×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Shooting the Past
     

Shooting the Past

5.0 2
Director: Stephen Poliakoff,

Cast: Liam Cunningham, Lindsay Duncan, Timothy Spall

 
This 1999 British film pits idealistic overseers of a London photography collection against a pragmatic American entrepreneur exercising his right to evict them from a mansion he has purchased. The photo collection is one of the world's largest, containing ten million pictures which the staff files, maintains, and rents to various media. From an aesthetic standpoint,

Overview

This 1999 British film pits idealistic overseers of a London photography collection against a pragmatic American entrepreneur exercising his right to evict them from a mansion he has purchased. The photo collection is one of the world's largest, containing ten million pictures which the staff files, maintains, and rents to various media. From an aesthetic standpoint, the collection -- dating all the way back to the beginning of photography in the 19th century -- is priceless. The key question is what will happen to it, for wealthy American businessman Christopher Anderson (Liam Cunningham) owns not only the building, but also the collection itself. After announcing plans to remodel the mansion into a state-of-the-art business school, he threatens to destroy all but the most valuable photographs because there's no time, according to his rat-race schedule, to find a new repository for them. Feisty curator Marilyn Truman (Lindsay Duncan) and her eccentric assistant, Oswald Bates (Timothy Spall), then hatch plots to thwart his plans. First, they "mislay" a selection of highly valuable photographs. When that stratagem doesn't work, Truman persuades Anderson to look at several stacks of the ordinary, less valuable photographs. These photographs turn out to be extraordinary. One set tells the poignant story of a Jewish family victimized by the holocaust. The images impress Anderson, but he refuses to alter his plans. Then Bates launches an ingenious scheme. Using his incredible "photographic" memory, he selects a few startling photos from among the millions -- photos that have a connection to Anderson's past. These photographs, and the secrets they hold, stun Anderson while demonstrating the variety and vastness of the collection. Will he alter his plans to save the collection? Meanwhile, Bates, believing his scheme has failed, attempts suicide, and the final moments of the film reveal whether Bates and the photos will survive.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mike Cummings
This made-for-TV British film succeeds in its intriguing character portrayals and animated dialogue, as well as its overall message that the world's artistic heritage must not fall victim to economic progress. Sadly, just when the plot gels and the characters crackle with charisma, the motion picture bogs down in a tedious labyrinth of details about the film's central focus: a London collection of ten million prize photographs jeopardized by American entrepreneur Christopher Anderson's takeover of the building housing the photographs. British actor Liam Cunningham performs capably as the no-nonsense Anderson, although his overly flat imitation of an American accent sometimes annoys. Lindsay Duncan has just the right stuff in her depiction of the curator of the photo collection, the late-fortyish but still attractive Marilyn Truman. Duncan is alternately leather-tough and goose-down soft as she shifts from one strategy to the next to persuade Anderson to alter his plans. Perhaps the best performance in the film is that of Timothy Spall in the role of Truman's assistant, the rotund eccentric Oswald Bates. Spall plays Bates as a pastry-munching nerd with a flapping belt that mimics the perpetual wag of his tongue. Viewers soon discover that Bates is a man of uncompromising idealism and deep sensitivity, thanks to Spall's ability to exhibit these qualities without announcing or preaching them. Overall, Shooting the Past, written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff, is a good film, but judicious editing would have made it even better.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/05/2006
UPC:
0794051265029
Original Release:
1999
Rating:
NR
Source:
Bbc Warner
Time:
3:03:00

Special Features

Commentary by Stephen Poliakoff, composer Adrian Johnston and production designer JP Kelly; Interview with Stephen Poliakoff and cast; Photo montage

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Shooting the Past
1. Chapter 1 [5:33]
2. Chapter 2 [7:36]
3. Chapter 3 [5:40]
4. Chapter 4 [6:06]
5. Chapter 5 [8:53]
6. Chapter 6 [4:50]
7. Chapter 7 [12:25]
8. Chapter 8 [4:48]
9. Chapter 9 [8:49]
10. Chapter 10 [5:43]
1. Chapter 1 [3:36]
2. Chapter 2 [5:33]
3. Chapter 3 [9:22]
4. Chapter 4 [10:09]
5. Chapter 5 [9:05]
6. Chapter 6 [7:40]
7. Chapter 7 [4:18]
8. Chapter 8 [2:40]
Disc #2 -- Shooting the Past
1. Chapter 1 [7:04]
2. Chapter 2 [8:07]
3. Chapter 3 [6:51]
4. Chapter 4 [7:06]
5. Chapter 5 [5:52]
6. Chapter 6 [12:26]
7. Chapter 7 [7:19]
8. Chapter 8 [5:42]

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Shooting the Past 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
TSC More than 1 year ago
This little-known gem has become my favorite movie (besides, maybe, To Kill a Mockingbird). I've watched it at least three times, and I rarely watch a movie more than once. It is completely original, and the acting is first-rate except for the actor who plays the American businessman (he's pretty wooden and never seems to be responding to the other actors/characters - just reciting his lines on cue). You will not regret buying this movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The opening narrator, Oswald Bates (Timothy Spall), dedicates this story to all who have experienced sudden and catastrophic change in their life. However, the film is also a delightful tribute to the world of photography and photo-journalism: those artisans who bring to life compelling stories via ''still'' photos. Aside from the enjoyment of watching several intriguing dramas occur simultaneously, it is also a marvelous tour de force for actors Lindsay Duncan and Timothy Spall.