The Honourable Woman
Cable TV: Sundance Channel
Thursdays 10 p.m. CST
Is a secret a lie? How dangerous can a secret become under certain circumstances? What is real and what is not? Questions leap to mind after two harrowing episodes of this political spy thriller now showing on Sundance TV. It is written, directed and produced by Hugo Blick. In an online interview he suggested casting as perhaps the most important of his duties.
He strikes gold in this department. He has cast Maggie Gyllenhaal as a British born businesswoman, Nessa Stein, recently become a baroness in the House of Lords, and a woman who carries an Israeli passport. As the credible central character, Gyllenhaal gives a luminous performance. When she is on screen, you can’t take your eyes off her. She shines, giving off light, beaming into the darkness of this fast moving story.
Her character is an orphan as well as both Israeli and British. These contribute to her seeming isolation. Past events cause present conflict. As with many mysteries, much seems opaque and disconnected. Perhaps her life is even more dichotomous than it appears.
Hugo Blick has said that his total interest is in the journeys of the fictional characters toward, or away from, personal reconciliation. Viewers watch many of the characters, including Nessa, striving for some kind of direction and comfort in their lives. So far, I also note the stand-out performances of actors Andrew Buchan, as Nessa’s brother, and Lubna Azabal, as a family friend/employee/lover? I expect her to be central to the story. She seems to be part of the mystery, which is everywhere.
One reviewer said hopefully this story would make sense in the end. I will watch Maggie Gyllenhall through all the episodes whether it makes sense or not. Her performance takes your breath away. Don’t miss this: top television drama.
Find out more at www.sundance.tv