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The Hawk

David Hayman
Helen Mirren at the BBC
(2008)

The Hawk is a pretty dreadful 1992 melodrama that is not fit to reside in the same set as the Shakespeares, Shaws and Dennis Potter's Blue Remembered Hills.

The future Queen plays Annie Marsh, a Lancastrian housewife with two sweet children. The Hawk, a red rose equivalent to the Yorkshire Ripper, is at large and Annie suspects her husband, George Costigan's Stephen, probably because he rolls his eyes so much and has the kind of nagging mother played by Rosemary Leach that would turn anyone into a murderer.

For 80 minutes, Annie builds up an increasingly fevered view of Stephen, whose absences are so frequent that they inevitably coincide with the dates of The Hawk's murders.

David Hayman, who clearly doesn't know a reasonable story when he sees it, then tries to embellish a simple thriller by introducing Stephen's brother, Owen Teale as Ken. He is an even nastier piece of work, used to spending his evenings in the pub with a prostitute who comes under the hammer - literally.

The police do not know what to make of Annie, especially as she has a history of mental illness, which begins to manifest itself in all of the symptoms of madness, thus exercising the actress, at least to a small extent.

The psychological thriller effectively ends twice, first with an even more bizarre murder than those already seen and after that with the kind of coincidental twist that must surely have anybody watching the film shaking their head in disbelief.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher