Saturday, February 27, 2010

Three of a Perfect Pair: Part Two

(James Marsh, UK, 2009, 93 mins.)

Click here for Red Riding: 1974

red riding 1980.jpg

For the second film in the triptych, Oscar winner James Marsh (Man on Wire) opts for the greater clarity of 35mm, though screenwriter Tony Grisoni (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas), a frequent Terry Gilliam collaborator, remains on board for all three entries.

From girls, the story shifts to women. A doc-like credit sequence tells the tale: in the past six years, 13 have met their fate at the hands of the Yorkshire Ripper.

Marsh then introduces a new character, Peter Hunter (a first-rate Paddy Considine), Assistant Chief Constable of the Manchester Police Force. Since 1974 presented the West Yorkshire P.D. as hopelessly corrupt, and since Hunter has a background in internal affairs, he seems unlikely to emerge from this inquiry unscathed.

red riding 19802.jpg

As requested by James Fox's Phillip Evans, Hunter sets up shop in nearby Leeds
with John Nolan (Tony Pitts), Bob Craven (Sean Harris), and Helen Marshall (Max-
ine Peake), with whom he has a history (Leslie Sharp plays his pregnant wife).

Craven, who gave Eddie such a hard time, does the same to Peter. Ginger-haired, rail-thin, and devoid of chin, Harris does menace well--and intensity, too, as exemp-
lified by his portrayal of Joy Division front man Ian Curtis in 24 Hour Party People.

Hunter meets Peter Mullan's Martin when the vicar offers him information. Their exchange encapsulates his conundrum: Hunter: "You don't like the police much, do you?" Laws: "No love lost, no." Hunter: "So when someone kicks down your front door, kills the dog, and rapes the wife, who you gonna call?" Laws: "Well it certainly wouldn't be the West Yorkshire Police--they'd already be in there, wouldn't they!"

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
How deep does the rot go? Who stops it?
-- Peter Hunter (Paddy Considine)
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****

Later, he re-connects with David Morrissey's Jobson, who proves to be disappointingly unhelpful (in Jarrold's film, Jobson destroyed evidence for some unspecified reason).

While Eddie tried to tie three murders together, Peter tries to take one out of the investigation, because it doesn't fit, leading to threats, arson, and more killings.

As with Man on Wire, Marsh again borrows from a pre-existing music source, in this case Dickon Hinchliffe's score for Claire Denis's Trouble Every Day, another spot-on choice (Adrian Johnston and Barrington Pheloung scored the other telefilms).

By the end of 1980, the killer has been caught and the case appears to be closed. Largely due to the indelible performances of Considine and Peake, a last-minute replacement, James Marsh offers the strongest entrant in this compelling series.

Click here for Red Riding: 1983.

The Red Riding Trilogy continues at the Northwest Film Forum through 3/4. Nineteen Eighty screens Mon. at 9pm; Sat., Sun., and Thurs. at 7pm; Tues. and Wed. at 7pm. The NWFF is located at 1515 12th Ave. between Pike and Pine on Capitol Hill. For more information, please click here or call 206-829-7863. Images from IFC Films.

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