A frustratingly not-terrible action thriller.
Tony has a vacation home in Spain now, with a veranda and a swimming pool. He's seen some hard times, but at 49, he is basking in contentment. We see him in the pool, tanned, splashing with his family.
When you live with Michael Apted's "Up" series of documentaries, there tends to be one character who most focuses your attention. For me, in "28 Up" through "42 Up," it was Neil, the troubled loner. As a boy, he wanted to be a tour bus guide, telling people what to look at. As an adult, he still has an impulse to lead and instruct, but it hasn't worked out, and he became a morose loner. In one film there was a shot of him standing next to a lake in Scotland, in front of his shabby mobile home, no one else in sight; I thought, "Neil will be dead by the next film."
It didn't work out that way, and Neil provides the biggest surprise of "42 Up." But Tony's development in some ways may be as fundamental as a transition. What happens to him helps illustrate the importance, even the nobility, of this most extraordinary series of documentaries.
In 1963, Granada Television in Britain commissioned a film about a group of children born in 1956. Drawn mostly from the upper and lower ends of the British class system, they were asked about their plans and dreams. The idea was to revisit them every seven years and see how they were doing. As a plan, this was visionary, even foolhardy, but here we are at "49 Up," and the children of the 1963 film have children and grandchildren of their own. Anyone who has followed he series develops a curious fascination with their lives, because they are lives. This is not reality TV with its contrivances and absurdities, but a meditation on lifetimes.