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G.B.H.

Robert Lindsay , Michael Palin    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating, complicated and a litttle bit bizarre April 27 2011
By Marcia TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
First, Michael Palin, playing Jim Henderson is second hand man to John Cleese in Monty Python so right away the viewer knows this is a comedy-drama. Robert Lindsay who stars as Michael Murray (Horatio Hornblower) starts off as an extremist that borders on the insane and comical. I always admired the Brits for tackling subjects we Canadians shy awy from like religion and politics and this story while character driver is all about politics.

The story conflict opens w/ Michael Murray, just made Leader of the Opposition, abusing his power to reek revenge on an old school master. Murray is power-mad and naive, a dangerous combination for himself and others. He is manipulated by the extreme left-wing (communists) who want to use the new Labour (think NDP forty years ago) Leader to topple the conservative government. In comes Jim Henderson, a neurotic headmaster of a school for special chilren, who accidently opposes a day long strike and comes into conflict w/ Murray whose called the strike. At this point the characters weaknesses are more apparent than their strenghts, but as the story continues each man must walk through fire which strengthens their metal. There is also an underlying mystery as to why Murray fires his old head master developed over time in flashbacks and a subplot of Henderson's overwhelming fears revealed though visits to his therapist.

From the box: "Robert Lindsey is brilliant as the egomaniacal labour party leader Michael Murray. Michael Palin is suburb as the mild-mannered Jim Nelson. They are unlikely but inexorable foes, and as their conflict escalates so do the risks.... W/ a BAFTa winning soundtrack, Elvis Costello ... this richly-woven, acclaimed British satire skewers the Thatcher-era setting.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A POLITICAL 7 PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER THAT'LL DRIVE YOU MAD Jan. 15 2010
By Harold Wolf - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
I was drawn into this story and could not pause between episodes, which may make me as loony as the crazies depicted in this series. GBH is the story of urban England political confrontation, how it draws and drains the sane and bewildered. A dialogue line sums it up best: "All of us are capable of being crazy at one time or other." A GBH understatement.

Michael Murray (Robert Lindsay) is a newly successful Labour Party council leader with a mysterious past that haunts him. He lords his power over particular people of his childhood. Mr. Weller, childhood headmaster, is targeted. Murray used psychological means of attack, & thugs when needed. A city-wide strike, Murray led, has one flaw, Jim Nelson (Michael Palin-"Monty Python"), headmaster to a school for special-needs kids. Pickets were not placed at that school through an error. Murray takes it personally and adds Nelson to his "get-him" list. Nelson doesn't need this, since he's already dealing with hypochondria and a host of neurotic phobias.

There is some past dastardly deed, unknown in the beginning to viewers, that causes Murray much strife and sets up a psychological plot that actually has viewers shaking their head in disgust one moment, laughing another, and cheering for the weird-o's in other places. Got to give the writer credit there.

Beautiful Lindsay Duncan ("The Rector's Wife") cast as Barbara Douglas (an alias), comes to the rescue, or on attack, well, both. Who is she anyway, and what mind-churning event created her drive? Murray's mom (Julie Walters-"Mamma Mia!" & "Calendar Girls") also gets into the sometimes weird/sometimes funny acting. There are thugs, agents, reporters, police, politicians galore and all seem to have just skipped out on their daily "group therapy" session. Great portrayals--I assume it is acting. Dysfunctionality runs as rampant as social disease in a brothel. They are all involved in this unnamed northern England town political scene as barmy & lunatic as realistic political scenes. Who needs world terrorists when we have democratic leftists?

Oh, and that list of fruity half-bakes is just the beginning. So what is it about this 7-episode, 10-hour British political miniseries that makes viewers delirious enough to keep watching? Is it the ample nudity, blood-letting, suspense, graphic violence, inappropriate humanity, drunken depravity, political back-stabbing, sexual deviance, or the ludicrous relationships? That's all there, abundantly. Obviously not for children. Then, just as you are about to regurgitate from the low-life attitudes...well, a segment gets so ridiculously funny that you know this writer is trying to tell us something. Oh yes, prior to the end (if you really ever do find an end or get over this) you'll discover some sane marriage romance involved. Who'd a thought that all this could be put into one series?

Alan Bleasdale's plan was to encourage people to be descent and reasonable to others. How? By showing the reverse to it's absurd fullness. He wrote based upon the mid-80s political life in Liverpool, and he states in the BONUS interview that he suffered from many of the conditions Nelson had in the film. Took guts to admit that. His own credo, manifesto, is presented during the Labor Club meeting speech of Nelson's.

So do I recommend GBH? Yes. No/Yes, No/Yes at times, but in the end, yes. It's an entertaining plot mix related to corruption, harassment, sex (women always the stronger), psycho, satire. Psychology majors will have a "hay day" with this set. After viewing all of this psycho/political suspense thriller, GBH, you too will be asking, "Has anyone seen my Valium?"

Disc 4 offers special features including the writer's interview (helping one make sense of the story without the help of a shrink), SUBTITLES, Elvis Costello bio, filmographies. Episode 1 also has a commentary option. GBH comes from the original working title of this TV drama originally began as a book, "Great British Holiday".
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth wading through a slow start March 21 2010
By Benson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
A slow start at first, with a real opportunity to take potshots at Robert Lindsay's occasional sinking into stereotype. Actually turns into a moving study of what happened to Labour just prior to the Blair ministry, as well as a well-handled, often comedic, more often tragic, study of the sinking of the lead corrupted Labour figure.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing Jan. 13 2012
By Frank R. Southerington - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I haven't even begun to come to terms with this movie, nor am I quite sure that I understand what happens in it. New characters keep appearing, and it's sometimes hard to tell whether they are sympathetic or not, or to be sure of their relationships with the other characters. Mysteries from the past are important but obscure. All very confusing. Yet the acting is so compelling, from the entire cast, the passion of the movie so strong, that in our home we sat mesmerized throughout. It's a very bleak, disturbing, and comic portrait of Britain and British politics, in the final quarter of the 20th century, but not so different from that portrayed more gently in Judge Deed or Kavanaugh Q C, a political system corrupted by those close to the very top, Thatcherism in its worst form. (Much more lightly, the same theme is treated comically in Brassed Off, which closes with a moving attack on harsh, utilitarian, greedy government). GBH goes deeper and is tougher, in several senses, than those other movies, and is correspondingly more disturbing. It makes me want to look more closely at the recent politics of Britain. And it makes me want to watch the whole thing again. My four stars may be an under-estimate, refecting only my unanswered questions. It's a fine movie.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GBH Oct. 22 2010
By Will E - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Excellent performances from all the cast, especially Robert Lindsay and a surprising Michael Palin, from a golden age of British television.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Facinating Story June 24 2010
By Richard Condon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
GBH is a facinating story of two rather damaged men locked in a political struggle that is larger than both of them. There are no special effects and no slick cimematography - just a good story told well. If you an Anglophile or have an interest in British politics of the late 1980's, this is a miniseries that you should own.
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