Faith (1994)

“Bugger right and bugger left.”

Faith–a made for British Television miniseries examines the murky world of politics and nature of ambition through a handful of characters. Faith has an excellent cast, and the acting is stellar, but the film is so morally bankrupt that its conclusion is a huge disappointment.

The film begins in Africa with the death of Helena Reckitt (Robin Weaver) a young, white woman who’s senselessly shot and killed by paramilitary forces who’ve been sold guns by a British arms dealer. Turns out the arms dealer may possibly be linked to M-I6, and it seems as though the government may have turned a blind eye to the sale of these weapons….

Helena’s pointless death is a small segment of the film, yet it turns out to have great significance as the story develops. The main action, however, concerns tabloid reporter Nick Simon (John Hannah). With job cuts at the paper, there’s pressure to produce headlines from his vicious boss (Connie Booth). One night, Nick goes on a blind date with Holly Moreton (Susannah Harker). She tells Nick that her famous politician father, Peter Moreton (Michael Gambon) is having an affair with his secretary. This information creates a dilemma for Nick. Should he use the info and land a sensational, career-building story, or should he keep his mouth shut and develop his promising relationship with Holly?

The rest of the film is devoted to twists and turns as Helena Reckitt’s family tries to pursue some type of ‘justice’ for their daughter in the trial of the arms dealer, and the tabloids sink their teeth into Moreton’s private life. The dealer’s defense is that he worked for MI6, and that the government knew he was selling the guns. Moreton, as it turns out, is deeply involved, and he’s pivotal to the case.

Moreton, played by the very skilled actor, Michael Gambon, is portrayed as a rather disgusting person. While to the public eye, he’s often seen as the “moral voice” of his political party, in his private life, he’s snide, cynical and elitist. He views the death of Helena as a nuisance–almost as though she deliberately got in the way of a bullet just to cause him aggravation.

Through a series of events, Moreton experiences an epiphany that is utterly unbelievable. Given his earlier behaviour, it’s ludicrous to hear his whining about how he sacrificed his family for the sake of his political party. But what’s even more incredible is the inherent racism displayed by this character and simply swept under the rug by the plot. You see, as it turns out, to Moreton it’s perfectly ok for the government to sell guns to African paramilitaries to fuel wars, but it’s NOT ok for a WHITE UK citizen to be deliberately killed by guns provided by the same British gunrunner. The film fails to examine or even bother with the morality of selling guns to kill Africans. It’s the deliberate murder of a white UK citizen that brings about Moreton’s epiphany–the Africans don’t even enter into the equation. Once Moreton goes through the moral motions of realizing his mistake over the death of Helena, he’s suddenly one of the script’s “good guys.” This sudden moral redemption is shallow and yet we seem to be supposed to take Moreton’s remorse seriously.

The plot’s twists and turns, one lot of people screwing over the other lot of people only serve to illustrate the complete and utter moral bankruptcy of everyone involved. There are no heroes here, and it’s hard even to care for the ‘hero’ Nick. Morally bankrupt and soulless, Faith is so out of whack it fails to recognize its own white imperialist, privileged white message. From director John Strickland.

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