Last week, I wrote a review for Venturer Magazine (the in club magazine for Beacon). Although I mentioned it on a previous blog entry, now that the magazine has been published, I have pasted the content in its entirety :-
Having enjoyed reviewing the pilot episode of The Ninth Man this month brings the 2nd offering to my attention. Like so many pilots when they get commissioned there's a change at the top. Instead of Joshua Ive continuing his role as Robert Jameson, his shoes are ably filled by James Farmer.
James has the benefit of looking a bit more 'weathered' than Joshua, and although he plays the role slightly differently, it is a really good fit. Not exactly an easy thing to carry off. At a moment of potential disaster for the fledgling series Jordan doesn't just settle for the next person available, he recasts with absolutely the right man.
Despite the change in lead, the production values and extensive use of location, continue unabated. As does the cornerstone performance of Alec Harkness in his role as Kenny Cooper. This particular story is also penned by Alec, a script with twists, turns and as many new questions as it provides answers.
Chris Wilkes' narration as Jameson's parole officer brings us up to speed with what's happing. We are very quickly into the action, with not so much as a second to pause for breath. There's no waste in this story, although some lines are more golden than others. Emma Giles' line of 'Bouncing around from arsehole to arsehole ?' did give me a chuckle.
Sarah Miatt does very well as the broody, pissed off and altogether angry Michelle Harris.
As the intrigue and tension cranks up, Jordon himself makes an appearance as 'Henchman' with an economical, but effective use of a certain garage we all know and love.
There were only a few times I picked up on anything technical, with the guest appearance from Mr B OOM in The Fight Club, (a location only marred by the determination to remain fully clothed of all the muscly fighting types), and the sunlight causing some lens flare as well as catching on the actors are but minor irritations.
A kidnapping that doesn't leave you expecting a 'mmmmwwwhahahah' must have been one of those moments Steve's now ex neighbours are going to miss.
With such a good ending to episode one, I do think we missed out not having a closeup of the ransom note. Farmer's lines are lost against Sarah's building rage, and Initially I had reservations about a cheese knife being used well as an instrument to instil fear. Sarah, however takes a situation that could otherwise have descended into farce and delivers menace, such is the quality of the acting.
One of the locations we are treated to in this story is a lovely Vegan cafe (they do a yummy vegan stew), where we meet Reet (played by my good self), and Chris Lovin (Ben Johnson). I have to say that this is one of the few occasions where I am not cringing as I watch my own performance, and although I do come dangerously close to looking right at the camera I swear all those times I look down whilst talking to Kenny are not to look at my script.
All in all, this second helping of a bit of Ninth Man pie goes down rather nicely. There's menace where there should be menace, humour where it's wanted, and with nothing to spoil it in the way of set, technical failings or performances from the actors this rather ambitious storyline is unravelling before our eyes. It doesn't drag at all, there aren't any bits that wouldn't have been missed had they been cut. It moves along at a decent pace, and is more than just easy to watch. It's enjoyable. I'm eager to catch the next instalment.
Apart from wanting more, the only other thing I feel deprived of is the cake Bek (Sam Sayner) was touting, where's mine ?