The Great Train Robbery (2013)


When Chibnall, one of the primary minds behind Broadchurch and writers behind Torchwood, decided to tackle Britain’s crime-of-the-last-century, it seemed worth the effort to watch. As it turned out, it was two different stories in one, and very much worth the time.

The first part, A Robber’s Tale , is done in the style of such classic caper films as Dassin’s Rififi. It was a great view of the characters involved and their lives. Led by Evans (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) and supported by a host of recognizable faces such as Compston (Line of Duty), it pulls you along and has you rooting for the thieves, whether you should or shouldn’t.

In part two, Chibnall turns the tables and continues the story with A Copper’s Tale, cast and styled as a 60s crime drama. The cast in this second part is headed up by Gelnister and Broadbent (Cloud Atlas). What started as a very broad tale of derring-do, becomes a personal obsession for Broadbent’s character. The story shifts to what it takes, and what it is worth to give up, in order to “serve justice.”

The ultimate result of it all, discussed at the very end between the two lead characters, yet again shifts your understanding of the story and event as a whole. 

This is no simple bit of entertainment, and yet it does entertain. The two pieces become greater than their individual parts and different flavors. While there have been many stories that provide multiple points of view on a single event, I’ve never quite seen one done this way, where each major point of view had its own separate character–based on the people involved and their own sense of the world.

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