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United Kingdom 2009
Directed by
Julian Jarrold / James Marsh / Anand Tucker
295 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

The Red Riding Trilogy

The North of England has regularly been mined for its wealth of post-industrial urban squalor and entrenched brutality. Few however have presented such a bleak picture as The Red Riding Trilogy. Originally presented on British television the three related films are directed by three different directors not that you would really know it as visually they look similar, lots of low-lit interiors and grey-skyed poverty row estates and an overarching sense of decay underscored by haunting music. Set in the 1970s and 1980s in Yorkshire and based on a set of four fact-based novels by David Peace skilfully adapted by screenwriter Tony Grisoni, the films deal with the stories of three men who investigate the ongoing murders of local women and young girls around the time of the infamous Yorkshire Ripper murders.

The thick Yorkshire accents make the already rather complex structure of the interlocking stories difficult at times to follow and this requires one to pay close attention to the convolutions of the plot (the films need to be seen in sequence and preferably in a single session). Although there is a certain televisual quality to the films with a reliance on the more elliptical narrative approach of small screen dramas there is no doubt that the material is grippingly presented as first a young reporter (Andrew Garfield), then an internal affairs investigator (Paddy Considine) uncover a sordid world of police corruption and sex crimes in a world that suggests a throwback to medieval times in all its brutality. The third film is not as well integrated with the first two with the corruption aspect largely being forgotten about as the sex crime aspect dominates but it is nevertheless impactful and mercifully gives some sense of hope that justice will be done. This is depressingly wretched stuff and one can only hope that the world depicted here is a thing of the past.

DVD Extras: Interview with Julian Jarrold; Deleted Scenes; Making of Featurette

Available from: Madman




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