British television is a genre in and of itself. I grew up watching Masterpiece Theater and Mystery! on PBS as a child. Both featured a boatload of British television. I enjoyed it immensely and I learned to speak proper English which benefited me in my teen years as I was able to regale my friends with my British accent. I also did a pretty good ‘Valley Girl” (gag me with a spoon!) and a snobby Bostonian accent.
Later, I married a man who can do some pretty good accents too. But he has no great love for British television, none at all really. He just doesn’t have the patience for it. It seems to me that British shows take a long time to set up the main story. They introduce trifles which have no bearing on the actual plot. On the bright side this could give the viewer time to go get some popcorn and a beverage.
To please my husband, I try to avoid putting British shows in our Netflix queue. But Netflix does not always let you know if the film you are interested in is a foreign flick. And so it was that last night a British show somehow sneaked its way into our queue. The movie title is Knife Edge and it was touted as a thriller. All in all it wasn’t that bad as far as thrillers go.
But it did have British actors and I could sense my husband’s disappointment right away. What to do, what to do. Oh! I know! It was time to go into snarky mode. Our family sometimes likes to watch Mystery Science Theater which deliberately shows “B” rated movies to its viewers with the added benefit of snarky commentary being offered in the background.
I personally think that the best MST movie ever shown was “Werewolf” which I think was made by some Estevez relation to Martin Sheen, Charlie Sheen, and Emilio Estevez. For most of the actors in that film, English was their second language. For the duration of that film the main character pronounced ‘werewolf’ as ‘were wolf’, they could have cleared up the confusion for her if they had just spelled ‘werewolf’ as ‘where wolf’ in her script. Then there was my favorite scene where the cameraman got bored with the dialogue and decided to slowly film the mural that was painted on the wall of the barroom in one scene. Yeah, that was a great movie! But I digress.
I determined in my mind to make “Knife Edge” work for our family. Perhaps I tried too hard, because at one point in the movie I actually screamed. I wasn’t startled or surprised by the scene I instinctively knew was going to happen next in the movie. I’m not really sure why I screamed; it was just a spontaneous event and it had its desired effect. My family starting laughing and soon we were all in full swing of our own version of MST with snarky commentary provided by our family.
The movie wasn’t as slow as some British movies I’ve watched. The customary trifle was a scene on a train which then faded into a view of Wall Street stock trading. The main character, Emma, is a wealthy and successful business woman. She is giving it all up to be a stay at home mom back in the UK.
We found the cast of the movie interesting and soon were wondering about their casting choices. ‘Emma’ was played by a homely redhead. As the movie progressed they made her look increasingly more plain to downright ugly. In the opening scene on Wall Street she is wearing makeup and is nicely dressed. There is one unintentional scary scene where she is looking down on her Wall Street minions; she smiles this creepy goblin-like smile. As she is the hero of the story I don’t think the director actually wanted her to look like a scary goblin, did he? As the movie went on, she lost more and more makeup and took on a downright pasty cast to her skin. Of course she was supposedly near to having a nervous breakdown by this point in the movie and I guess that could account for the pastiness.
In contrast to her plain to goblin-like looks, her cast mates were tall, thin, and exceedingly good looking. They towered over her throughout the movie. Their good looks made her plain looks stand out like a sore thumb, to use a tired cliche…sorry. I think this was intentional however, but I could be wrong. I think it was to cast doubt on her loser French husband, Henri. Is the audience supposed to wonder, “Why is handsome and well-dressed Henri married to dumpy little Emma?” Answer: For her money! Duh!
Pronounced in a proper French accent, ‘Henri’ sounds just like the Texas pronunciation of ‘ornery’. This provided a perfect opportunity for a snarky comment from moi, “Never marry a guy named Henri, you’re just asking for trouble.” Of course if you don’t know the whole ‘Texan pronunciation of ornery’ thing it falls flat as a joke. My mom is a Texan and so I’ve heard ‘ornery’ pronounced as ‘Henri’ all my life.
Henri came through for Emma in the end however. What a guy! *Spoiler Alert!* With a two-feet long machete-looking knife sticking through his back (that has to hurt!), he crawls to Emma who is being choked to death by the bad guy, affording her the opportunity to rip the machete-looking knife out of her loser husband’s back and stab the bad guy to death with it. That was the only original scene in the whole movie. It was brilliant! Plus, Henri survived being run through with a two feet long machete-looking knife, giving the audience hope that maybe with A LOT of counseling Emma and Henri can work through their differences and save their marriage. THE END!