UK DVD cover
|Genre||Political thriller, action drama|
|Screenplay by||David Hare|
|Directed by||David Hare|
|Theme music composer||Paul Englishby|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Running time||99 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Carnival Films
|Original network||BBC Two & BBC HD|
|Followed by||Turks & Caicos|
Page Eight is a 2011 British political thriller/action drama, 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 was followed by Turks & Caicos (2014) and Salting the Battlefield (2014), which were broadcast on BBC Two in March 2014. The three films are collectively known as The Worricker Trilogy.
Johnny Worricker (Bill Nighy) is a long-serving MI5 officer. His best friend and superior, Director General Benedict Baron (Michael Gambon), summons Johnny to a meeting with MI5 agent Jill Tankard (Judy Davis) and Home Secretary Anthea Catcheside (Saskia Reeves) regarding a potentially explosive report. Worricker verbally highlights a note at the foot of page eight alleging that Prime Minister Alec Beasley (Ralph Fiennes) has knowledge of secret overseas prisons where terror suspects have been tortured by U.S. authorities. If true, Beasley did not share any intelligence gained with the security services, at the possible expense of British lives.
At the same time, Johnny begins spending time with his neighbour Nancy Pierpan (Rachel Weisz), a Syrian-born political activist whose brother was killed by Israeli forces. Johnny shares his love of modern art and jazz with Nancy but, wondering if she aims to exploit his connections, asks friend and covert intelligence operative Rollo to investigate her. Meanwhile, Baron dies of a heart attack at his country home before he can make the report public. Beasley orders the report to be buried and tells Johnny of his plans to replace MI5 with a U.S.-style Homeland Security organisation. Catcheside's silence is bought by naming her Deputy Prime Minister.
Johnny sells a painting from his small but valuable art collection to obtain traveling cash. He learns that an acquaintance of Nancy's, seen loitering around the apartment building, is Tankard's son and has been paid to monitor him. Johnny realizes that Beasley and Tankard are running a politicised "cowboy" intelligence operation. Johnny gives Nancy a copy of the secret file on her brother's death but points out that he would be implicated if its existence were to be revealed by her. Johnny ends up making a deal with Tankard to keep quiet about the report. In return for Johnny's silence, Tankard agrees to kill the reorganisation of the intelligence services as well as leak the file on Nancy's brother's murder to the BBC. The fallout forces Johnny to disappear for his safety.
Johnny gives Nancy a Christopher Wood painting from his collection. On seeing the leaked report of her brother's murder on the news, she realises that Johnny arranged it to allow her to pursue a legal case against the Israelis without implicating himself. At London Stansted Airport, Johnny dumps the original report incriminating Beasley in a rubbish bin. As Johnny looks at the departure screen, Nancy looks closely at Johnny's painting and sees a church near a beach.
- 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 Newsreader
- Charlotte Green as Radio Newsreader
- Helena Bonham Carter as Margot, Worricker's lover
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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