Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

Red Riding

It was the third part of Red Riding last night. It was a David Morrissey Tour-de-force. A lot of the action was internal to his character, Maurice Jobson, and his awakening conscience. In a patchwork of flashbacks and visits to old characters we reinterpret all that has gone before, with better understanding, as Jobson comes to hate himself. It was extremely ambitious. The challenge of cramming resolution and explanation into two hours meant that it wasn't entirely successful either in explaining, or resolving. But I think a painful despairing emotional tone was achieved and sustained throughout, without falling off into sentiment.

The second episode - 1980 and the capture of the Ripper - remains the most successful - but the whole is greater than the sum. I think the episode 1980 might be better than the book, I think at least the last half hour transcended the final chapter of the book, whereas the other two episodes aren't as good as the books they were based on, but were still exceptional for modern telly. I think having read the stories helped me to understand what is happening on the telly.

What I most admire is that people - a lot of people including a wide range of fantastic actors - had faith in this challenging project, and did it justice. They knew they couldn't treat this like a darker version of A Touch of Frost.

This month there have been two media adaptations of great modern works of art - Watchmen and Red Riding - both have their flaws, but I think the translation does ornament the original, just like a good cover version illuminates an original song.

ETA News for SF fans: Incidentally, Tony Grisoni the writer who adapted the Red Riding trilogy also wrote The Owl in Daylight, a biopic of Philip K Dick (with embedded novel) starring Paul Giamatti, which is currently in post-production.
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