Low Winter Sun



7:30-9:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7
BBC America

BBC America's "Low Winter Sun" is as stylish and substantial as film noir comes these days, especially on television, and especially from across the Atlantic.

It's a beautiful mood piece that doesn't bank on looks alone (though it easily could), but that gives viewers a story with meat on its bones. This thriller, focusing on a murder that soon gets more complicated than expected and snowballs into psychological mayhem, is a must-see British TV movie for a broad American audience.

The story begins when a crooked cop (Robert Willox) is murdered by two colleagues (Mark Strong and Brian McCardie), supposedly as an act of revenge for a murder committed the previous night. The body is thrown into the sea, his two colleagues thinking the murder will look like a suicide. But of course all bets are off as murder, revenge, a headless (and handless) corpse -- and the ensuing confusion that noir brings -- fills the story line.

Director Adrian Shergold ("Dirty Filthy Love") has a great time fleshing out and elaborating on Simon Donald's tantalizing story. There is room for all sorts of stylish effects (including slow-motion camerawork that would make Scorsese look twice). The story line itself is complicated enough to suspend disbelief; in Shergold's hands, it transforms into a sometimes dark, more often colorful underworld full of evil characters, dubious heroes and even some strong females in what usually is a male landscape of subterfuge and shadows.

Cinematographer Ulf Brantas gives "Sun" an eerie and at the same time serene atmosphere. His camerawork is splendid at every turn, whether we're looking at the real world or its underbelly (and often times, it's hard to tell the difference). Martin Phipps' original score adds a great touch of darkness and sultry emotion that give the story real atmosphere. Editor Tania Reddin also adds style and moodiness to this well-produced thriller.

It's good to see productions like this one coming across the Atlantic. "Sun" benefits from a great cast, crisp and sophisticated dialogue and an impeccable sense of the moodiness vital to the genre.

BBC America
A Tiger Aspect production for Channel 4 in association with BBC America
Teleplay: Simon Donald
Director: Adrian Shergold
Producer: Rhonda Smith
Executive producer: Greg Brenman
Director of photography: Ulf Brantas
Original music: Martin Phipps
Editor: Tania Reddin
Art directors: Catherine Carruthers, Nicki McCallum
Casting: Kate Rhodes James
Frank Agnew: Mark Strong
Joe Geddes: Brian McCardie
Danniella Bonetti: Neve McIntosh
Kenny Morton: Burn Gorman
Louise Cullen: Michelle Duncan