I never understood Angel's theory of Skinner being worried about his business. It is not like he actually owns the Somerfield in the village, if it were to close down he would be moved to a nearby store.
It might be a franchise operation.
^This. Franchises are owned by the franchise owner, which in this case is Skinner.
Alternatively, he might just have really liked living in Sandford and not wanted to be posted somewhere else (which could just as easily have been Scotland as a nearby town).
Somerfield has offered franchise since 2004.
How on earth did the NWA explain away the deaths of all those underage kids at the pub? Wouldn't more parents be up in arms and distraught over all of their kids having "accidents" at the same time? I mean, the rest of the movie I absolutely love and I know I shouldn't think about it too hard, but I can't help but wonder how they could dispatch all those teenagers and nobody noticed.
It's not any more unlikely than the other dozens of murders the NWA commited.
Yes but how come the police didn't investigate those "accidents" like they did the others? That's the part that just bugs me, I mean if everyone in town knows about the deaths of Eve Draper, George Merchant, Leslie Tiller, etc, wouldn't the death of all those teenagers at the same time at least be noted by the police?
The chief of police could easily have identified them as runaways.
I can see that, but then what did they tell their parents happened?
...they told their parents they were runaways after their disappearance was noticed.
With the chief inspector being in on the plot, exactly how is higher authority supposed to notice anything suspicious? That would take either a suspicious anomaly in the annual crime statistics (which isn't going to happen, as this place is an isolated country district that's not going to look too abnormal if it consistently reports nothing serious going on), or if one of their (deliberately) lazy and inept homicide "investigations" is watched over by a more competent investigator from 'outside'. Which is exactly what happened when Sgt. Angel arrived, but not until then, as none of the instances of possible wrongful death were of people important enough to draw special investigators from London and Lord knows that no competent or energetic police detective would ever assign themselves to that district willingly.
It's just as likely that the parents were in on it the whole time, and willingly murdered their kids for "The Greater Good".
The greater good...
It's equally (or even more) likely that some people in Sandford knew, if not of the whole conspiracy, that something horribly wrong was behind the seemingly idyllic façade, but were too terrified of ending up victims of more "accidents". Proof would be that NWA members kept hidden firearms ready to use, as we see when the Final Battle breaks out, to strengthen their silent reign of terror. And, did you notice that on that day, when the judges for the "Best Village" contest were to come, barely anybody beside the NWA was out on the streets?
On a similar note: Why kill the underage drinkers in the first place? The couple owning the pub knew that they were underage and let them in regardless. This was explained as being for the greater good, because at least when they are in the pub they won't loiter around in the streets. The pub is exactly where the NWA wanted the kids to be, so why kill them for it?
They didn't kill ALL the underage drinkers, only the ones who, after being ejected from the pub, went out and caused trouble. Puts the motives of the pub owners into a somewhat lighter shade of grey—in allowing underage kids in the pub, they really were keeping them out of trouble outside, and thereby saving their lives. Suddenly, their annoyance at Nick after he's emptied the pub seems a little less petty....
Huh. I hadn't thought of that. And thusly, a headscratcher turns into Fridge Brilliance...
The way I see it, far from lightening the shade of grey they occupy it actually just further exposes what nasty little hypocrites the NWA fundamentally are. They're quite happy to take the money of people contrary to their vision of a perfect shiny happy community, but when they no longer benefit from it they use their self-righteousness as an excuse to murder them. Those kids would also have been less likely to be causing trouble after being expelled from the pub if they hadn't been drinking in it in the first place. Or alternatively, they're grooming future victims; the pub would have to close and those kids stop drinking and get kicked out sometime even if Angel hadn't been there, and they'd be just as likely to cause trouble that would attract the attention of the NWA later rather than sooner (perhaps more so, since they'd be even drunker). Not to mention that even if we accept the above as true, their annoyance at Angel for making new victims didn't actually stop them from killing those victims; if they were that upset over the prospect of having to murder those kids they could, you know, not murder those kids. It's hardly anything to laud them over. It's more likely (to me, anyway) that they're annoyed because they've lost a good night's income and maybe have a bit more work to do in cleaning up the village and couldn't give a toss about the safety of those kids.
Alternatively, they could have killed the underage drinkers because they were caught. Having an epidemic of underage drinking would look bad in the crime statistics, but it wouldn't have to be reported if the perpetrators simply disappeared after being let off with a "warning" rather than being properly processed. For a similar reason, the shoplifter also turns up dead: the NWA don't object to petty criminals, but to petty crimes making their village seem less than ideal. This also makes Nick Angel indirectly and unknowingly responsible for their deaths, since if he hadn't brought them in they wouldn't have needed to be killed.
Which would also mean that Sgt. Turner potentially saved Danny's life. Having told him to sleep it off after Angel hauled him in meant Angel couldn't process him, but the underage drinkers (and the shoplifter) were processed. It could be that if someone gets on public record, they dispatch them so the records can stay right where they are, and never go through any part of the judicial side. It's like reverse padding of the statistics. Even with his father being who he is, had Angel properly booked Danny the first night he might have also signed his death warrant as well.
Death Faked For You
Why did Danny feel the need to fake Nicholas' death if he had no idea the NWA was murdering people? Just what did he think Nicholas was in trouble for? Just what did he think his dad was doing with all those people with clubs and pitchforks trying to kill Nicholas?
Its pretty obvious that they were, y'know, trying to kill Angel, what with the knives and pitchforks. He knew he had to fake Angel's death in order to save him. The rest of it was obviously due to Danny being confused and uncertain as to what he should do with the NWA killing everyone; the fact that he immediately took up arms and joined Angel when he returned says he was wanting to stop them but was unable to do so on his own.
Pretty much, yes. He was being dumb and in denial.
No, but he knew that Nicholas was going on a suicide mission before he left for the castle, after the fight with Lurch. That's why he gave Nick his notebook - that was when he set it up with the packet of ketchup. So by the time Nick was attacked, Danny would have already guessed that eventually Nick would find out what was behind all the murders, confront them, and probably lose. Maybe he was hoping that Nick would give up the chase and not go the way Popwell did, but when they sent Lurch after him that made him give up being in denial.
I think it is vaguely suggested that Danny has, shortly before, been informed of the whole plot by his father, probably no more than an hour before he finds Angel. He had probably hoped that he would be able to get him out of town quietly, or organise a plan, but, alas.
I understood that Danny knew his father and the NWA were capable of killing Nicholas, but he was trying to justify it because it was his dad. "This is a one time thing", "there's no other way", "he brought this on himself". He tried to tell himself Nicholas Angel was wrong, that his father had nothing to do with the accidents, and his persistence has made him a necessary evil that the NWA had no choice but to kill—even though it would only take a small leap of logic to figure out that the only reason why Nicholas would be under attack from the NWA was if they were involved in the murders he was investigating. In short; Danny is in denial, and trying to think of a way in which nobody he loves is a bad guy; his father is doing what needs to be done, and Nicholas is sadly mistaken.
Angel's train changeover wait
This is a really small thing to be bugged by, but Angel goes from London to Sanford on train with a long change over wait somewhere. It gets dark during this short montage and there's repeated cuts to Angel checking his phone. Throughout the whole trip his phone battery doesn't go down by so much as one bar. This strikes me as a little unlikely.
Really? I've had a few phones and they can last for days without the power going down.
More than a few trains now have electricity sockets solely for the use of mobile phones/laptops. It's possible that he's had it on charge for the bits that aren't part of the montage.
Additionally, my phone tends to spend 90% of its time on full, then spend its last hour going down really quickly until it's empty.
He may have spare cell phone batteries. After all, he had two pens on him when he was off duty.
If my phone's fully loaded, it takes it more than a day to go down a power bar.
Mine's solid for a day, then goes downhill quick.
I have my cellphone on 24/7 and I don't think I've charged it in more than a week.
Older phones with less software on them (like Angel's) hold their battery power very well. Mine is outdated by about 4 years, but I can leave it on for about 5 days before the battery bar drops slightly. As opposed to, say, an iPhone, which depending on how many apps are installed tends to last just over two days or so.
Also, assuming Sandford's supposed to be in roughly the same area as it's filmed (That is, Wells, in North Somerset), it only takes about four hours - or rather would, if there was a train station there - to get there on the train from London. Sorry, Lon-don.
When Angel was equipping himself for the Final Battle, why didn't he take any of the station's riot gear?
Riot gear is kept in the armory, not the evidence room. He would have had to explain himself to whatever duty officer (or equivalent) was in charge, as opposed to just taking stuff from the evidence room which nobody pays attention to because it's a small-town police station.
Also, what good would the riot gear have done? He had the most important piece of equipment already, a bullet-proof vest. He was loaded for bear when he left the station; a riot shield and helmet would just have hindered his ability to use all that stuff.
Also, when you see the other officers later on, they're all wearing the riot gear. He can't really use something that's already in use, right?
Possibly a minor point, but it's not a bullet-proof vest. It's either an anti-stab vest or stab-resistant vest (depending on the local police service's vocab guidelines). Bullet-resistant vests tend to be issued only to Armed Response Units/Firearms Squads and occasionally as part of riot gear. While Nick was a member of the Met's Firearms unit, he was transferred out, and thus should have handed his back in.
Which makes one wonder how exactly it stopped those two shots from Reverend Shooter.
Reverend Shooter was using a pair of NAA Mini-Revolvers with 1 5/8 inch barrels. That is chambered for .22 LR and .22 Short. It is not difficult to believe that a .22 Short round, at 5 to 7 yards (Nick is easily 15 feet away from the Rev at the time of the shooting), could be stopped by even an anti-stab vest.
Same reasons he rides in on a beautiful white horse wearing sunglasses, chewing a toothpick and packing enough heat to fight a small war; not only does it look cooler, it's also sending a pretty big "fuck you, I'm not scared of you tosspots, let's bring this shit ON" message to the N.W.A.
Why do they have riot gear?
On that note, why does the police force of a tiny village like that even HAVE riot gear? Considering how convincing the masquerade was, it wasn't like they'd have ever used it.
Because they needed to spend their budget to ensure they didn't get it cut next year and there was an approved list of things they could spend it on. Truth in Television, if you run any government funded service unless you spend every last penny (some might say overspend) each financial year then the bean counters in the relevant ministry will cut your funding for the next financial year.
They might not have even BOUGHT the riot gear, it might have been allocated to them by the county government. At that point there's really no getting rid of it besides throwing it in the trash. And they had the storage space, why bother doing anything but keeping it?
Most police forces operate on a policy of being Crazy-Prepared for any eventuality; although they live in the quiet countryside, it's better to assume that they might someday need riot gear even if they don't use it rather than find themselves in a situation where they actually do need the riot gear and are caught with out it.
They actually might well need it, often for big riots police are called in from neighbouring stations to supplement local forces.
On the subject of that, I think it's an Artifact or whatever the trope name is for the time before the village became so corrupt, back when the police still gave a shit. The old riot gear from that was still around because why bother getting rid of it, especially when it might help Butterman and the others in a desperate situation to instill "the greater good"?
The greater good....
Assuming Sandford is where Wells actually is in real life (wells being where the film was... filmed), it's very near the site of Glastonbury Festival, one of the biggest music festivals in the world. Glasto is where riot police go to train in crowd control.
Glass in the door
When the flower lady gets murdered in front of Nicholas, he throws his baton at the door so it will shatter, so he doesn't have to open the door. Smart, but then he tries to force through it anyway, making him fall down, even though the door was already shattered. Just seems unnecessary.
Actually, he doesn't try to force the door. He jumps through the unbroken glass of the other door. Apparently the doors had glass so nice they broke it twice.
It looks like the glass had partially shattered, and Angel was just leaping through the rest of the way before the remaining glass had fallen.
Maybe the door was locked? She was about to close shop when he came, wasn't she? Not that she'd lock Nickolas out but if the door locked on its own after him?
Transferring Nicholas to the countryside
I’m not that familiar with the structure and organization of the English police services, so I might be making a stupid mistake, but how could the London Metropolitan Police transfer Nicholas all the way to Sanford, in Gloucestershire? Wouldn’t that be like the NYPD transferring a police officer to somewhere in Ohio?
For starters, England is a much smaller country. Distance wise, it'd be more like the NYPD transferring an officer to upstate NY. Aside from that, I don't know much about the English police service either, but the implication in the film seemed to be that it was fairly standard for a big city cop to not-quite-retire to a quiet little town eventually.
What I meant was, how can the Metropolitan Police transfer Nicholas to a town well outside of its jurisdiction? Or did they simply threaten to destroy his career if he didn't transfer on his own?
Probably the latter as while it's perfectly valid for an officer to transfer from the Met to Gloucestershire, they'd normally have to request it themselves.
The UK doesn't have a state structure like the US. The Met have jurisdiction everywhere.
The Met are responsible for policing in the Greater London area only, with the exception of the City of London (which has its own police service). It does have national jurisdiction for counter-terrorism, the protection of the Royal Family and of the Government, however.
Also, it is indicated that they pulled some strings with higher-ups to get Nick transferred. A significant part of the London police wanted to get rid of him anyway.
It is mentioned on the commentary track by the two serving officers that it is not possible to get promoted to another service.
Analyzing the blood from the murder scene
Just a small one. Why didn't it occur to Nick to get the blood left on the glass from Leslie Tiller's murder analyzed?
With Stadford being small they wouldn't have the technology to do it, and it would take days for it to be sent to the nearest place to be analyzed and sent back, taking up to much time.
And that's assuming the stupidly uncooperative police force would send it off in the first place.
Not to mention: testing the blood will tell you that...it's blood. There's still provisions in UK law for DNA testing requiring consent or a warrant, so without someone to test it against, it's useless as evidence.
He could have tried it, though.
What are they going to even find in the blood? Fragments of the shears she slipped and fell on?
OP is referring to the shard of glass that the murder cut their leg on.
Could be that he just didn't have the time: maybe he was planning on doing that after confirming that Skinner had the wound, and after it turned out Skinner didn't have it, he was a) pretty agitated b) waiting to find another suspect? He could have gotten back to work the next day but then he was attacked and found out about the conspiracy.
Everyone has guns?
Here's a glaring one: Why are English police/farmers in possession of firearms?
Did you somehow get the impression that firearms are illegal or something in England? Because they aren't. Not remotely. It's police policy for cops not to regularly carry guns, but that doesn't at all mean that no cops in England have or use firearms. It says right in the intro that Angel was part of a specially armed response squad.
The heated political discussion in the US (sometimes on both sides, even) seems to imply that "gun control" is the same as "gun ban". That's not true. It's more like how there is control over who gets to drive a car but that doesn't mean that driving a car is illegal. It just means you have to be over a certain age and acquire a license for it.
As for farmers, they have guns for the same reason farmers everywhere usually have guns — to get rid of vermin and pests that could potentially threaten their livestock and / or crops, and thus consequently their livelihoods. The gun rules in the UK are a lot stricter than they are in America and other places — those farmers will still need permits for them — but guns are by no means unheard of, even if they're not common.
Well rifles and shotguns are pretty common in rural England but handguns are a LOT harder to get a license for but if I recall correctly only one or two of the villagers were using handguns.
The OP specifies 'farmers', not 'villagers in general'. In any case, similar point — guns aren't unheard of in the UK. It would be harder for the villagers to acquire their guns, but it's certainly not impossible. There's the black market, there's weapons people have stored from the war, and so forth.
There's a brilliant explanation in "Fridge". To sum up, there were several large firearms amnesties in the '80s and '90s, during which large amounts of illegal firearms, mostly war souvenirs, were collected. In Sandford, the chief of police siphoned off the cream of the crop and stashed it, just in case.
Ghost Town Climax?
Where is everyone else in town during the big shootout? There was no one else out on the streets! You would think someone would have been in the supermarket or on their way there despite all the hubbub.
While the rest of the town might not be aware that the NWA is killing everybody, I could still see the NWA "nudging" them all to stay indoors and keep the peace while the judges are there, hence why it's only NWA members outside.
Chances are, almost everyone not in or with the NWA had already been killed.
Jossed. There are only 24 conspirators. Many, many people are seen wandering around or at social gatherings in the town. More mentions are made to townsfolk who weren't even seen. More likely, the town had at least a few hundred people in and around the farms. The police force did have like a dozen people and the town had a super market so it's not like it was THAT small. Just look at how many people are at the carnival. Also, did anyone else notice that Tony Fisher had a son? It's not like the character's we saw ( conspirators included) didn't have families that we didn't see ( didn't know about the plot). After all, the shoplifter was Danny's cousin. Not to mention we didn't see Danny's aunt, the aunt's brother, or the aunt's brother's sister who was the shoplifter's mother.
When giant gunbattles start raging in the streets, most people exercise their forebrains and go home and stay inside, away from all the bullets.
Why is Lurch, who is mentally handicapped, doesn't know the difference between right and wrong and is clearly afforded leniency under the law, tossed in jail with the people who knowingly and willfully murdered tons of people?
He, along with the rest, wasn't being tossed in jail; he was shown being arrested and processed, the first part of the British arrest system (and the info-notes made sure to point out that he was the only one to show regret during his picture taking). It is without doubt that there is going to be waves of testimonies (not at least from Nicholas Angel) to prove that he is mentally handicapped and that he is going to be sent to a care facility before long.
Cause of death doesn't match murder method
Why, in his murder attempt, did Lurch try and stab Angel when the cover story was going to be that he slipped and broke his neck? Surely even the idiots in the Sandford Police Service would have realised that he hadn't slipped because of the gigantic knife wound in his chest?
Actually, if you look closely during the fight, for most of it Lurch is trying to take on Angel in hand-to-hand, likely trying to subdue him so he can break his neck. It isn't until Angel proves to be a lot more than Lurch can handle with his bare hands that he resorts to the knife. That being said, the NWA could easily have changed their cover story to go from "slipped and broke his neck" to "slipped and broke some glass that stabbed him in the heart."
Lurch also isn't exactly the smartest of men, and the police were so house-trained that they'd probably believe anything they were told; the details would probably change slightly but the overall effect would remain the same. They'd just remove the knife and replace it with something else.
More likely, they probably would believe it if that happened. This is, after all, the same police force who, after looking at a woman with garden shears stabbed into her neck and listening to London's top cop talk about how he chased the murderer, say "Yep. Accident."
Tall Poppy Syndrome
I understand the whole Tall Poppy Syndrome thing, but I don't really understand how Angel having one of the best arrest records in London Metropolitan Police would make everybody look bad. Yes, to be sure, his fellow colleagues would be jealous, but wouldn't his section chief and superiors get plenty of compliments about how well they are keeping the peace? I just found it a bit weird that a whole chain of superiors would decide to transfer the best member of their team.
The implication of the opening scene is that even the chief thought Angel was kind of a twat and couldn't stand to be around him.
There's also the implication that the higher-ups would demand that of every officer under the chief's command or that Angel might take his job soon.
The whole idea was that everyone else looked bad in comparison. If he gets, say, 100 arrests, and the next-best gets 25, third 24, etc., it looks like the rest are lazy and he is the only good cop, which could, potentially, have a demoralizing effect. If, on the other hand he wasn't there, the arrests would be a lot more equally distributed. I think they had counted on his arrests being somewhat devided among the remaining officers, not that the perps would mostly all escape. The logic and reasoning might not be sound, but I don't think they were supposed to be.
Angel obsessed with law?
Don't you think that Angel is a bit too much attached to the police law ? During the climax he never shoot to kill. Considering all the monstruos mass murderes the NWA committed and their demented reasons don't you think Angel should have gone in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge ?
That misses the point of his whole character, and of the rest of the movie.
It also serves as a perfect refutation of the methods of the N.W.A, who went outside the law and became monsters; while his methods there are perhaps on the extreme side, Angel stays within the law and manages to bring them to justice, thus demonstrating that the system ultimately works.
Exactly. Of course he's not shooting to kill - Angel believes in the law above all, and would want to bring the NWA to justice. See his backstory, the bit about believing that upholding the law being something pure. Killing when there's a way to avoid it is exactly the sort of behaviour he would consider himself above.
One thing that some people don't seem to know about gun safety is that there is really no such thing as "shooting to disable." With any kind of gun, if you are willing to even point a gun at something, that means that you are definitely willing to kill or destroy it. Angel is characterized as a by-the-books cop, and when a cop gets shot at, they take cover, call backup (if they can, he can't until later), and shoot back as accurately as possible to end the problem for everyone involved. Either Angel is such an incredible shot that he knows exactly where and what he's shooting (a shot to arm or leg can still kill) or he just got extremely lucky with no deaths. It just wouldn't harmonize with his character if he actually went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, so no casualties, it's more convenient for the story. Imagine if a big-shot cop was "retired" to a small, quaint town, then shot up and killed a bunch of middle aged men and women, blaming it on a conspiracy.
Nicholas Angel is basically Supercop. Of course he's such an awesome shot he knows exactly where and what he's shooting at to minimize the chance of fatalities. It's also worth pointing out that a lot of the time, he's not aiming directly at people; he's aiming at their surroundings, and tactically using them to disable them as much as possible. In fact, if memory serves most of the actual N.W.A members who get shot directly are in fact shot by Danny.
It's also easier to prove a conspiracy exists when all the conspirators are still alive and complaining how their plans have been foiled.
Sgt Popwell's beard
Yes, it does make for some great big bushy Memetic Mutation fuel, but isn't it strange that Popwell, who was supposed to be a big city cop who is obsessed with the book (just like Nicholas), would have had such an enormous Santa/Father Christmas beard? It's most probably not tolerated by police regulations, not to mention it would be highly untypical for an officer of the Met to own such a tremendous thing. After all, none of the other London peelers seems to own any facial hair in the entire film...
Well, everybody has their quirks? Maybe that's how he ended up in the countryside?