This week’s Netflix pick is the long titled, The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies. Lost Honour is based on the real life story of the titular character who had his name dragged through the mud as part of a murder investigation. With everyone raving over Making A Murderer this telling seems very appropriate on the processes and how someone’s life can go so far off the rails just at the thought of the accusation.
Tired of hearing your friends say they’ve watched everything on Netflix? Are you finding yourself saying that as well? Maybe the argument of people too cheap to shell out the 8 dollars are saying ‘there used to be good stuff, but it’s all crap now.’ Maybe you find yourself spending more time scrolling than watching. Well I plan to put those idiotic statements and bad behavior to rest. On a week to week basis I will give a solid recommendation or two on what you can sign on, turn on, and enjoy. I’ll try to stay away from the massive titles that everyone knows since those have been covered to exhaustion everywhere else. I’m looking for the hidden gems. The indies, the big name stars in direct to streaming endeavors that are well crafted and creative but wouldn’t gross the 300 million needed to justify a theatrical wide release.
Christopher Jefferies (Jason Watkins) is a semi-retired english teacher. He is quirky and eccentric. He has an odd appearance with an obsessive comb over and long stringy hair that doesn’t fool anyone. He is well spoken, to an annoying degree, but isn’t unlikable at his core. He can be funny, he is well mannered, and tries to have a life beyond academics. Jefferies is a landlord in his retirement and keeps up good relations with his tenants. One winter day in 2010 a tenant of his, Joanna Yeates (Carla Turner) goes missing. Yeates is presumed dead and the odd Jefferies is the prime suspect. He is arrested and the media has a field day with his odd personality. Even after the police release Jefferies every aspect of his life is dissected and information is flat out fabricated in order to generate headlines. Jefferies has to make the tough call on trying to go back to his simple quiet life or fighting back.
The story behind Christopher Jefferies ordeal is very interesting. It delves deep into the life of a man who is on the strange side of normal, but normal. Setting up routines, hobbies, passions, friends, normality makes the impact of the accusations all the more real when they hit. The scriptwriter, Peter Morgan, does a phenomenal job at hitting the real life changing aspects of the accusation that most cop movies and hour long dramas gloss over. Every procedural cop show gets the suspect wrong at least one every week and never is the fallout shown. Lost Honour is all about the fallout. The repercussions take everything out of Jefferies life. His simple life seems so full after it’s disrupted. His time at the gym is uncomfortable, his dinner parties are over, people cross the street to avoid him, he can’t even go to the same shop to buy bread. The stress Jefferies is under over simple matters like his terrible haircut and the fact that he corrects people’s grammar is unreal.
While the story is interesting and treads new ground as far as the crime drama goes, the real centerpiece to the whole thing is Jason Watkins incredible performance. Watkins is no stranger to acting, he has over ninety credits on his resume. With all that being said Watkins will likely be unfamiliar to most American movie watchers. The mannerisms and speech pattern for Jefferies are so convincing you would think you’re watching the real thing and not a performance. He has a way of enunciating everything that is charming and grating at the same time. His corrections seem arrogant but are expected as a meticulous professor of English. Watkins’s performance is mesmerizing. The first quarter of the movie you don’t really like Jefferies, he is not a traditional lead. You couldn’t see yourself wanting to spend any time with this guy. By the time the core story of the movie gets rolling you don’t only sympathize with him but you can’t help but be outraged by the fear mongering and simple mindedness of the general population.
To stay out of spoiler territory I won’t delve into every intricacy of the lead character’s personality or the fallout that follow his accusation. The case and it’s resolution is a great story in itself and the dynamic of practically pushing it into the background is as unique and delicately handled as the rest of the script. There is a great celebrity cameo toward the end of the film that ties the story to the real world in a way that is crucial since the drama is based on real life events.
The telling of Christopher Jefferies story is timely and more relevant than ever in our world of headlines being cranked out so fast there is no cause to make sure they are correct. The way the story is told is fascinating. It feels like a look behind the curtain, a peek backstage. The fact that it is well acted and well paced is a huge bonus and makes The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies this week’s Netflix Pick.