TV miniseries/films reviews: Sharpe, based on the novels by Bernard Cornwell
Sharpe is a TV series about Richard Sharpe, a fictional British soldier in the Napoleonic Wars. For those of us who love to watch men in uniform saving ladies in low-cut dresses, it doesn’t get much better than this. Sean Bean plays Sharpe to perfection. I started watching this series after falling for the talented Mr. Bean in his role as Boromir in Lord of the Rings. I have watched 14 out of 16 episodes. After 14 seemed to be a natural stopping point since (1) the Napoleonic Wars ended, and (2) I found Sean in a lovely version of Lady Chatterley that made watching Sharpe somewhat superfluous. (Somewhat = Sgt. Harper / Daragh O’Malley is not in Lady Chatterley.) The production website has a wealth of information on the series, so I’m not going to do much rehashing. What follows is a list of some of the more enjoyable scenes, characters, and plot devices (including spoilers).
11. Sharpe’s Mission
Harris poses as a butler and stops stupid Jane from being seduced by a poet.
Mark Strong plays Colonel Brand, a VERY handsome baddy who likes to strangle people with whips.
Introduction of Pyecroft, an explosives expert who wears a leather mask because half his face was blown off in an accident with a fuse. He takes a gypsy girl under his protection and by the end of the episode they are Madly In Love – very romantic.
Wellington: I’d be obliged if you’d show that fellow Shellington around the camp. I can’t spare another officer.
Sharpe: Yes, sir.
Wellington: Oh, and Sharpe, you better brace yourself. He’s a poet.
Sharpe: Poet, sir? My wife will be delighted.
Wellington: Really? Personally I’d rather call for the surgeon and have him cut off my goddamn foot with a saw.
12. Sharpe’s Revenge
Jane believes that her husband has stolen Napoleon’s treasure (I TOLD you she is an idiot; she needs to go back and watch the previous episodes: his name is ALWAYS cleared!). Plus she is in a snit because (gasp!) he defended her honor in a duel, so she goes back to England without him, withdraws his fortune from the bank, spends most of it, and sleeps with somebody else. Way to stand by your man, Jane!!!
Meanwhile, Sharpe gets shot by a woman using a musket loaded with a handful of nails. Frederickson straightens the woman out, performs surgery on Sharpe thereby saving his life, proposes to the woman, then leaves to find the one clue that will clear Sharpe’s name. Sharpe thanks him by sleeping with his woman. What a guy.
Another scene using clever substitutes for ammunition, and Sharpe finally kills Major Ducos. Good riddance. (Haven’t mentioned him before, have I? He’s the Supreme French Spy, a nasty piece of goods. Sharpe steps on his eyeglasses a number of times, which makes Ducos peevish.)
13. Sharpe’s Justice
UGH. Somebody trying to cash in on the success of North & South. Sharpe is hired to defend the Yorkshire mills from an uprising of locals. Jane flounces around and says cruel things. Lady Anne makes an appearance, leading me to despair once again that she and Sharpe are not a couple.
14. Sharpe’s Waterloo
Getting oh so tiresome. Sharpe chases Jane’s lover down a crowded staircase and the poor bloke pees on himself from fright. Sharpe tells him, “You can keep the whore, but I WANT MY MONEY!!!!”
Sharpe finally catches a glimpse of Napoleon Bonaparte, the man behind it all. Hagman and Harris are killed but die in each other’s arms. Really! Well, holding hands, actually.
I am intrigued by the remaining 2 episodes, especially since Toby Stephens plays the baddy in the first one, but not enough to watch them any time soon. I have better things to do! Like catching up on Season 2 of BBC’s Robin Hood. In other words, I have graduated from Sean Bean to Richard Armitage.
To be continued (hopefully) when Nan’s had a chance to watch the remaining two episodes!