Starring Michael Gambon and Lindsay Duncan.
Directed by Stephen Poliakoff
The best video I've seen in
A hauntingly magical television Drama
A young man comes face to face with his large family - and they
all have secrets from the past...
Perfect Strangers, Stephen Poliakoff's TV drama, depicts an
upper-class English family where distrust, dysfunction and despair
are guests at the party. "As you know, in all families,
things happen", says the cool Lindsay Duncan. That's the
premise: things happen, some of them nasty. The family, once
"mini-Rothchilds" and still "drowning in
money", are gathered together in an opulent hotel for a grand
reunion; the only thing wrong with the idea is that many of them
are perfect strangers and the event begins to look more like a
conference than an event with heart. Into the blend of well-heeled
guests comes the Hillingdon contingent led by Raymond (Michael
Gambon), the black ram of the family. His son, Daniel, is a
surveyor and true to his profession sets about assessing the fault
lines running through the family. Underlying it all is a sense of
unease so that even pleasantries come across as deeply unpleasant.
Raymond warns us that: "Everybody always lies".
Drama arises from the emergence of truth and buried bits of the
past, as old photographs are screened to family members provoking
curiosity about what lies behind the images. Scratch a surface and
everywhere there's pain and mystery. Filmed in lavish London
settings where everything is clean and sleek, Perfect Strangers
makes for slick visual entertainment. Although the dialogue is
stilted and at times surreal, the music by Adrian Johnston cannot
Matthew MacFadyen shines as Daniel, once again showing his talent
as a gifted classical actor. Michael Gambon and Lindsey Duncan are
both well-cast also. I watched the whole four hours in one sitting
and was sad when the story ended! Stephen really has a knack of
story-telling, keeping it simple yet intriguing, serious yet with
humour at the right times.
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