Friday, 2 November 2012

Falcón starring Marton Csokas, Hayley Atwell, PREVIEW

Marton Csokas as Falcón. Pics: BSkyB
Rating: ★★★★

Sky Atlantic: Thursday, 15 November, 10pm

Story: Javier Falcón investigates a series of particularly brutal murders, which lead him to uncover shocking buried truths about his own family's history.
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The grand tour of European crime scenes continues on Sky Atlantic with this Spanish jaunt in the company of brooding Seville detective Falcón.

This is the fledgling channel’s second crime drama commission following Chloe Sevigny’s Hit & Miss earlier this year, and confirms Sky Atlantic as a maker of distinctive, edgy new series.

Bog standard police procedural it ain’t. It’s a dark nourish tale, vividly directed by Pete Travis, capturing the sour side of a spectacularly lovely city.

Falcón – charismatic, vulnerable
Marton Csokas, who viewers may know from fantasy and epics such as The Lord of the Rings, Kingdom of Heaven and on TV in Xena: Warrior Princess, here steps up to the leading role with panache, making Javier Falcón a charismatic, vulnerable hero. He is joined by a good cast – Charlie Creed-Miles as Falcón’s abrasive sidekick, Hayley Atwell as femme fatale, Bernard Hill as old family friend Ramon.

Falcón is based on the novels of award-winning British writer Robert Wilson, The opening two-part story, The Blind Man of Seville, begins with the torture and murder of a wealthy businessman.

The murder is intercut with scenes of Seville’s bustling Holy Week night-time procession, featuring those spooky pointy-hooded, Ku Klux Klan-like figures – a sequence immediately evoking the murky potential of this vivacious city.

Hayley Atwell is the victim's widow
The victim is Carlos Jiminez, a rich guy with a serious prostitute habit despite his wife being Hayley Atwell. The killer has cut Carlos’s eyelids off.

Was it the wife, or her lover, behind the gruesome death? Falcón doesn’t think it was anything so mundane. When the last prostitute used by Carlos is also murdered, Falcón is convinced the perpetrator is sending some twisted message.

What lifts this first mystery out of ordinary is that it descends into a shocking tailspin for our hero. The investigation swirls around Carlos, a dodgy guy who once ran into serious problems in North Africa, which in turn resulted in his five-year-old son being kidnapped – a crime he never reported.

  • The second Falcón mystery is The Silent and the Damned, Sky Atlantic, 10pm, starts Thursday 29 November
    The sudden death of an eminent Sevillian businessman draws Falcon into a dark conspiracy involving corruption and abuse at the highest level. Stars: Robert Lindsay, Bill Paterson

It's personal for Falcón
Meanwhile, as Falcón sorts out the affairs of his recently deceased father, a distinguished artist, he begins to sense that the killer is triggering old childhood memories for him that no one apart from the detective could know about.

He is also dealing with his ex-wife, played by Emilia fox, who is now sleeping with his boss, the rather suave investigating judge.

Bernard Hill as Ramon
Of course, like watching Brits playing Italians in BBC1’s Zen, hearing the cockney and English voices portraying Spaniards requires a little suspension of disbelief.

Spain joins the TV Euro-crime invasion with Falcón
But Falcón is a pacy, flavoursome thriller, great to look at and absorbing, which culminates in shattering revelations for Falcón. The drama can certainly now hold his head up among the Swedes (Wallander, Sebastian Bergman), Dutch (Van der Valk), Italians (Inspector Montalbano), French (Spiral, Braquo), Danes (The Killing, The Bridge), and – soon – the Irish (C5’s Jack Taylor: The Guards).

Director Pete Travis reveals that Sky Atlantic said to him, ‘Don’t make something ordinary.’

Olé to that.

Cast: Marton Csokas Javier Falcón, Hayley Atwell Consuelo, Charlie Creed Miles Insp Ramirez, Santiago Cabrera Judge Calderon, Bernard Hill Ramon Salgado