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Red Riding: 1980 - The Ex-Communicator

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March 13th, 2009


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11:23 am - Red Riding: 1980
Martin at Everything is Nice blogs this morning about Red Riding: 1980 which was on last night.

Fuck me, 1980 might be the most harrowing film I have ever seen. It has the same awful impact of Irreversible but there is nothing gratuitous or voyeuristic here. As befits its subject matter - and the fact that real women died - it is remorselessly sombre and bleak. With the exception of one vivid, nightmarish scene it is entirely stripped of the surreal air of 1974, nor is there any of the period swagger of the previous film.


They managed to pull out the sticky thread of the plot from the book and transplant it to the TV medium, radically simplifying who does what without losing the integrity of the story. Not softening what Peter Sutcliffe did, and not making his character any less terrible than it is, but not exploiting the suffering of his victims (in my opinion).

I was just blogging about that visceral feeling you get when you know something is really good. I got that watching this last night - right from the very start, I was thinking 'Bloody hell this is good as anything you will ever see'. And you could tell the first class actors who were involved - Edward Fox for about 30 seconds for instance - knew it too.

Incidentally, to bring things down a bit, I though this week's Law and Order:UK - also about police corruption and prostitution - was utter and complete rubbish. It was so misogynist, so feeble and exploitative, that I'm not going to watch that program any more. Roughly the same subject area - a universe apart.

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Comments:


[User Picture]
From:the_magician
Date:March 13th, 2009 02:31 pm (UTC)
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Red Riding:
I didn't like it. I felt it was slow/ponderous, that it was too sepia-tinged, that people were unpleasant (it may be true, but I don't go to TV drama for "truth" but for entertainment or revelation). The subject matter was unpleasant, and in that it was very successful in conveying that unpleasantness ... I walked out of 1974 one hour in ... this I came in with 30 minutes to go and watched to the end ... and felt dirty and confused.

Harrowing, yes. I don't need or want harrowing. Remorseless, yes .. don't need that either.

I had no issue with the acting, but when I watch a good piece I want to be transported by the piece ... when I hear a good orchestra I want to be lost in the music, not admiring the cello player's technique. A good actor should disappear leaving only the "reality" of the character they are playing. I think they did that well in the bits I saw.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:March 13th, 2009 02:41 pm (UTC)
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Yes, I can certainly sympathise, because there are plenty of films I haven't watched for that one adjective in the reviews: harrowing. This one however, for some reason I can't quite define, didn't make me want to run away.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 14th, 2009 05:49 pm (UTC)

red riding

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I agree. I watched 60 minutes and then thought I had had enough. It was just plain heavy and too deep to poner anymore. It is supposed to be entertainment, not just long drawn out morbidity. The previous week was good. It moved faster and had a greater attraction. But the second one was just so turpid and drawn out. I had had enough and just switched to Brothers and Sisters for some crazy family conflicts.
Edward Fox was good, if for only a short time on screen and he continually moves away from the Day of the Jackal. I can't recognise the man anymore from that great movie. Of course, I know he is older, but he was got fatter.
So, I am not sure if I will watch the next RR next week. If it is just going to be dark, brooding, slow and turpid, then I will not. It is certainly NOT the best drama on Tv.
Spooks is miles ahead and will take years to overtake.
[User Picture]
From:nineveh_uk
Date:March 13th, 2009 04:21 pm (UTC)
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/via friends friends

I felt exactly the same about Law & Order. I actually sat down immediately afterwards and emailed a letter to ITV telling them why I would not be watching their perpetuation of misogynist stereotypes, and in particular the myth that women lie about rape.
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:March 13th, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)
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Good for you. I also hated the way that the women were shamed and browbeaten. Someone suggested it was because they recycled a script from about fifteen years ago? Not an excuse at all, though it may explain why it was so jarring.
[User Picture]
From:nineveh_uk
Date:March 13th, 2009 10:16 pm (UTC)
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I noticed that every single woman bar those in the Forces of L&O was a sex worker or (otherwise) criminal. Lovely.

I can well believe a script from 15 years ago.
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From:altariel
Date:March 17th, 2009 11:42 am (UTC)
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Nearly didn't watch RR this week as I'd found last week's incomprehensible and ponderous. But decided to stick with it. Definitely a much better piece, beautifully shot. Only halfway through, though, will try to watch the end tonight.
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From:communicator
Date:March 17th, 2009 01:25 pm (UTC)
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I quite like ponderous and pretentious stuff. The second half of last week's is the more disturbing bit I thought. That deaf actor, I forget his name, plays Peter Sutcliffe, to chilling effect.
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From:kalypso_v
Date:March 20th, 2009 12:36 pm (UTC)
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I didn't get round to watching it until this week... I had a slightly uneasy feeling about the Ripper story being a sideshow to the fictional plot. Which was fair enough, I suppose, as it's a piece of fiction, but the message I was left with was that THE POLICE ARE MUCH WICKEDER THAN THE RIPPER!!! Did you read Ian Jack's comments, in which he expressed unease at the balance of fact and fiction?
[User Picture]
From:communicator
Date:March 20th, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
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It's a very interesting article that I am split about 50/50 agree and disagree with. He seems to think that the middle class view - police don't swear that much, corruption didn't have much of an impact, beatings were rare - is the standard by which art should be judged. But in fact corruption and violence were endemic in the police in those days. Not common, but endemic. Does this mean they were worse than the Ripper? No, far from it. But it means this view of the world is no less accurate than a cosy one where police simply solve crimes, hampered by no more than incompetence.

ETA obviously kalypso I am not attributing thos views to you - I'm arguing impotently with Ian jack

Edited at 2009-03-20 04:44 pm (UTC)

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