Thursday 27th December, 9pm. ITV.
If you like your con and heist movies/shows but find Ocean’s Eleven or Reservoir Dogs too violent or too slick for your taste buds then you may find that you enjoy ‘Doors Opens’ a new television adaptation of Ian Rankin’s novel of the same name.
A nice vehicle for the donnish Mr Fry (after all, it was made by his production company), he plays Robert, an Art Professor responsible for overseeing the art collection of a Scottish bank. When the bank decide to sell off the extremely valuable works, the Professor in a Lavender-Hill-Mob type way plans on “liberating” some of his favourite works to exact a moral revenge.
He persuades his two friends Mike (Dougie Henshall), a local self-made millionaire with an eye on one very particular painting and Alan (Kenneth Collard), a recently fired employee of the very same bank that owns the paintings to join him in his crime of the century.
Throw in a local gangster and Mike’s old flame Laura who also works for the bank and you the perfect recipe for a pipe and slippers post-Christmas crime caper.
I can’t quite make up my mind over ‘Doors Open’: it ticks a lot of boxes for me; I love a bit of Fry and was very impressed with Lenora Crichlow in ‘Being Human.’ Furthermore, I have never understood why Dougie Henshall is not in more demand, he is a prettier, slightly sinister John Simms with bags of personal charisma.
It even discusses the importance of art and what can be “just a picture” to one person can be worth risking everything for another.
Something about it though just doesn’t quite work and I think I know what it is. It’s the central character, Mike McKenzie.
I maybe a fan, but Dougie Henshall doesn’t quite pull it off. Mike is an interesting character: intelligent, tenacious and bristling with passion, someone you really want to see cut loose. Unfortunately you don’t; you get the odd glimpse of inner rage and deeper sensitivity but other than single shove on a rival all you get is silent stares and enigmatic smiles.
This is a big problem as Mike carries the emotional content of the show and without him leading the way, ‘Open Doors’ treads water when it should be swimming for its life. I couldn’t say if this is down to Henshall, the writer or the director, so I am going to be democratic and blame all of them.
The crime itself, daubed with dodgy disguises and comedy characters and a touch of slap stick; is played for laughs but just isn’t funny enough to mask the lack of urgency or feeling that anyone was in any actual danger.
This lack of vibrancy permeates ‘Open Doors’ throughout the second half. The general light tone and humorous vibe of the piece that worked so well in the earlier stages fails to be of any use when it needs to take it up a notch and deliver some dramatic tension.
However, it’s my job to dissect these things and if you fancy a nice easy watch that you don’t have to think too much about put it on, have a drink and settle down for an evening of cosy crime.