Film Review: Doors Open
Adapted from Ian Rankin’s 2008 stand-alone novel of the same name, this made-for-television movie remains faithful to the original darkly humorous caper. The title relates to a day-long festival in which Scottish art displays between Edinburgh and Glasgow are open for free admission to the general public.Local businessman Mike Mackenzie (Douglas Henshall) has grown bored with his wealth and placid existence and decides to stage an art heist. Still pining for Laura Stanton (Lenora Crichlow), who walked out on him five years prior, Mackenzie discovers that she has returned to Edinburgh and is working as an art consultant. His robbery, therefore, may facilitate a reunion, if all goes as planned. To accomplish the brazen theft, which is actually a switch, Mackenzie enlists the aid of two friends: art expert Professor Robert Gissing (Stephen Fry) and out-of-work banker Allan Cruickshank (Kenneth Collard). With further assistance from local low-life criminals, Mackenzie commissions forgeries of his target paintings, one of which holds an emotional link with Laura. The tension ratchets up when the robbery goes wrong and the gangsters who funded the heist come for Mackenzie and his team, leading to an unexpected ending.
For those who enjoyed the Dortmunder novels by the late great Donald Westlake or the Bernie Rohdenbaugh burglar novels by Lawrence Block, Doors Open will be a treat. But those looking for something akin to Rankin’s Inspector Rebus series will be perplexed due to the light tone of the narrative.
Kudos goes to Stephen Fry for his portrayal of Professor Gissing, a role that has depth as well as humor. It was Fry who bought the TV film rights when he read Rankin’s novel, stating: “I picked up Ian Rankin’s breathless and ingenious thrillerDoors Open at an airport a year or so back and as I read I just knew it would make a thrilling, charming and original TV drama. I also adored the character of Professor Gissing and a shamefully vain part of me refused to see anyone else in the role. I am so thrilled that ITV were of the same opinion and that all of us at Sprout Pictures have managed to put together what I believe will be an entertaining, suspenseful art heist thriller which will appeal to audiences at home and abroad.”
Doors Open first aired December 26, 2012, on ITV 1 in the UK. The film is set for international distribution, so it should surface on a plasma screen near you shortly. It is well worth a watch.
Based on a novel by Ian Rankin
Directed by Marc Evans / Adapted by James Mavor and Sandi Toksvig
Starring Stephen Fry, Lenora Crichlow, Douglas Henshall
UK TV movie: Sprout Pictures for ITV, 2012. 120 minutes.
Author Bio: Ali Karim – is Assistant Editor at Shots eZine, a contributing editor at January Magazine & The Rap Sheet and writes for Crimespree magazine, Deadly Pleasures and Mystery Readers International and is an associate member of The Crime Writers Association [CWA], International Thriller Writers [ITW] and the Private Eye Writers of America [PWA]. Karim contributed to ‘Dissecting Hannibal Lecter’ ed. Benjamin Szumskyj [McFarland Press] a critical examination of the works of Thomas Harris, as well as The Greenwood Encyclopedia of British Crime Fiction [ed. Barry Forshaw]. Karim has contributed to ITW 100 Thriller Novels due out in 2010. Karim been three times nominated for a Anthony Award [2007, 2008 & 2009] as well as The Spinetingler Award in 2008 for special contributions to the Crime and Thriller genre