Defence of The Realm (4 stars)

Defence of The Realm

(PG) 96min (Network DVD rental/retail)


Not much has changed in the 24 years since this grim-faced, pessimistic and remorseless British thriller was released, save the end of the Cold War. In it, a reporter on a sleazy right wing tabloid (Gabriel Byrne) chases down a story left unfinished by a colleague (Denholm Elliot) who’s met an unexplained end. He becomes embroiled in a cover up involving an accident on an American nuclear base, and is stalked by sinister spooks from British Intelligence.

David Drury’s piece questions the nature of liberty in a State where the likes of MI5 do more than just bug and burgle their quarry, with the complicity of the media. There’s some strong performances, and a notable Scottish presence in the likes of Ian Bannen, Robbie Coltraine, Fulton Mackay and Bill Paterson in a film that asks many questions of some urgency to Britain’s post 9/11 situation. Robert Powell hosts a documentary about the film’s locations as part of the extras package.

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