Review: Thandie Newton is the weak link in Rogue

Rogue

Rogue: If this were porn it would win a Woody!

Entertainment One and the UK’s Greenroom Entertainment have teamed up to bring us this little romp through Oakland’s seedy underbelly, shot in Vancouver in 2012. Rogue premieres April 3 on Movie Central/The Movie Network in Canada and DirecTV in the US.

Thandie Newton plays Grace, billed as “a morally and emotionally conflicted undercover detective who is tormented by the possibility that her own actions contributed to her son’s death.”

In pursuit of the murderer she turns her back on the police force and goes “rogue” by re-infiltrating Jimmy Laszlo’s crime family. Her home life begins to breakdown as she and Jimmy set their sites on flushing out the mole in his organization who, incidentally, could also be her son’s killer.

Unfortunately, Newton is the weakest link in an overall good series. Her character is complex and swings between despondency, abrasiveness and outright hostility in the space of a minute. The actress, however, is unconvincing and wooden at either end of the emotional spectrum, and the overall effect is confusion with a hint of high school drama class flair.

Though Newton is the headliner, it is supporting actor Marton Csokas who shines as Jimmy Laszlo, the multifaceted gangster/devoted father/romantic interest. His delivery is gritty and intense, especially in contrast with his co-star’s insipid performance. That, combined with the decent writing and supporting actors, makes this reviewer hopeful that Newton can pull it together in the next few episodes.

For those of you who need a more compelling reason to watch, I suspect Newton has signed on for X number of breast shots this season as they were gratuitous in the first 2 episodes alone. Not only do we get an artistic overhead shower view, but they throw in a porn-style shaky-cam zoom-in nipple shot for good measure. In fact I wish this were a porn, because then I could call her acting top notch.

The only thing we see more of than her breasts are her shoes. Seriously, what is with all the close ups of her shoes? There are at least 3 shoe shots per episode. Is this a metaphor for Grace’s journey, or is the fact that she prefers high-heeled wedges for dangerous undercover work important to the plot?

You can decide yourself because episode 1 is available free-of-charge on demand and at www.moviecentral.ca and www.themovienetwork.ca. The Rogue web series rolls out online beginning March 29 and the show debuts with a special two-hour TV event on Wednesday, April 3.

By Martha Marcin

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Diane Wild

Diane is the founder of TV, eh? She loves books, movies, TV, science, space, traveling, theatre, art, cats, and drinking multiple beverages at the same time.
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