An excellent, compelling British drama about what-ifs: what if I had left the restaurant two minutes earlier…what if I had taken a different road…what if I had gone slower. All of the what-ifs here pertain to a car crash on a motorway, as the British call them, and the people who were all involved in it. Told in flashbacks all stemming from the present where a senior and very troubled police detective is investigating the crash…its origins, its causes, its motives. One of the drivers fled the crash scene and there is an abundance of confusing evidence of why and how the crash began, so the detective has a lot to sort through. And, as he does, he “imagines” or flashes back to what might have been going on at different points, with the passengers of the different cars of the crash. These flashbacks really do the job of immersing the audience into the lives of each of the drivers and passengers. We get attached to these people. We want them to be good. We want them to survive…both figuratively and literally. Excellently acted, this is one of the strongest television dramas I’ve seen in a while. A must see!

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In Dial M for Murder, Hitchcock shoots an entire film on one set. In Rope, he not only just uses one set, he also experiments with long takes…using only 5 or 6 takes to complete a full-length feature. Where did he get these ideas from…? Well, in 1944, four years before Rope and ten years before Dial M For Murder, there was Lifeboat. Based on a John Steinbeck story, this film takes place IN A BOAT at sea. A ship has gone done (it happens before the movie even begins) and we see Tallulah Bankhead in a small-ish dingy, adrift. As the film progresses, more and more people find their way to the lifeboat, including a German, who might or might not be captain of the ship that bombed the American ship, sinking it. For an hour and a half, this film deals with the way these people all get together and relate with each other and the impending doom they face if not rescued. A well done, thought provoking film…that is more drama than thriller, but tense enough to be something from The Master of Suspense.

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