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Tyler Beane Kelly

Red Riding Trilogy

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Most of the examples you cite represent a remake in another language, though. The Maltese Falcon does not, but the three versions you cite were all produced before America entered World War II, in other words they were all produced at a time when no one had TV or home video (and every major studio put out a new movie every week, or 50 movies per year), so the recycling of one's source material was not as big a deal.

What's interesting about the remake of THIS trilogy is that it would appear to be an English-to-English remake -- an American remake of a British film -- not unlike the two versions of Death at a Funeral that were produced on opposite sides of the Atlantic only three years apart (in 2007 and 2010).

Well, yeah; most of the examples cited before (Let Me In and the new Dragon Tattoo movie) also represent a remake in another language, so that's the more general question I was responding to. But point taken about the sheer number of movies put out circa-1931 (although part of me wants to argue that the general principle--that the remake has always been with us, for better or worse--holds true no matter how many movies are put out).

I didn't think of Death at a Funeral. It does seem more to-the-point. Although, there, the setting was moved to America as well, yes? Which can't really be done without doing violence to the very core of what Red Riding is about (which reminds me...I presume that the Yorkshire accents won't be as thick in the movie, but will they try them at all, like how Fincher reportedly wants his actors to put on accents for Dragon Tattoo? Which move would make this particular remake less distinct from its original than DatF. And that--more than its being a remake--could be a problem).

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I have difficulty believing the re-make (or re-adaptation) could live up to the stone-cold brilliance of the original movies, but from what I understand there were several subplots removed from the books in making the first adaptation, so I guess it could work.

I just finished reading 1974 and the above turns out to have been an understatement; if the plot of the movie is complicated, the plot of the book is positively labyrinthine. There's a missing (rugby? football/soccer?) player who turns out to be central to the climax, for starters, and John Dawson (movie version) turns out to be an amalgamation of about three different characters from the book, each of whom is involved in the murder of Claire Kemplay in a different way (not a spoiler, since everyone is involved in the murder somehow--that's what the book's about). BJ gets a couple more scenes, as well.

Most notably, the ray of hope that we get in 1974 just before the conclusion of the movie is absolutely absent here. It starts dark and gets darker and then blows up.

All of which is to say--it's easy to see how a good re-adaptation of the book could be not only different, but wildly different, from the first movie--oddly enough, by hewing closer to the novel (in that way, it's the opposite of the situation I understand them as having with Let the Right One In, where the original movie follows the book pretty closely for most of its running). But that's only if they're looking at a series; if they try to condense all four books into one movie--and if each book is as complicated as this--they're cooking up a disaster of a movie.

EDIT: Here's the biggest difference between the book and the movie:

in the book, Dunford actually discovers the underground lair where Claire Kemplay was murdered, and sees that the killer--or one of them--has been tortured, mutilated, and left for dead. This means that the shooting at the end has nothing to do with Claire and everything to do with the murder of Paula Garland and that of a medium who shows up and gives the cryptic warning about "the others". In short, it totally changes the meaning of the final shootout.

That's a pretty big departure for the adaptation, right there.

Edited by NBooth

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Started watching this on Netflix, and I've glad they added a subtitles option.

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Okay, I finished the trilogy tonight. Two questions:

1. Didn't Dawson get shot up real good at the end of 1974? I'd been assuming he was dead, but then he shows up in 1983, looking healthy as ever.

2. Did Dawson get away with everything? (Whatever his "everything" was; by the end, I wasn't sure who had done what.) There were big confrontation scenes for most of the other characters, but not for him.

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Okay, I finished the trilogy tonight. Two questions:

1. Didn't Dawson get shot up real good at the end of 1974? I'd been assuming he was dead, but then he shows up in 1983, looking healthy as ever.

2. Did Dawson get away with everything? (Whatever his "everything" was; by the end, I wasn't sure who had done what.) There were big confrontation scenes for most of the other characters, but not for him.

Unless I missed something,

Dawson is very much dead at the end of 1974. All subsequent appearances are flashbacks.

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Started watching this on Netflix, and I've glad they added a subtitles option.

I'm pretty sure that this was added later. I remember trying to watch it, needing the subtitles, and waiting for the DVDs.

Yeah, the only way to watch this is with the subs.

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Started watching this on Netflix, and I've glad they added a subtitles option.

I'm pretty sure that this was added later. I remember trying to watch it, needing the subtitles, and waiting for the DVDs.

Yeah, the only way to watch this is with the subs.

They only had subtitles for 1974. For the other two, I had to figure out what they were saying on my own. I think the accents were thicker in the first one, though.

Okay, I finished the trilogy tonight. Two questions:

1. Didn't Dawson get shot up real good at the end of 1974? I'd been assuming he was dead, but then he shows up in 1983, looking healthy as ever.

2. Did Dawson get away with everything? (Whatever his "everything" was; by the end, I wasn't sure who had done what.) There were big confrontation scenes for most of the other characters, but not for him.

Unless I missed something,

Dawson is very much dead at the end of 1974. All subsequent appearances are flashbacks.

Yeah, I thought it could be that, too. It's always hard to tell when they've gone into a flashback. But

Dawson's appearance in 1983 comes right after they interrogate the priest, and he tells them Dawson knows everything that he does, which made it seem like a present-day scene to me.

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Started watching this on Netflix, and I've glad they added a subtitles option.

I'm pretty sure that this was added later. I remember trying to watch it, needing the subtitles, and waiting for the DVDs.

Yeah, the only way to watch this is with the subs.

They only had subtitles for 1974. For the other two, I had to figure out what they were saying on my own. I think the accents were thicker in the first one, though.

Okay, I finished the trilogy tonight. Two questions:

1. Didn't Dawson get shot up real good at the end of 1974? I'd been assuming he was dead, but then he shows up in 1983, looking healthy as ever.

2. Did Dawson get away with everything? (Whatever his "everything" was; by the end, I wasn't sure who had done what.) There were big confrontation scenes for most of the other characters, but not for him.

Unless I missed something,

Dawson is very much dead at the end of 1974. All subsequent appearances are flashbacks.

Yeah, I thought it could be that, too. It's always hard to tell when they've gone into a flashback. But

Dawson's appearance in 1983 comes right after they interrogate the priest, and he tells them Dawson knows everything that he does, which made it seem like a present-day scene to me.

I'll have to rewatch, but I thought the interrogation scene was also a flashback (it occurs while the guy who is forced out of power in 1980--Molloy?--is still Jobson's superior). I recall thinking, both times I watched the movie, that of all the films 1983 is the one that occurs least in its titular year, since it's mostly Jobson working through his compromised career. That the Yorkshire police knew who the real killer was in 1974 but let him go on behest of John Dawson is one of the things that finally drive Jobson to make the move he does in the end.

At any rate, Dawson has to be dead because

the shooting at the Karachi club is a central component in all three movies--in 1974 because it's the climax--Eddie Dunford is set up by the police to take out Dawson, incidentally changing the sequence of events from the novel radically--and in the other two movies because it's essential backstory. In 1980 Peter Hunter's previous experience with the Yorkshire police was investigating that shooting--and in a flashback there, I think we actually see Dawson's corpse on the couch, yes?--while in 1983 we learn how deeply the Yorkshire police were involved in cleaning up the scene before it was investigated. If Dawson isn't dead in all of this, there's no real reason the shooting should take such a central role.

Edited by NBooth

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Link to our thread on David Peace in the Literature section.

Oh, and in case it hasn't already shown up, here's a link to our thread on The Damned United, which shares an author with the Red Riding Quartet.

Edited by NBooth

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FWIW, I had time after finishing the novel Nineteen Eighty Three, so I popped in my blu-ray and gave the film adaptation a spin. This was my third viewing, and it's held up remarkably well. It's radically different from the novel; the stuff involving "mystic" Mandy is actually presented in the novel as a flashback (as it would have to be, considering the way Nineteen Seventy Four);the identity of the killer, even, is different and the ending is, shall we say, more optimistic than the book version:

In the novel, Hazel is found dead and the police brutalize Piggott--just as they did Eddie Dunford--and send him to take care of the killer. Short version: Piggott kills the killer and then himself; BJ kills "the Dragon" Laws (who has been preaching a bizarre antiChristian gospel) and is presumably gunned down by the police; Maurice Jobson has a climactic vision of the missing-or-deceased Jack Whitehead, and he alone--the least worthy of all--has some sort of vision of redemption

Honestly, when I finished the book I was convinced that the novel's version is more "true" than the film's, but after re-watching the movie I've got to admit that a huge part of me likes Hazel being saved and BJ getting away. I wouldn't trade this sequence for any number of true-to-the-book scenes (spoilers, obviously):

FWIW, k-punk, a 'blog I discovered recently that has a couple of extensive posts on David Peace, discusses the changes to the ending here:

The 1983 film in particular might have appeared to lose faith with this aspect of Peace's fiction. In his interview with Sight & Sound, the screenwriter Tony Grisoni justified his changing of 1983's ending (from black holes of self-abolition and revenge-homicide in the novel into something redemptive in the film) because of the Natasha Kampusch case: Kampusch emerged from her captor's Underground Kingdom whilst Grisoni was working on the script and he wanted to "save one of the girls". [...] Yet [...] Piggot and Jobson's unlikely divine light-haloed rescue of the girl reminded me of the very end of Taxi Driver, which I can never decide whether to treat as belonging to the film's reality or a redemptive fantasy conjured by Travis's dying mind.

In all, re-watching these films after reading the books has given me a greater appreciation for how difficult it must have been to adapt the novels; it would have been impossible to convey every plot-point, and so Grisoni rips the books apart and reconstructs them into something new. Which is, of course, what a good adaptation is supposed to do.

The only regret I have is that Nineteen Seventy Seven was never adapted. Jack Whitehead (Eddie Marsan) is a terrific character, and figures in important ways in the print version of Nineteen Eighty (the bulk of what appears in the film is just the latter half of the book) as well as occupying a small but important position in Nineteen Eighty Three. So much compression could have been avoided if Whitehead had been maintained; OTOH, much more would have had to be compressed, so I suppose it's a fair trade.

EDIT: i/r/t telling what's flashback and what isn't...I payed attention this time and noticed that any time Jobson is wearing the thicker-rimmed glasses, it's a scene that takes place in 1983--the rest of the time he's got on gold-rimmed glasses. Since the glasses are a central facet of his character (after all, he's "The Owl") that gives the viewer something to grasp on to quickly when feeling lost.

Edited by NBooth

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...and now it appears that Steve Zaillian (now of the Fincher Dragon Tattoo) was initially going to write the movie.

That link also gives us an idea about how they're going to handle the adaptation:

As for the approach to the film, Eaton confirmed that it would move to the U.S, and most likely be a single film, dropping some aspects of the trilogy. “I imagine they’d take the main story,” he said, “and drop one of the books, probably drop ‘1980’ completely, and just focus on the main child-killings storyline. Definitely put it in the States. I think they liked the idea of setting it in an industrial town, or a state like Pennsylvania, with the same backdrop, the decay of the mining industry.”

This is mostly good news. The choice of setting suggests that the filmmakers get the spirit of the original at least, and dropping “1980” (the film version of which starred Considine, and was directed by “Man On Wire” helmer James Marsh) makes sense, as it mostly stands apart from the other two films, and, as it involves the investigation into a real-life serial killer The Yorkshire Ripper, it would have been trickier to translate.

Aside from wondering how they'll deal with the fact that the title itself refers to Yorkshire, I think this could be a good move--mostly for the reasons the commentator at IndieWire suggests. The Yorkshire Ripper is too local to effectively translate, but the themes of corruption could easily be moved over. It could be problematic to "universalize" a story which, even in its fictional elements, is intimately tied with pre-Thatcherite Britain, but I could easily imagine the film-makers resituating the story in the America of the '70s, rather like Reeves and company did for the '80s in Let Me In.

And the movie would have the benefit of being radically different both from the source novels and the previous adaptation--which gives it (imho) a better chance of succeeding as its own thing.

Says Peace (well, Peace via Eaton):

Please don’t try and do it here, do your own version, reinvent it.

Indeed.

Still, it looks like the project's staying in limbo for now; Eaton indicates that they're waiting to see how Dragon Tattoo pans out, as well as for Vanderbildt to "crack" the screenplay. I sympathize on that last point. Given the amount of condensing that went into the previous adaptations, I can only imagine how tough it will be to boil two of the books into one film.

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It's behind a paywall, so I can't see the article, but apparently Channel 4 is wanting to follow up The Red Riding Trilogy with an adaptation of Peace's GB84. Wikipedia describes the book thus:

This is a fictional portrayal of the year of the UK miners' strike (1984–1985). It describes the insidious workings of the British government and MI5, the coalfield battles, the struggle for influence in government and the dwindling powers of the National Union of Mineworkers. The book was awarded the prestigious James Tait Black Memorial Prize for literature in 2005.

I'm not sure it deserves a thread yet, so I'll just put an update for this one here. Apparently someone named Mat Whitecross is directing GB84 and he loves the script. The comment is buried in an article about Whitecross's current movie, so I'll excerpt it here:

UP NEXT: Whitecross’ Ashes will be released in September; he also plans to direct Paul Viragh’s adaptation of David Peace’s GB84 as a TV project with Revolution Films. That is a political thriller set against the mining strikes of the 1980s and Whitecross calls it “one of the most amazing scripts I’ve ever read.”

Looking over at IMDB, it seems that Whitecross collaborated with Michael Winterbottom on The Shock Doctrine and The Road to Guantanamo.

Edited by NBooth

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I just posted a piece at Filmwell gathering together some of my reflections following my most recent watch-through of the Trilogy. A snippet:

[T]he world of Peace’s novels—and of the Red Riding Trilogy—has no deeper order. Or, to be more correct, its deeper order is tentative, deferred. There is a truth to be found here, but it is less about re-establishing order and more about recognizing that disorder is the order of the day. It is, if you will, a literature (and a cinema) of protest, what David Dark might call an Apocalyptic “yes-and-no”: Yes, the world can be “as sad as it seems,” but no it must not be that way. Put another way (and here I’m echoing Katy Shaw’s discussion of Peace’s use of “faction”), the novels of David Peace rummage through the wreckage of the late-twentieth-century West, reading its history against the grain and trying to salvage some hope in a world where business has increasingly “stepped in.”

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I finished a first viewing on the weekend. Definitely labyrinthean, and in it lies something of the appeal. Agree with whomever said this is dark stuff.

I love the way each film has such radically different style. 1983 in one sense is the most straight forward (tying everything together and making clear connections only sensed in the first two), but I think 1974 is my favourite "chapter" of this series for the aforementioned "apocalyptic feel" and Garfield's strong performance - not to take away from other leads, Considine, Addy, and Morrissey.

My wife has no desire to revisit this one. As a parent, I find these kinds of stories about murders who prey on children harrowing and deeply frightening. It's an evil world, and characters like Reverend Laws are all too real, unfortunately

I could see myself wanting to revisit this one though. So many threads that would be better appreciated on a repeat viewing. This is really masterful craftsmanship on a plotting level.

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