9/26/2008

Mobile

Acorn Media releases a brilliant thriller
sure to make you feel less guilty
about screening your calls.




Digg!

Winner of a Silver World Medal at New York Festivals International Television Broadcasting Awards in 2008, this original miniseries made for British television was a hit in its initial UK debut on ITV. Exploding onto DVD on October 7 from Acorn Media, director Stuart Orme and screenwriter John Fay’s high-concept, brilliant, nail-biting thriller Mobile is transferred from its original three-part version into four riveting episodes, running approximately fifty minutes each.

Stellar production value shines through in its widescreen transfer and while it features closed captioning for the hearing impaired along with cast filmographies of some of its widely known British stars, above all the feature itself is the main draw of this two disc set. A high tech conspiracy thriller that offers more mysterious layers to peel away than the world’s biggest onion with each successive episode, its cellular phone-centric plot makes it a great incidental tie-in with the release of director D.J. Caruso’s unrelated but similarly themed action film, Eagle Eye.

In Mobile, we journey along with a team of police officers across England as they struggle to stop an increasingly dangerous and boldly audacious murderer who has been blowing up mobile towers and shooting cell phone users at random. With seemingly no visible pattern other than a certain preference for the customers and towers associated with the all-powerful mobile executive and conglomerate James Corson (Keith Allen), soon we wonder if the events are somehow tied in with a high-profile merger that’s been overwhelming the news headlines.

And soon we become acquainted with the various pieces to the wickedly clever cinematic puzzle and meet some of the major players involved. Whether the individuals should be labeled as heroes or villains changes from one moment to the next as each episode offers an entirely different point of view, thus dangling mere glimpses in front of the viewers of the much bigger picture via its kaleidoscopic set-up.

Initially swayed by the belief that the perpetrator is attempting to make a statement that cell phones and the technology of the modern era are inventions of the devil, we’re confronted with blood-red paint splattered messages left at crime scenes and cell phones that receive incoming calls from “Beelzebub” just before exploding into smithereens. However, soon, predictably, we’re led down the second of several more paths, beginning to fear that possibly the Beelzebub shenanigans are merely a red herring for something much bigger, designed to throw police off one or more suspects hiding in plain sight.

In the first episode, we’re introduced to Eddie Doig (Neil Fitzmaurice), an angry, embittered engineer with only three months left to live as the victim of a brain tumor most likely caused by the cell phone industry. And, as a man prone to blackouts and quick to fits of rage, Doig appears to be the ultimate man with a motive. Yet, could it possibly be that simple? Rules of mysteries seem to dictate a resounding “no,” and with three remaining episodes to digest, we begin mulling over other information and characters, wondering just how an equally enraged, widowed Iraq veteran turned policeman (Jamie Draven), and an old betrayed mobile executive colleague of Corson’s (played by Michael Kitchen) fits into the tale. And just who exactly is this James Corson anyway? As the first three episodes deal primarily with the build-up, everything collides into a riveting, unpredictable finale as past secrets, scandals, cover-ups, fateful encounters, tragic circumstances, and unlikely alliances come to light.

While Mobile’s structurally challenging narrative jumps around chronologically and hooks us into several points of view making us rethink everything that’s come before, it does demand a great deal of intellectual participation from its viewer. Yet thankfully, due to this incredible DVD set, we’ll have the opportunity to rewind, further evaluate, and skip to various parts I just know you’ll want to see again to believe. Another highly recommended, superlative miniseries from Acorn Media, fans of the James Bond films, will especially get a kick out of an excellent supporting turn by Samantha Bond, who played Miss Moneypenny to Pierce Brosnan’s 007.