UK DVD cover
|Directed by||David Hare|
|Screenplay by||David Hare|
|Music by||Paul Englishby|
|Editing by||Jinx Godfrey|
|Production company||Carnival Films
|Original channel||BBC Two & BBC HD|
|Running time||103 minutes|
|Followed by||Turks & Caicos
Salting the Battlefield
Page Eight is a 2011 British political thriller, written and directed for the BBC by the British writer David Hare, his first film as director since the 1989 film Strapless. The cast includes Bill Nighy, Rachel Weisz, Michael Gambon, Tom Hughes, Ralph Fiennes, and Judy Davis. The film will be followed by Turks & Caicos and Salting the Battlefield, which broadcast on BBC Two in 2014. The three films are jointly known as The Worricker Trilogy.
Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy) is a long-serving MI5 officer whose closest friend is also his boss, the Director General of MI5, Benedict Baron (Michael Gambon). Baron distributes a potentially explosive report to Johnny along with Jill Tankard (Judy Davis) and the Home Secretary (Saskia Reeves). In that meeting, Worricker verbally highlights a note at the foot of page eight alleging that the Prime Minister (Ralph Fiennes) has details about the US government torturing prisoners in secret overseas prisons. If true, he did not share intelligence gained from it with the security services even though it might have saved British lives.
At the same time, Johnny begins spending time with his political activist neighbour Nancy Pierpan, born in Syria, (Rachel Weisz) whose brother was killed by the Israeli army while holding a white flag. Johnny shares his love of modern art and traditional jazz with her (including explaining the ambiguous relationship between Lester Young and Billie Holiday using a video of The Sound of Jazz) but asks friend and covert intelligence operative Rollo to investigate her. They wonder if she put herself in Johnny's path merely to use his connections.
Benedict Baron dies suddenly of a heart attack at his country home where he lives with his wife (Johnny's ex-wife) and step-daughter (Johnny's daughter, with whom Johnny has a strained relationship). Johnny thinks Baron meant to make the content of the report public. The Prime Minister orders the report to be buried and tells Johnny of his plans to replace MI5 with a US style Homeland Security organisation. The Home Secretary's silence is bought by naming her Deputy Prime Minister.
Johnny sells a painting from his small but valuable art collection to obtain travelling cash. Suspicious of a young man named Ralph whom he met through Nancy and has since seen loitering around the apartment building, Johnny investigates and finds that he is Tankard's own son, funded to monitor Johnny. Tankard, he realises, is secretly working for the Prime Minister's office, running a politicised "cowboy" intelligence operation.
Johnny and Nancy explore their ambiguous relationship. He gives her the secret file on her brother but points out that it would implicate him if she went public with it. He ends up making a deal with Tankard to avoid the reorganisation of the intelligence services and demands the file on Nancy's brother be leaked.
But Johnny has now burned so many bridges that he must retire to obscurity. He gives Nancy one of his valuable paintings (by Christopher Wood). On seeing the leaked report of her brother's death on the news later, she realises that Johnny arranged it to allow her to pursue a legal case for his wrongful death without implicating Johnny. At the airport, Johnny dumps the original report with the incriminating information about the Prime Minister in a rubbish bin.
At the airport, Johnny looks at the departures screen without giving any clue as to his ultimate destination. This is followed by a shot of Nancy suddenly looking closely at the painting Johnny has given her, a picture of a church by the sea with a warm looking beach. This may imply a clue to Nancy where to look for Johnny, the man with a conscience.
- Bill Nighy as Johnny Worricker, MI5 analyst
- Rachel Weisz as Nancy Pierpan, political activist
- Michael Gambon as Benedict Baron, Director General of MI5
- Judy Davis as Jill Tankard, MI5 officer collaborating with the Prime Minister
- Tom Hughes as Ralph Wilson, private investigator and Jill Tankard's son
- Saskia Reeves as Anthea Catcheside, Home Secretary
- Ewen Bremner as Rollo Maverley, journalist and former MI5 officer
- Felicity Jones as Julianne Worricker, Johnny's daughter
- Ralph Fiennes as Alec Beasley, Prime Minister
- Alice Krige as Emma Baron, Benedict Baron's wife and Johnny's ex-wife
- Holly Aird as Anna Herve, assistant to the Home Secretary and former lover to Johnny
- Richard Lintern as Max Vallance, assistant to the Prime Minister
- Bruce Myers as Joseph Pierpan, Nancy Pierpan's father
- Rakhee Thakrar as Muna Hammami
- Kate Burdette as Allegra Betts
- Andrew Cleaver as Brian Lord
- Marthe Keller as Leona Chew
- Aisling Loftus as Melissa Legge
- James McArdle as Ted Finch
- Jay Benedict as Master of the college
- Surendra Kochar as Mrs. Ashanti
- Bijan Daneshmand as Cambridge don
- Kriss Dosanjh as Minicab owner
- Hywel Morgan as Priest
- Rory Morrison as Radio announcer
- Charlotte Green as Radio announcer
The film had its world premiere on 18 June 2011 at the Edinburgh International Film Festival and closed the 36th Toronto International Film Festival on 17 September 2011. It was broadcast on BBC Two and BBC HD on 28 August 2011 in the United Kingdom, and on PBS in the United States on 6 November 2011, as part of its Masterpiece Contemporary anthology series. It was released on DVD and Blu-ray on 5 September 2013 by Universal Pictures.
At the 2011 Satellite Awards, Page Eight was nominated for Best Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television. Bill Nighy and Rachel Weisz were nominated for Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television and Best Actress in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television, respectively.
At the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards, Judy Davis received a nomination nod in the category of Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie, while Paul Englishby won for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.
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