The Scapegoat (2012)

Television Film | Thriller | UK | English | 1h40m
Dir: Charles Sturridge | Scr: Charles Sturridge | Novel: Daphne Du Maurier | Ph: Matt Gray | Prod: Sarah Beardsall & Dominic Minghella | Mus: Adrian Johnston | Ed: Adam Green | PD: Will Hughes-Jones | AD: Karl Probert | Snd: Robert Brazier | Cast: Matthew Rhys, Eileen Atkins, Alice Orr-Ewing, Sheridan Smith, Jodhi May, Andrew Scott, Eloise Webb, Sylvie Testud, Anton Lesser, Pip Torrens, Phoebe Nicholls

After being dismissed from his position of master at an elite public boarding school, John Standing finds himself with an uncertain future. However, fate soon plays a strange hand, bringing him into contact with his doppelgänger, Johnny Spence, in a public house. Plied with drink, Spence steals Standing’s identity, and disappears into the night, fleeing from the mess that he has made of his family’s manufacturing business. Reluctantly at first, Standing assumes his wealthy double’s identity, and sets about repairing the damage done by him to both his professional and home lives. However, when the bounder resurfaces, all of his good work is put in doubt. Sturridge’s adaptation of Du Maurier’s novel is for the most part diverting. However, much of it feels rather underdeveloped, with its long, drawn-out ending proving a particular hindrance to its enjoyment. The performances are also something of a mixed bunch, with the usually excellent Testud’s heavily accented turn proving particularly awkward. Never the less, a decent central performance, good period detail, and an enjoyably silly central conceit just about hold the attention for the majority of its running time.