DVD: National Treasure (2016)
If ever there was the perfect time for a programme like National Treasure it’s right now. As I write (Oct 2016) Donald Trump has been vilified for his misogynistic treatment of women (Pussygate) and Welsh footballer Ched Evans, convicted of rape and released after 2 year in prison, only last week had his sentence quashed and under a retrial was found innocent because, essentially the court insinuated that it was unlikely that ‘some women’ can be raped. What has this got to do with National Treasure? Everything.
Based on Operation Yewtree and boasting a fantastic British cast including Robbie Coltrane, Tim McInnerny, Julie Walters and Andrea Riseborough, along with a script by Jack Thorne, this show is of its time, it also smacks strongly of ‘Righteousness TV’ where the series is clearly intended as an ‘Important Piece of Television’.
Coltrane plays Paul Finchley, once part of a comedy double act, who is anxious about being past his sell-by date, especially as his partner (McInnerny) is now an award winning straight actor. He’s portrayed as a ‘real man’, he frets, he spends time with his grandkids and when everyone’s in bed, watched porn, oh and his wife knows all about his numerous affairs over the years.
The acting is of course first class, the particular standout being Julie Walters. Not really a long suffering wife, but there is a sense of, she stays because … well what else would she do? And her angst at her philandering husband and religious fervor is all sheen for the neighbours. It was quite strange watching Mrs Weasley and Hagrid (a reference for you fellow Potter fans) in serious mode, and Coltrane did a fine job of keeping you guessing if he really is a sexual predator, a rapist.
Unfortunately there is a lot of faffing about in the series, and it’s not as hard hitting as it could have been. There are no real surprises, and despite it’s masterclass in acting, the story itself is rather ….safe. What could have been a genuine piece of important TV, concentrating a little more on how women are treated in situations like this, is missed. But that is not surprising considering last week’s event, where in my opinion, women’s rights were taken back 50 years.
National Treasure will be available to buy from October 31st, 2016.