Mideast drama worth the ef­fort

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ARTS - By Brad Oswald / Watch­ing TV

YOU can­not es­cape your past. And no one is ex­actly who and what he or she ap­pears to be. Th­ese are the two most ur­gent mes­sages in The Hon­ourable Woman, a metic­u­lously crafted eight-part po­lit­i­cal pot­boiler that has its Cana­dian première Mon­day at 9 p.m. on CBC. And what’s in­ter­est­ing is that while the lessons it of­fers about hu­man na­ture are rather pointed, the sto­ry­line in which they’re car­ried un­folds with lit­tle ur­gency. That isn’t to say that The Hon­ourable Woman lacks sus­pense or thrilling, jaw-drop-in­duc­ing mo­ments; it does. But the over­all pac­ing of this Brit-im­port drama is quite re­served, which cre­ates for view­ers an odd com­bi­na­tion of sit-back-and-re­lax im­mer­sion and edge-of-the-seat stress. The Hon­ourable Woman in ques­tion is Nessa Stein (played by a flaw­lessly English-ac­cented Mag­gie Gyl­len­haal), the grown daugh­ter of an An­glo-Is­raeli arms dealer who was as­sas­si­nated right in front of her when she was a child. Three decades later, she is a woman of sub­stance in Bri­tish so­ci­ety — she has just been ap­pointed to the House of Lords, a tes­ta­ment to the in­flu­ence she has had on for­eign re­la­tions as head of the fam­ily business. She has trans­formed the multi­na­tional cor­po­ra­tion; in­stead of weapons, it deals in in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy and, un­der Nessa’s lead­er­ship, its fo­cus has be­come the in­stal­la­tion of high-tech cable and wire­less net­works through­out Is­rael and the West Bank. Ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion, she de­clares in a speech, is one of the key de­ter­rents to ter­ror­ism. Out­wardly, Nessa is the pic­ture of con­fi­dence and de­ter­mi­na­tion; we be­gin to see, how­ever, through a se­ries of flash­backs that of­fer glimpses of sev­eral ear­lier chap­ters of her life, that the cool­ness with which she com­ports her­self is prob­a­bly noth­ing more than a well-re­hearsed act.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.