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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > British > Telefilm > A State Within (BBC/Telefilm)

A State Within (BBC/Telefilm)


Picture: B     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Telefilm: B



Nothing is what it seems!  The politically fueled and adrenaline pumping miniseries A State Within just released by BBC Video is energetic and captivating.  The dramatic, action packed mini-film seems almost to be the unintentional love-child of NBC’s West Wing and Fox’s 24.  This political thriller takes audiences on a journey through the legal and not so legal global politics after a terrorist attack on American soil (a plane bombing).  The series hits close to home at times, but overall is just sensational entertainment. The miniseries is broken into 6 parts at an hour each on 2-Discs.  The storyline is complex, but not convoluted to the point of confusing.  The story follows around approximately 10 major characters in a series of different plots.  At first the plots seem autonomous, but before audiences know it they are thrown into a whirlwind of twists and turns that quickly intertwine all of the chaos.  The combination of British politics, American politics, corporate politics, and terrorism makes for a hell of a series.


Jason Isaacs (of The Patriot and the Harry Potter films) plays the British Ambassador in Washington DC, when after the sudden bombing of an airplane Isaacs finds himself literally in the middle of the wreckage as he fights to help in anyway he can.  After the initial tragedy Isaacs sets out on a political peace keeping and investigative mission, as the US government starts to take drastic measures to contain the incident.  Beyond the politics there is a slue of conspiracies, a death row inmate, a rouge military group, and much more to wet the taste buds of any action fan.


The cast is simply amazing, each contributing to the chaotic atmosphere.  Jason Isaacs is definitely the forerunner that keeps the audience intrigued, but with other such great actors as Sharon Gless as the US Secretary of Defense to add that dash of realism, the miniseries is undeniably wonderful.  This is not your normal, stuffy, British Film…No Jane Eyre here.


The technical features of this 2-Disc, 6-part DVD miniseries are very good quality.  The picture is presented in a 1.78 X 1 Anamorphic Widescreen that seems to have been shot in HD.  The picture quality is clean and crisp, with few light/dark issues.  The Sound is in a simple Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo that could have been better for a miniseries that could have used surrounds.  The 2.0 stereo, nevertheless, does ‘POP’ when necessary and has only a few instances of the sound quality being distant.  The extras are slim to none, only offering an interesting ‘Making of The State Within’ featurette that does give great insight into the casts, writers and directors feeling and intended film direction, but there cold have been more.


Overall, this reviewer highly recommends this miniseries.  The State Within is engaging, tastefully complicated, and the 6 hours of film quickly flies by making the audience beg for more.  Explosively interesting!



-   Michael P Dougherty II


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