×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Collision

The latest "Masterpiece Contemporary" production, "Collision" is an interesting idea but ultimately not compelling enough to draw the audience into its individual stories.

With:
DI John Tolin .......... Douglas Henshall Ann Stallwood .............. Kate Ashfield Danny Rampton ..... Dean Lennox Kelly Jeffrey Rampton ............... Craig Kelly Sidney Norris ............... David Bamber Richard Reeves .............. Paul McGann Brian Edwards ................... Phil Davis Ed Wilson .................... Brian Pettifer Gareth Clay ................... Anwar Lynch Alice Jackson ............ Lenora Crichlow Karen Donnelly ........ Claire Rushbrook

The latest “Masterpiece Contemporary” production, “Collision” is an interesting idea but ultimately not compelling enough to draw the audience into its individual stories. Sifting through the wreckage of a massive highway crash outside London, writers Anthony Horowitz (“Foyle’s War”) and Michael A. Walker dip inside each of those vehicles, flashing back into the lives of those involved as well as that of the investigator (“Primeval’s” Douglas Henshall) chosen to decipher what happened. As drama goes, “Collision” pulls out all the stops — and still doesn’t yield much of an impact.

Det. John Tolin (Henshall) is asked to determine the cause of the six-car pile-up, which claimed a number of lives and even triggered charges of police malfeasance. Each vehicle contains its own backstory, which is gradually explored — along with Tolin’s tortured personal history, which involves his wife’s death in an accident; and his awkward pairing with a former lover (Kate Ashfield) to examine the case.

The narrative jumps between what transpired before the crash and its aftermath. The stories range from political thriller to romantic melodrama, with everything from fractured family relationships (and possibly murder) to smuggled cargo.

On their own, however, most of the disparate threads feel a trifle familiar, and the crash proves a rather slippery adhesive in the purpose of holding them together. With roughly a dozen characters to service, the narrative structure thwarts the best efforts of an exceptional cast, many of them recognizable from other recent British productions.

The crash is replayed several times from various angles, but the film’s underlying rumination about the thin lines that distinguish safety from tragedy — the arbitrary nature of who lives and dies — feels heavyhanded in the final analysis, especially given the last-act revelations.

“Collision” wins points for ambition, perhaps, but as the quaint little stopovers on PBS’ highway of British drama go, it’s one of those rare rest stops that’s just as easily skipped.

Collision

Two-part movie; PBS, Nov. 15-22, 9 p.m.

Production: Filmed in the U.K. by Greenlit Collision in association with Ingenious Broadcasting and WGBH Boston. Executive producers, Rebecca Eaton, Neil Zeiger; producers, Jill Green, Eve Gutierrez; director, Marc Evans; writers, Anthony Horowitz, Michael A. Walker.

Crew: Camera, Christopher Ross; production designer, Luana Hanson; editor, St. John O'Rorke; music, Daniel Giorgetti; casting, Marilyn Johnson. 3½ HOURS

Cast: DI John Tolin .......... Douglas Henshall Ann Stallwood .............. Kate Ashfield Danny Rampton ..... Dean Lennox Kelly Jeffrey Rampton ............... Craig Kelly Sidney Norris ............... David Bamber Richard Reeves .............. Paul McGann Brian Edwards ................... Phil Davis Ed Wilson .................... Brian Pettifer Gareth Clay ................... Anwar Lynch Alice Jackson ............ Lenora Crichlow Karen Donnelly ........ Claire Rushbrook

More TV

  • Winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song

    Netherlands' Duncan Laurence Wins 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

    Madonna’s controversial performance may have grabbed the headlines, but Duncan Laurence won the nearly four-hour-long 2019 Eurovision Song Contest for the Netherlands with the song “Arcade,” which he cowrote with Joel Sjöö and Wouter Hardy. Laurence won a total of 492 points from the expert juries and televoters in a contest that was touch and [...]

  • 'SNL' Cold Open Has Alec Baldwin's

    'SNL' Cold Open Has Alec Baldwin's Trump Rocking Out to Queen

    The cold open for the season finale of “Saturday Night Live” saw the Trump administration taking some liberties with a rock classic. Alec Baldwin returned as President Donald Trump, letting America know that he is going to be taking it easy now that summer is nearly here. He then said he was going to do [...]

  • Great Point Invests in U.K. Indie

    Great Point Invests in U.K. Indie Producer Seven Seas (EXCLUSIVE)

    U.K.-based Great Point has bought into Seven Seas Films, the British indie producer that recently teamed with BBC Studios for a drama series about the final months of Marilyn Monroe. Great Point has a new “enterprise investment scheme” fund, Great Point Ventures, and is primed to invest in several more film and TV producers in [...]

  • Outlander Season 4 Finale

    What CBS' Pursuit of Starz Means for CBS, Lionsgate

    CBS’ effort to buy pay TV service Starz from Lionsgate seems on the surface to be a head scratcher. CBS has told Wall Street for years that it has prospered because it brings only two must-have services to the table in negotiations with MVPDs, allowing the Eye to drive a hard bargain. Why would CBS [...]

  • Doha Film Institute Steps Up Documentaries

    Doha Film Institute Steps Up Documentaries and TV Series Grants

    The Doha Film Institute, which is at Cannes as a co-financier of Elia Suleiman’s competition entry “It Must Be Heaven,” has announced the 37 projects receiving its Spring Grants, roughly half of them to be directed by women. The latest batch of mostly Arabic fare set to tap into support from the DFI, a key [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content