STANDING ON GUARD

for peace … for freedom … for Canada

Falcon

Release Year:         2013
Studio:         Acorn Media
Format:         Colour; NTSC; Widescreen
Rated:         Not Rated
# of Discs/Episodes:         2 / 2
Running Time:         179 Minutes Plus Bonus
DVD Release Date:         July 2, 2013
Screenwriters:         Stephen Butchard, Sarah Phelps
Directors:         Pete Travis, Gabriel Range
Actors:         Marton Csokas, Emilia Fox, Hayley Atwell, Santiago Cabrera, Charlie Creed-Miles
DVD Features:          SDH subtitles
E:Top Picks Rating:         8/10

Acorn Media Write-up:
Inspector Jefe Javier Falcon (Marton Csokas, The Lord of the Rings) prowls Seville’s serpentine alleys to uncover the malice lurking in the magnificent city. A smart, intuitive detective, Falcon exposes hard truths and corruption—even when it costs him dearly. This cinematic British production leverages the seductive beauty and sinister undercurrent of its setting to craft compelling characters and complex, haunting mysteries.

In these two feature-length thrillers—The Blind Man of Seville and The Silent and the Damned—Falcon investigates a murder connected to his father’s murky past and the apparent suicide of a businessman whose former misdeeds impact the present. Falcon also contends with his attraction to a glamorous widow (Hayley Atwell, The Duchess, Captain America) and simmering tensions with his ex-wife, Ines (Emilia Fox, The Pianist), and her handsome, high-flying lover, Judge Esteban Calderon (Santiago Cabrera, Heroes).

Also starring Charlie Creed-Miles (Injustice) and Kerry Foxx (Cloudstreet), with guest stars including Bernard Hill (The Lord of the  Rings),  Robert Lindsay (G.B.H.), Bill Paterson (Traffik), and Rosie Perez (It Could Happen to You).

BONUS
The Blind Man of Seville: Behind the Scenes (17 min.), Javier Falcon: Behind the Man (6 min.), Falcon’s Seville with Robert Wilson (9 min.), and photo galleries

Jon Ted Wynne Review:
There are so many detective/cop shows in the market today that it is becoming increasingly difficult to come up with new material. Wisely, many producers are looking to literary sources to augment the genre.

What FALCON has going for it is its fresh, exciting, exotic and fascinating locale. Seville, Spain is the perfect setting for a new take on an old idea. Add to the appeal of the new backdrop the fact that predominantly English actors are playing Spaniards, and you have an even more unique scenario.

FALCON has its critics for this very reason, with many dissenters expressing the view that it should be done by Spanish actors. Perhaps they miss the point that FALCON is very much a Spanish-flavoured program seen through the eyes of an Englishman. Author Robert Wilson comes by his fascination with Spain and, specifically, Seville, honestly, having traveled there and experienced all that a young, adventurous cyclist is bound to encounter when he journeyed there in the mid-eighties. Wilson tells this story in one of the excellent bonus features that are included in this two disc set.

Wilson’s exploration of the dark side of Seville is mostly successful as the film captures the grittiness that stands in stark contrast to the local colour and ritual that features in the first episode which is set during Holy Week and the Febria de Abril, when processions of the sacred Virgin on flower-laden floats are seen throughout the city accompanied by rows of people in dark robes and hoods (frighteningly similar to the Ku Klux Klan).

Unfortunately not all of Spain’s culture is as beautiful. A bull fight features prominently in the first episode, and although it was not staged for the film, shots were taken of real bull fights with all their ritual torture. Fortunately we are spared the killing of the bull. To say more would be a spoiler.

The character of Falcon himself is deeply troubled, with many hang-ups. Of course he is a brilliant detective (there would be no story without that characteristic). But the combination of personal angst and professional accomplishment is hardly new. Though brilliantly portrayed by Marton Csokas, FALCON can’t quite seem to shake some of the clichés of the detective genre in its pursuit of a fresh perspective. Were it not for Seville and all its variety, we’d be in awfully familiar territory.

Whether the change of scenery is enough to warrant viewer commitment (only two of the four FALCON novels were adapted here) remains to be seen. Though the mysteries are stand alone, there is still an overall story arc that will only be explored if and when the remaining two novels are adapted.

FALCON is not without interest and, though quite graphic and with lots of unnecessarily vulgar coarse language, should be completed before passing final judgment. Tortured he may be, but will he manage to overcome his demons?

[Top]