Monday, October 25, 2010

RED RIDING TRILOGY (2009) - Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, Anand Tucker


After devoting roughly five hours of my weekend to this three-part UK television serial-killer-cum-police-corruption crime procedural, I feel like I should have more to say about it. But I'm going to take a cue from the old Yorkshire PD and remain relatively tight-lipped.

This series is a study in obfuscation. Obfuscation on the part of a complicit, corrupt provincial police force that builds an impenetrable wall of silence around a decade-long serial killer case. But it's also a study in narrative obfuscation on the part of the writer/directors, at times a very frustrating one. Like the Yorkshire PD, the creators withhold facts, evidence and plot revelations so long that it began to tax my interest. I knew from the first few frames that the police are somehow complicit in these heinous crimes. I knew they were corrupt -- that is no surprise. I even had a good idea who did it. What I'm interested in is HOW they are corrupt, the details of HOW they managed to obfuscate three to four different investigations for a decade, and in that respect Red Riding is a bit of a letdown.

There is a fine art to films and television series knowing when and how to divulge information to the viewer without "spoiling" the climax. Though a handsomely mounted and photographed production, Red Riding seems a little too manipulative on the narrative front for a full recommendation. Give the first part, "1974," a go, and if you're really hooked proceed from there.

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