Based on the book by Julian Barnes.
Version: 2015; starring Martin Clunes; Hattie Morahan; Michael Gregson
Genre: mystery; period drama; biographical
Plot Summary: George Edalji is the son of a respectable vicar from India, under suspicion of murder. Sir Arthur is a famous mystery writer grieving the death of his wife. The two are fatefully connected and the latter takes it upon himself to clear Edalji’s name so he and his family can live in peace. But things are not so clear cut and simple as they seemed at the beginning. The details of the case get weirder and weirder, and the body count rises. Can Arthur Doyle solve the mystery in time, or is George really guilty of the crimes?
My Review: Disclaimer*: I have not read the original book, so this review will not be comparing it to that novel. Only as a story in and of itself, totally unrelated to the book.
I’d been seeing the book at the library lately, and was itching to watch something other than Downton Abbey on PBS, so I gave this movie a shot. I’m so glad I did!
Atmosphere, suspense, historical period setting—all the ingredients for the perfect mystery are present in this Masterpiece film! Everything from creepy music, tweed suits, Clunes’ Scottish accent, the glow of candles, and the crunch of autumn leaves contributed to the mysterious atmosphere that pervaded throughout all three episodes of the story. It kept my attention well, and although I had to rewind to catch certain details and may not have followed the plot/motives entirely, I still highly enjoyed watching it. I’m not sure how much was based on actual truth or if it was pure fiction, but I found the actors believable, and Martin Clunes especially so in the role of Dr. Doyle.
During the course of the story, we discover that Sir Arthur is filled with remorse over the fact that he had an admiration for another woman while his wife was still living. I appreciated this element. Later, Doyle pursues a relationship with the woman he loves, and when accusations are thrown against it, he insists he had never used her as his mistress. The rest of the film is pretty clean, except for perhaps mild swearing, some unsightly animal killings and a rather gruesome death at the end. Probably the most unsettling is the pervading sense of unease throughout, which I found to be quite fun!
If you’re in the mood for a spooky-strange mystery, I’m sure you will enjoy this Victorian-era flick!