[Last Films I Watched] Red Riding Trilogy (2009)

Red Riding 1974 poster

Title: Red Riding: In the Years of Our Lord 1974
Year: 2009
Country: UK
Language: English
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Director: Julian Jarrold
Writer: Tony Grisoni
based on the novel by David Peace
Music: Adrian Johnston
Cinematography: Rob Hardy
Cast:
Andrew Garfield
Sean Bean
Rebecca Hall
Eddie Marsan
John Henshaw
David Morrissey
Warren Clarke
Peter Mullan
Anthony Flanagan
Sean Harris
Tony Mooney
Gerard Kearns
Cathryn Bradshaw
Steven Robertson
Michelle Dockery
Robert Sheehan
Cara Seymour
Daniel Mays
Rating: 6.9/10

Red Riding 1980 poster

Title: Red Riding: In the Years of Our Lord 1980
Year: 2009
Country: UK
Language: English
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Director: James Marsh
Writer: Tony Grisoni
based on the novel by David Peace
Music: Dickon Hinchliffe
Cinematography: Igor Marinovic
Cast:
Paddy Considine
Maxine Peake
Tony Pitts
Sean Harris
Jim Carter
Lesley Sharp
David Morrissey
Julia Ford
Ron Cook
Warren Clarke
Robert Sheehan
Peter Mullan
Chris Walker
David Calder
Shaun Dooley
Tony Mooney
James Fox
Nicholas Woodeson
Joseph Mawle
Rating: 6.6/10

Red Riding 1983 poster

Title: Red Riding: In the Years of Our Lord 1983
Year: 2009
Country: UK
Language: English
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Director: Anand Tucker
Writer: Tony Grisoni
based on the novel by David Peace
Music: Barrington Pheloung
Cinematography: David Higgs
Cast:
David Morrissey
Mark Addy
Daniel Mays
Peter Mullan
Saskia Reeves
Sean Bean
Jim Carter
Warren Clarke
Shaun Dooley
Gerard Kearns
Catherine Tyldesley
Richard Sheehan
Cara Seymour
Michelle Dockery
Rating: 6.7/10

A binge watching of RED RIDING TRILOGY, three TV movies adapted from David Peace’s RED RIDING QUARTET, where its second chapter 1977 is skipped. Directed by three different directors in three different formats: 1974 by Julian Jarrold in 16mm film, 1980 by James Marsh in 35mm film and 1983 by Anand Tucked with Red One digital camera, the trilogy forebodingly trawls into the organized crimes and police corruption in West Yorkshire through the prisms of three different protagonists while they are wrestling with a series of murder cases, and overall, it inspires to achieve a vérité similitude of the bleak milieu while sometimes being mired with its own navel-gazing, such as narrative banality (1974), over-calculated formality (1980) and poorly indicated flashback sequences (1983).

Red Riding 1974 2009

In 1974, the bright-young-thing Eddie Dunford (Garfield) is an ambitious crime reporter for The Yorkshire Post, who takes it on himself to probe three similar cases of missing or murdered teenage girls, which puts his own life on the line. He hits every nook and cranny of procedural cliches, from losing a dear colleague Barry Gannon (Flanagan). who knows too much of the dirty business (after being inauspiciously warned about his own safety) nevertheless withholds crucial information from Eddie, to the police’s porous covering-up of the culprit with a scapegoat Michael Myshkin (Mays), until Eddie meets Paul Garland (Hall), who channels a shopworn ambiguity between a grieved damsel-in-distress and an inscrutable gangster’s moll, whom he incurably falls in love with. Finally his path comes across with John Dawson (Bean), a local real estate magnate, and after succumbs to an excruciating reality check signed by both Dawson and police force, Eddie despondently realizes he cannot save nobody, a final vigilante bloodbath is his last gamble to right the wrong in the only option he is left with (again, manipulated). The movie is shot in subdued retro-sheen, Garfield fleshes out Eddie’s fix with absorbing commitment, and Hall is magnificent to behold in her blond charisma.

Red Riding 1980 2009

The police corruption which disclosed in 1974 turns out to be just a tip of a humongous iceberg, in 1980, after the inaction of the current head Bill Molloy (Clarke), our protagonist is Assistant Chief Constable Peter Hunter (Considine, in an atypical clean-cut appearance), who takes up the gauntlet to investigate the notorious Yorkshire Ripper case (inspired by the real events), which has already claimed a dozen lives, mainly female prostitutes. But soon he will meet more resistance and pressure from within the police department when he is tipped that one of the victims might not be the ripper’s work. The tension retains in a high-strung tenor when we see a diligent Peter being taunted by the reprobates on a daily base, in particular from officer Bob Craven (Harris, reprising his role from 1974, and he is so delectably sinister through and through), the lowest scum of the earth. There are some gnawing hitches mined in the narrative, a key confessor is timely dispatched when he refuses to divulge the information on the phone but also has no intention to meet Peter in the hotel where he stays, instead, he asks Peter to come to his home in the witching hour, only to a sorry outcome. Also, it is unwarranted for Peter to appoint Helen Marshall (Peake), his former adulteress, into his team, to further complicate his scrape, plus a superfluous subplot of his broody effort is ironically dismissed by Helen’s unsolicited abortion. After finally revealing the bloody picture of that singular murder (not done by the ripper), which connects to the finale of 1974, the story again, sets up a chilling twist to be brutally honest about to which rank extent the forces of law and order has been sullied.

Red Riding 1983 2009

Finally in 1983, Detective Inspector Maurice Jobson (Morrissey) , who appears in all three films, holds court in the final one, he is one of the corrupted, but his guilty conscience begins to catch up with him, after a new incident of a missing girl transpires, and he seeks help from a medium Mandy Wymer (Reeves), who evokes his buried memories pertain to his involvement in the investigation in 1974. Simultaneously, a paralleled plot-line introduces a thickset solicitor John Piggott (Addy), the son of a former compromised police officer, visits Michael Myshkin (Mays, a distressingly disturbing scene-stealer, makes great play between prevarication and innocence to the full) in the prison and tries to defend a wronged suspect of the current investigation, Leonard Cole (Kearns), who is Michael’s best friend and the son of Reverent Marin Laws (Mullan), but fails due to the atrocious injustice. While, a male prostitute BJ (Sheehan), a pervasive existence in the trilogy, released from the jail and fetches a rifle on his way to vendetta, the three tributaries will converge in the home of Reverent Laws, to bring the seedy crime conspiracy into daylight in the end of the day, yet, the ultimate demise is far from satisfactory, the canker within the institution remains untouched, it is estimable to be so unwavering to expose the ugly truth, but the aftertaste is too disillusioned to purvey a balanced assimilation. Albeit there is no visible sign-posting in its time-frame jumps, which certainly impedes the viewing experience, the third one at least does a fair job to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. In a nutshell, RED RIDING trilogy is a juggernaut exposé of the society’s underside and in retrospect, heralds some more forensic procedural output in UK’s televisionary landscape, like THE FALL (2013-to date).

Oscar 2009  Red Riding Trilogy

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