Sunday, 29 April 2012

Public Enemies

Originally broadcast in January of this year on BBC One, the three part series which was transmitted on consecutive evenings was created by Tony Marchant, and starred Anna Friel (back from Hollywood) and the underrated Daniel Mays.

The story revolves around two people who are off the rails who are attempting to get back on track.  Probation officer, Paula Radnor (Friel) has an assailant under her supervision but who on release murders a young woman.  Under great scrutiny, Paula is suspended and pleads, 'as much as you want to, you can't hold their hand 24 hours a day.'

Three months later, she is given the case of Eddie Mottram (Mays) who is out 10 years after strangling his girlfriend , 'I am out, but I'm not free'.

The writer Marchant, has a penchant for writing gritty, hard-edged material that does make you realise you have not got it as bad as you might think.

The episodes have a real zip to them, conveying a lot of information without succumbing to needless histrionics. This is thanks in part to the formidable acting display by Mays, who is slowly coming to national prominence after being under the radar for so long.  Friel does what she can with a role that could have been unlikeable, and one written where she should not garner such sympathies, yet Friel is adept at being strong when her character is weak or put upon.

A really gripping and sustainable piece of British drama that is a competent mixture of acting, writing and befitting of the current social climate.

Public Enemies is released by BBC Films on DVD on Monday 30th April, and distributed by Arrow Films

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