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Ghost Canyon

'Masterpiece Contemporary: Framed'
(Trevor Eve, Eve Myles, et al / DVD / NR / 2010 / PBS)

Overview: When the National Gallery is flooded, the stuffy curator is forced to flee to the mountains of Wales, along with the paintings. He gets more than he bargained for when he meets the townspeople.

DVD Verdict: Personally, I've always loved Trevor Eve's acting - from Shoestring through to (the criminally-canceled) Waking The Dead. Watching this new Masterpiece Contemporary film, 'Framed,' sure it's Eve at a much slower, older pace, but it still features many flashes of his true TV brilliance.

Running at only an hour and twenty minutes, 'Framed' tells the story of senior curator Quentin Lester (Eve) and a dramatic solution to a drastic problem that he undertakes. Basically, The National Gallery in London has flooded, and Lester proposes that the entire collection of priceless paintings should be removed from London and stored in an abandoned slate mine inside a Welsh mountain - as they were during the Second World War.

And so, soon after this has been done, Lester quickly finds that even in a sleepy Welsh town (Manod, just up the road from Cwm Teigl), people's attention to detail, their curiosity can be peaked. One of my favorite scenes from 'Framed' actually takes place early on, when Lester, sat idling on a country road, runs into a local lad, Dylan Hughes (Samuel Davies). After they have a very brief (literally passing) conversation - Lester on the great master artists of the past, Hughes on the TMNT (albeit they both are talking about the same tangential names re: Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello and Leonardo) - Lester mistakes Hughes for an art history genius!

That said, when the lovely Angharad Stannard (Eve Myles from Torchwood) sits with him in his car and explains just who the TMNT are, well, ... priceless!

From then on it, Lester falls foul of misconceptions and soon the town's quirkiest of characters come out of the woodwork. Local characters such as the friendly butcher (who still sees Elvis), a local lass; the aforementioned Angharad Stannard, the enigmatic local school teacher that has her sights set on him (to which he's blind to), and an eight-year-old criminal genius want a piece of the paintings he is trying so hard to preserve!

Based on Frank Cottrell Boyce's best-selling children's novel, 'Framed' is full of charm, wonderful cinematic photography, rolling Welsh hillsides, and colorful, heartfelt characters. Indeed, one of the true turning points of the film is when, down underneath the surface in the caves, Angharad turns to our hero and says, 'You don't understand any of these paintings, at all.' It's then that Lester's eyes begin to open. Well, then and when the Hughes kids decide to steal one of the paintings from the cave! [RT] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.