Turks & Caicos, BBC2, Bill Nighy, Helena Bonham Carter, Christopher Walken, Winona Ryder PREVIEW

Winona Ryder and Bill Nighy in Turks & Caicos. Pics: BBC

Rating: ★★★½

BBC2: Thursday, 20 March, 9pm

Story: Johnny Worricker is hiding out from MI5 in the West Indies, but an encounter with a CIA agent forces him into the company of some dubious American businessmen, as well as high-powered financial PR Melane Fall.

THIS IS the second of David Hare’s three films about the ex-intelligence agent Johnny Worricker, and it’s got an even starrier cast than the first, 2011’s Page Eight.

Perhaps Christopher Walken, Winona Ryder and Helena Bonham Carter were attracted by a shooting schedule in the Turks & Caicos Islands, the lush Caribbean setting for all manner of corruption in this thriller.

Or as Winona Ryder’s drunken, damaged PR woman Melanie Fall calls it, ‘That shitty little tax dodge

Christopher Walken

island.’ It is, of course, known as a offshore financial centre, and serves as a backdrop to the moral duplicity of the bankers and corporations who run our affairs.

Billy Nighy and Christopher Walken

But no doubt the cast were also attracted by Hare’s rich dialogue. Bill Nighy returns as the suave Worricker, now on the run from MI5 having displeased Prime Minister Ralph Fiennes in Page Eight. Turks & Caicos is his secret hideaway – until he is approached by a mysterious American, Curtis Pelissier, and his cover is blown.

If you need a mysterious American, Christopher Walken is the go-to guy. He livens things up by ruffling Johnny’s calmness, and then inviting him to an evening drink, where Johnny meets some shady New Jersey types and their PR woman, Melanie.

One of the businessmen turns up dead the next day, and Johnny, Curtis and Melanie are pitched into a

Rupert Graves and Bill Nighy

very dangerous intrigue that could see high-level people exposed as criminals. This is all while a big international gathering is arriving on the island of businessmen and politicians – including Johnny’s ex Margot (Helena Bonham Carter) and her shady boss, played by Rupert Graves.

Suspense without shootouts and corpses

What I felt about Turks & Caicos is that while it takes a decent shot at the machinations of international power elites, it lacks real anger at the fall-out from how governments and corporations misbehave. This is the elite end of the corruption – all very luxurious and almost seductive.

While there is tension, the film also has little feeling of danger to it. Johnny is too laid back to even break a sweat as the peril increases.

However, the dialogue is wry and the production wonderful to ogle at, while these star actors make

Helena Bonham Carter

their characters interesting and intriguing. Sir David Hare recently criticised the high body counts in crime/thriller TV and films, including the Scandinavian shows, and has said he wanted to restore some suspense in this trilogy without all the guns. The result is wordy but still enjoyable to watch.

Final part of the Worricker trilogy

Salting the Battlefield is the third film and will follow in a couple of weeks. Having shown the first part in 2011 it seems a little odd that the next two have been rushed out together two years down the line.

Is it my imagination or has the BBC been a little lacklustre in its support for Hare’s trilogy? It seems as though there has been little hoopla about what are prestigious productions with knockout casts.

Even Death in Paradise gets more of a fanfare.

Cast: Bill Nighy Johnny Worricker, Helena Bonham Carter Margot Tyrell, Rupert Graves Stirling Rogers, Winona Ryder Melanie Fall, Christopher Walken Curtis Pelissier, Dylan Baker Gary Bethwaite, Meredith Eaton Clare Clovis, Zach Grenier Dido Parsons, Julie Hewlett Natalie Helier, James Naughton Frank Church, Ewen Bremner Rollo Maverley, Ralph Fiennes Alec Beasley

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