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G4

February 13, 2018 2 comments

*Spoiler alert* Score one for me. A couple of weeks ago, I participated in a Facebook discussion, sparked  by Maxim Jacubowski, about McMafia and James Norton’s performance as Alex. Maxim, a highly respected figure in the mystery business, saw him as one-dimensional. I understood that but argued that Norton has already proved his range by segueing from the seriously psychotic Tommy in Happy Valley into the randy vicar  in Grantchester, and that if his portrayal was dead-pan, that was exactly how it was meant to be.

I went on to predict that at the end, Alex would evolve into someone very like Michael Corleone, in The Godfather.

As it turned out, that’s what happened, but there was much more. In fact the series turned out to be a pretty shameless reworking of the entire Godfather trilogy. Alex’s father Dimitri equalled the ageing Don with his enemies ranged against him. His interaction with Rebecca, his girlfriend, was close to Michael’s with Kaye, through the film series. There was the flaky sister, although her other half did make it out unscathed. (I admit that Faye Marsay’s casting did throw me; given her capabilities I expected more meat to her character.) The early murder of the reckless Uncle Boris had shades of the slaughter of Sonny Corleone, which Michael was always going to avenge. The retribution that befell Vadim happened following a funeral, as did the climax of the first Godfather. To cap it all, Vadim’s daughter died in a failed attempt on her father’s life. Where have we seen that before?

Maybe all this was trailed; if so, I missed it, as I am sure did most of the viewing audience.

Having made all these comparisons I must now concede that the makers of McMafia did not have a novel to adapt. Their series was based on a piece of non-fiction. My guess at the ending didn’t stop me from watching right to the finish; in fact it probably encouraged me. Okay, the guy who played Dimitri was no Marlon Brando in any language but he didn’t need to be because James Norton was able to carry the whole thing on his shoulders.

The next 007? I hope so, if only to ensure that McMafia 2 doesn’t happen; well should be left alone.

 

Categories: General

There but for the grace . . .

February 12, 2018 Leave a comment

This morning’s news of the Las Vegas helicopter crash was an sobering start to my day. Thirteen years ago, Eileen and I did that same excursion, on a perfect day in January.Grand Canyon

No, the photo wasn’t taken on the rim of the Canyon. It’s a standard shot they do before you leave McCarron Airport. It was great day out and the memory has lived with us ever since. We were flown by the young man standing beside me. He was named Scott; that I remember clearly. So was the pilot of yesterday’s tragic flight, and I’m guessing it’s the same guy. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, the other three survivors and the victims.

My recollection of Papillon Tours is of a very professional outfit, who delivered all they promised and brought us back safe after a stunning flight. They do hundreds of these flights every year, without mishap. Later today, I will dig out the video and look at it, not with any sense of relief, but in memory of those who didn’t make it back yesterday.

Categories: Uncategorized