EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|RED RIDING: IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD 1980 (director: James Marsh; screenwriters: from the novel by David Peace/Tony Grisoni; cinematographer: Igor Martinovic; editor: Jinx Godfrey; music: Dickon Hinchliffe; cast: Paddy Considine (Peter Hunter), Warren Clarke (Bill Molloy), James Fox (Philip Evans), Maxine Peake (Helen Marshall), Tony Pitts (John Nolan), David Morrisey (Maurice Jobson), Sean Harris (Bob Craven), Peter Mullan (Martin Laws), Tony Mooney (Tommy Douglas), David Calder (Sir John Marsden), Robert Sheehan (BJ), Jim Carter (Harold Angus), Lesley Sharp (Joan Hunter), Joseph Mawle (The Ripper); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Andrew Eaton/Anita Overland/Wendy Brazington; IFC Films; 2009-UK)|
|"An amazing conceit."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
seen first in England on Channel 4 as a five-hour mini-series
(seen by me in the States on the Sundance Channel), and is divided into three parts named
after the years in which they take place—1974, 1980, and 1983. There are
three different directors—Julian Jarrold (1974), Anand
Tucker (1983) and for the middle version, the one reviewed, James
Marsh ("Man on Wire"). This gives
it three distinctly different looks. The
weighty andv elegant screenplay is by Tony Grisoni, who
adapts it from the Yorkshire-born
writer David Peace's novel (skipping the second volume to base this
version on the third volume).
The first film was shot in
blurry Super 16-millimeter
film, while this version improves the visuals considerably with a
glossy shooting in 35-millimeter
and by having the talented Igor
as its cinematographer.
The story revolves on the Home Office bringing into the investigation of the 13
unsolved Yorkshire murders the "crusading" Peter Hunter (Paddy
Considine). He's an outsider from Manchester brought in to conduct an
review of the police investigation of the Yorkshire Ripper murders
(true life cases, but the novel takes liberties with the facts and only
offers a loose blueprint to the events), as the community is screaming
mad at the police for bungling the investigation and making no
arrests--and the newspapers are calling for an arrest. Peter is allowed
to pick on his team two police officers who previously worked with him
on the case, as he left the case a few years ago because his wife had a
miscarriage. Peter chooses those he thinks he can trust, the efficient John Nolan (Tony Pitts) and the competent
Helen Marshall (Maxine
Peake), the attractive lady cop with whom he previously had an affair.
The operation is based in Leeds, and the three undercover investigators
stay in a hotel there.
Problems arise from the
beginning, as Peter and the gruff Yorkshire police bosses - Maurice Jobson
(David Morrissey), Harold Angus (Jim
Carter), and Billy
Molloy (Warren Clarke) offer no help. Also not helping matters is that the investigating group's "liaison" with
the regular officers,
Bob Craven (Sean Harris), has things to hide and is not upfront with
Hunter. The prior clumsy investigation of the serial killings points to
inept snooping by the police and their interference with the
investigation indicates there's a massive cover-up. This leaves us
wondering if there are any cops that we can trust, when even the clean
Hunter also is covering up his unprofessional actions from the past.
The noirish thriller, though
an amazing conceit in how it lays culpability of the brutal crimes to
both the killer and the dark side of Yorkshire, is bogged down with the
intricacies of the case, police speaking with heavy Yorkshire accents
that foreigners like myself may have trouble understanding (could have
used subtitles) and a poor editing job (things seemed too rushed). The
so-called honest cop, Hunter, tries to navigate around his past sexual
unfriendly working relationship with the Yorkshire authorities and
threats on his life by what seems to be colleagues on the force
(including his house burned down in an arson attack). What eventually
happens to him is haunting.
The cynical mantra of this
down-and-dirty unconventional cop story trilogy is “This is the North, where we do what we
want,” which is used to explain why it's not that surprising this
investigation was so botched by the close-knit Yorkshire police and
that police corruption is so rampant.
REVIEWED ON 3/10/2011 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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