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Red Riding Trilogy


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#21 Persona

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 10:01 PM

Just finished 1983 and my head is spinning...

What's truly hilarious is to take a trip over to the IMDB message boards. There are quite a few spinning heads over there, too.

#22 Persona

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Posted 29 September 2010 - 10:35 AM

I finally posted a reaction to 1983 Here.

One thing I failed to mention at the blog that comes to mind now that I'm posting at A&F, is that I'd love to see some of your reactions -- particularly Jeffrey, SDG, Peter. I don't know if you plan to see this or not, but there's one element in particular that I think I know what you'll think about it, but I'm not so sure.

For those who have seen it, I'm thinking specifically about:
Spoiler


#23 Scholar's Parrot

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 12:11 AM

I finally posted a reaction to 1983 Here.

One thing I failed to mention at the blog that comes to mind now that I'm posting at A&F, is that I'd love to see some of your reactions -- particularly Jeffrey, SDG, Peter. I don't know if you plan to see this or not, but there's one element in particular that I think I know what you'll think about it, but I'm not so sure.

For those who have seen it, I'm thinking specifically about:

Spoiler


I won't reply on the level of any of those guys, but I just finished the third and really loved the whole trilogy. I disagree with you on the types of film used for each film, especially in the case of '74. I really felt the use of 16 mm added a lot to the visceral feeling of the first one. It felt rough, very fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants which backed up the character and actions of Andrew Garfield's character. That's just me, and at this point, that's all I got. My head, like yours, is spinning. I'm glad I picked this up because A) I needed the subtitles and B) I need more viewings!

#24 Persona

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Posted 30 September 2010 - 07:37 AM


I finally posted a reaction to 1983 Here.

One thing I failed to mention at the blog that comes to mind now that I'm posting at A&F, is that I'd love to see some of your reactions -- particularly Jeffrey, SDG, Peter. I don't know if you plan to see this or not, but there's one element in particular that I think I know what you'll think about it, but I'm not so sure.

For those who have seen it, I'm thinking specifically about:

Spoiler


I won't reply on the level of any of those guys, but I just finished the third and really loved the whole trilogy. I disagree with you on the types of film used for each film, especially in the case of '74. I really felt the use of 16 mm added a lot to the visceral feeling of the first one. It felt rough, very fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants which backed up the character and actions of Andrew Garfield's character. That's just me, and at this point, that's all I got. My head, like yours, is spinning. I'm glad I picked this up because A) I needed the subtitles and B) I need more viewings!

I don't think we disagree. I see 1974 as both "visceral" and "retro". And I agree that the trilogy needs to be seen more than once. There's just too much to take in with only one viewing.

#25 NBooth

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 09:36 AM

I finally got around to watching the whole trilogy, and I'm glad I did. This is how a film trilogy should work--crossing and re-crossing itself, slowly revealing itself for (and to) itself--revising earlier films in the set without compromising them. The plotting is dense (I had to get me to Wikipedia as soon as the last film ended just so I could be sure what I had just seen), and much of the pleasure I felt watching was feeling the parts click into place (it's the satisfaction that Ebert said I should feel, but didn't, while watching The American. Not that I'm bitter or anything). Some thoughts:

1. One thing that struck me--primarily regarding the first two movies, though I think the last one could probably fit in here somewhere--is that, even though the trilogy belongs to the crime genre, each individual film seems to live in a different subset of that genre. 1974 is heart-of-darkness noir (I had actually just read this post on noir by Ray Banks when I watched the first movie, and that may have colored my perceptions a bit); 1980, for the most part plays like a procedural detective novel of the P.D. James variety--the inspector calls together his team and they investigate while trying to juggle their personal lives, etc; 1983, though, has me stumped. I suppose one could say that it's a variation on the dogged-amateur, with Piggott filling that role, but that reading doesn't seem quite right.

2. I was surprised how important B.J. became to the whole business, and if I had any complaints it's that his character wasn't actually around enough to command the kind of empathy eventual revelations about him require. At the same time, I don't know how they could have played it any differently and still have preserved the revelation.

3. It was interesting to compare these movies to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo--not strictly fair, since it's three-to-one--but they deal with similar subject-matter and they employ the same crime-fiction format. But where (to me) Dragon Tattoo featured unbelievable cartoons as the wrongdoers, the villains in the Red Riding Trilogy (while just as monstrous) seem more believably human. I wonder if this isn't because we see many of them scheming and desperate (for instance,
Spoiler
while the ones that seem "in control" of themselves play the parts in an understated way, without the audience being shown more than small glimpses of their crimes.
Spoiler


I'm sure there's far more that could be said, but yes--this trilogy demands repeat viewings. I may have to take a rest and revisit it in a month or so.

#26 Backrow Baptist

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 03:05 PM

Wow. What a tough slog this was. I'm still mulling it over but right now I don't feel the last few minutes of 1983 were worth all the misery that came before.

Overall I think 1974 was the strongest of the bunch. The look so strongly reminded me of Fincher's Zodiac, so I assumed that was the one filmed digitally. I was surprised to learn it was actually 16mm. As others have pointed out, 1974 is a pretty good stand alone noir.

There are some great performances. Andrew Garfield and Paddy Considine in particular. That being said, the bad guys engage in a little too much mustache twirling for my taste. Am I the only one who thinks it's kind of exploitative to dwell on the murder of women and children so you can go on and on about how corrupt the fat cats are? We get more than one scene of the bad guys toasting each other and saying things like "To the North! Where we do what we want!". Right now I have no desire to ever re-watch this.

#27 NBooth

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Posted 11 January 2011 - 08:41 PM

Here's an interesting interview with David Peace from about the time the novel 1980 came out. I was especially interested in this bit, which in retrospect seems a little ironic:

I was unemployed in Manchester for a number of years and spent the days drinking two-litre bottles of red wine and watching three films a day in the Cornerhouse; I saw enough films and wasted enough time to last me my entire lifetime. Film and TV have had an horrendous influence on writing, my own included. For the past ten years film and TV seem to have become utterly bankrupt of anything other than the desire to entertain, which would now seem to the sole desirable quality we demand of everything and everyone in society: that we entertain. The only two recent exceptions I would make are Seven and Gummo.


(Interesting, too, that Peace singles out Seven, since the Red Riding trilogy has been compared to Fincher's later serial killer movie, Zodiac).

Also, in light of the mixed reactions to the darkness in these movies, here's Peace (I don't offer this as justification or argument, just as an interesting connection):

Crime is brutal, harrowing and devastating for everyone involved, and crime fiction should be every bit as brutal, harrowing and devastating as the violence of the reality it seeks to document. Anything less at best sanitises crime and its effects, at worst trivialises it. Anything more exploits other people's misery as purely vicarious entertainment. It is a very, very fine line. Similarly, the sexuality in my books reflects the times in which they are set; I strongly believe that crimes happen at a particular time, in a particular place to a particular person for very, very, very particular reasons. Both Gordon Burn and Helen Ward Jouve in their excellent books on the Yorkshire Ripper have made the point before, but the Yorkshire of the 1970s was a hostile environment to be living in and especially for women.


Edited by NBooth, 11 January 2011 - 08:42 PM.


#28 Overstreet

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 12:03 AM

Watched the first hour of 1973 tonight, and I'm hooked. Obligations are preventing me from finishing it tonight, but I'll definitely be working my way through the whole thing.

Andrew Garfield is one of the most magnetic actors working today. It's bugging me because he seems to command attention without doing a thing to earn it.

I had a thought while watching him strut around. He could play Mick Jagger someday. He really could. He has the swagger, the attitude, the athleticism.

Great to see Sean Bean in a role that's quite a change of pace for him.

Edited by Overstreet, 03 February 2011 - 12:04 AM.


#29 NBooth

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 12:37 AM

So glad you're enjoying it; I've re-watched 1974 about three times, and the others twice each, and am more and more convinced that this is an exceptionally rich set of films. Looking forward to seeing your thoughts on the whole thing.

BTW, once you've seen the whole thing, I would love to hear your thoughts on 1974--and particularly its ending--compared to (and I'll black this out 'cause I know you hate even the hint of spoilers) Lost Highway; they seem similar to me, but I'm not sure if this is a case of 1974 referencing the older film, or if they're drawing on some even older noir.

Edited by NBooth, 03 February 2011 - 01:13 AM.


#30 Scholar's Parrot

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Posted 03 February 2011 - 01:12 AM

So glad you're enjoying it; I've re-watched 1974 about three times, and the others twice each, and am more and more convinced that this is an exceptionally rich set of films. Looking forward to seeing your thoughts on the whole thing.


Every time I rewatch one, I want to do a marathon and I never have time. I think this is one of just a few movies that sits on my shelf and every time I glance at them I wish I had the time to dive into the full story again. I love each one of these and it's definitely one of my favorite trilogies. Each of them have such varying tones, and yet the overall arc is still maintained. It's fascinating to explore.

Glad Overstreet's finally seeing them, and like you said, I'm very interested to see what he thinks.



#31 NBooth

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 04:39 PM

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.


Edited by NBooth, 18 March 2011 - 04:47 PM.


#32 Christian

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 03:46 PM

I started 1974 last night, commented to my wife that it felt very similar to Zodiac (not a favorable comparison, since I don't think many films can match Zodiac) and then fell asleep after about 20 minutes. It'd been an exhausting week. I woke up a couple of times but never revived. Saw the very end and was perplexed.

Sarah, who had been looking forward to it and stayed up through the whole thing, was sorely disappointed.

But I'm thinking I'll give the film another try tonight. Maybe.

#33 Christian

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 10:16 PM

Much better when I was awake. I'm not sure where the trilogy goes from here given the conclusion of this film, but I'm going to find out.

#34 Persona

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 10:51 PM

You're up for 1980. It's my favorite of the three.

#35 Christian

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Posted 27 March 2011 - 02:30 PM

My wife is refusing to watch the other films and is demanding to know what the point of the first film was. I'm afraid I'm struggling to make a case for the film.

It's such a strange movie, and it does kind of go off the rails in those last 20 minutes. I suppose fans find the story's progression organic, but it left me scratching my head, wondering what we don't know -- what might justify another two films.

I'm willing to investigate and find out, but Sarah's finished with the trilogy after one installment.

#36 NBooth

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 12:01 PM

Well, put simply: each movie unearths another layer beneath the corruption glimpsed in the first movie. The protagonist of 1980 has ties to the investigation of the Karachi Club incident, and that investigation is part of the tension between his investigation and that of the local police into the Yorkshire Ripper killings. And a lot of stuff that made little sense in the first movie becomes apparent (particularly in 1983, where we discover that a certain character is far more central than one would think given his appearances in the previous two movies).

I'm not sure how you could convince your wife of this, though, unless you tell her that the next two movies are very different than 1974 (they are--same cast, different directors, and different tone. 1980 is a police procedural, and 1983 is much more of a redemption-piece).

#37 Ryan H.

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 12:02 PM

I've been dragging my feet about watching these, but I should probably give them a look.

#38 Christian

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 01:05 PM

1983 is much more of a redemption-piece).

Sounds like there might be a thematic payoff after all!

I had meant to mention that I was quite take with Andrew Garfiled in 1974. I didn't quite jump aboard the Social Network train of admirers of his performance in Fincher's film, and could not care less about Spider Man. But he gave a fine performance in 1974.

Funny, then, to pull up Manohla Dargis' review of the film, which I tracked down at Metacritic and which gets the lowest rating at that site, and see it written that Garfield is "not up to the leading-man task." Which raises another intersting parallel to Zodiac, a film I loved but had a leading man as its weakest link.

Edited by Christian, 28 March 2011 - 01:05 PM.


#39 Ryan H.

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 02:16 PM

I just finished RED RIDING: 1974. I'm not sure it's a film I'll ever want to return to--I'm not sure there's much more to discover or wrestle with here than what I encountered on this viewing, though perhaps my perception will change as I dig into RR1980 and RR1983--but it was a fairly solid, grim little film with some strong performances, if never quite stunning or surprising enough to really earn my affection.

Edited by Ryan H., 28 March 2011 - 02:17 PM.


#40 Overstreet

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Posted 28 March 2011 - 02:19 PM

I just finished RED RIDING: 1974. I'm not sure it's a film I'll ever want to return to--I'm not sure there's much more to discover or wrestle with here than what I encountered on this viewing, though perhaps my perception will change as I dig into RR1980 and RR1983--but it was a fairly solid, grim little film with some strong performances, if never quite stunning or surprising enough to really earn my affection.


That pretty much sums up my experience with it. Anne and I have been through the first two installments and were impressed, but yeah, I don't think I'll ever watch them again, and the bitter aftertaste of the first two have prevented us from choosing the third installment during one of our evenings together. I'm sure we will eventually, and I'm glad to hear that the last chapter might not leave us feeling so awful.

But they are very well made.

Man, Eddie Marsan is becoming one of the busiest actors around.

Edited by Overstreet, 28 March 2011 - 02:20 PM.