannot overcome
the teleplay and we get too many clichés and too much formula making it
overproduced and underthought. It was
meant as an event, but it does not end up becoming what it could have. Still, at least it is not oversimple, so it
is not a total loss.
You would usually expect this kind of title from Acorn or
BBC, but is being issued by Vivendi and is an interesting attempt to do such a
production. It does not always work, but
at least they tried.
The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image was shot in
High Definition and with some mixed results.
It does not help that it has a slick editing style and degraded images
here and there is included, but this has only the occasionally impressive shot
for Blu-ray. The anamorphically enhanced
DVD included also has these issues, but is softer and both versions have some
motion blur. The DTS-HD Master Audio
(MA) lossless 5.1 track is also limited and not only lacks soundfield, but is
more towards the front channels than it ought to be. This Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the DVD is
weaker still. There are no extras.
- Nicholas Sheffo