Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Red Riding: 1974

Based on David Peace’s novel Red Riding Quartet, Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974 tells the story of a young reporter trying to uncover the mystery of missing girls supposedly committed by the Yorkshire Ripper. Along the way, the reporter has an affair with a widow while learning about the corruption in the police force. Directed by Julian Jarrod with an adapted screenplay by Tony Grisoni, it is the first of a three-part trilogy chronicling the Yorkshire Ripper murders. Starring Andrew Garfield, Sean Bean, Anthony Flanagan, Sean Harris, Eddie Marsan, Rebecca Hall, and David Morrissey. Red Riding 1974 is a haunting yet mesmerizing thriller from Julian Jarrod.

Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield) is a young journalist for the Yorkshire Post as he’s been asked to do some work about a recent murder of a young girl by the Yorkshire Ripper. With help from his friend and fellow journalist Barry Gannon (Anthony Flanagan), Dunford asks about the murders as he wonders why the police aren’t cooperating. After turning to another journalist in Jack Whitehead (Eddie Marsan) for more resources, he asks one of the victims’ parents in Paula Garland (Rebecca Hall) about her daughter as she is upset when he mentions her late husband.

Realizing that her husband had already died of a suicide, he gets more help from Gannon in the research against the wishes of their editor (John Henshaw). Seeing Paula again at a pub, the two talk as he asks if she called the two policeman (Sean Harris and Tony Mooney) who assaulted him. She admitted that she did but didn’t realize he didn’t mean to hurt her as an affair ensues. Eddie then learns some horrifying news as he meets John Dawson (Sean Bean), a business magnate set in creating a shopping center in the town. After getting some evidence from a male prostitute (Robert Sheehan), Eddie sees a link between Dawson and the police thinking there is something going on.

After being suspended, Eddie believes that Whitehead is working with the police as he also learns that Paula has been sleeping with Dawson because he always gets his way. Eddie suddenly realizes he’s a target for the police as he turns to a local cop (Steven Robertson) for help by giving him evidence in case something goes wrong. What happens is a harsh discovery for Eddie about the Yorkshire police and the cover-ups that is happening.

The film is about a young journalist’s attempt to report the Yorkshire Ripper murders as he ends up seeing a corruption within the police as people are missing and he becomes a target. Tony Grisoni’s screenplay is an intriguing story about a man trying to uncover a mystery while risking his journalist integrity by having an affair with a widow whose child was missing two years earlier. What happens is that Eddie Dunford goes way into deep as it involves his own newspaper, the local police, and a local businessman all trying to have Eddie to keep his mouth shut. Instead, Eddie is a character that is motivated in not just doing the right thing but help a woman who lost her child.

Julian Jarrod’s direction is very entrancing in its stylish approach as it’s shot with 16mm cameras for a 1:85:1 widescreen aspect ratio to create a gritty look. Jarrod’s direction is filled with wonderful compositions and eerie scenes of cars driving at night to create a haunting feel for the film. Jarrod’s direction also has some surreal moments such as Eddie’s trip to a damp yet dreary place where homeless people live to the city of Yorkshire itself. Jarrod’s direction is truly a highlight of the film for creating a dark mood and enhance the world of the powerful and the poor.

Cinematographer Rob Hardy does a great job with the film‘s stylish photography from the gritty yet dream-like look. For many of the daytime scenes interior and exterior, there‘s a colorless yet grimy look to display the world that is Yorkshire. For scenes in the pub and Paula’s home at night along with some nighttime exterior shots, there is a very stylized yet lush look to the photography to complement the world that is the 1970s. Editor Andrew Hulme does an excellent job with the editing in maintaining a straightforward presentation with some rhythmic cuts and a tight, leisured pace throughout the film.

Production designer Cristina Casali, along with set decorator Duncan Wheeler and art director Julie Ann Horan, does a fantastic job with the look of 1970s Yorkshire from the look of the pubs to the cars that were used at the time. Costume designer Natalie Ward does a fine job with the costumes from the pants the mean wear to the dresses that the women wear that is representative of the times. Visual effects supervisor Adam Gascoyne does a good job with the minimal visual effects needed for the film such as the dreary homeless scene and other violent effects.

Sound editor/recordist Danny Hambrook does a superb job with the sound work from the dreary atmosphere of Yorkshire to the chaos at the party and pub scenes in the film. The film’s score by Adrian Johnston is wonderful for its plaintive yet chilling guitar-driven score to play up the brooding tone of the film. The soundtrack also features an array of music from 1970s soul music to the music of King Crimson as the music is a highlight of the film.

The casting by Nina Gold is wonderful as it features cameo appearances from Peter Mullan as a priest and David Morrissey as Maurice Jobson, the superintendent that is part of the corruption from within. Other notable performances includes Gerard Kearns as the man who shows Eddie where he found a body, Cara Seymour as a mother whose son shows Eddie the body’s location, Daniel Mays as a mentally-challenged suspect, Robert Sheehan as the male prostitute BJ, Steven Robertson as a friendly cop, Mary Jo Randle as Eddie’s mother, and Warren Clarke as the corrupt police chief. Sean Harris and Tony Mooney are excellent as a couple of corrupt cops who harass Eddie while Eddie Marsan is great as the sleazy journalist Jack Whitehead.

John Kenshaw is very good as the hard-nosed editor Bill Hadley while Anthony Flanagan is also good as Eddie‘s fellow journalist Barry Gannon. Rebecca Hall is radiant as the grief-stricken Paula, a widow whose child is supposedly missing or dead as she engages into an affair with Eddie while wondering what really happened. Sean Bean is superb as the charming but sleazy John Dawson, a businessman who is intent on making sure Eddie keeps his mouth shut for his own reasons as he’s one of the corrupt figures. Finally, there’s Andrew Garfield in the phenomenal role of Eddie Dunford. Garfield brings a chilling performance as a young man whose journalistic integrity is put to the test as he seeks out truth only to be confronted by dark secrets from within.

Red Riding: In The Year of Our Lord 1974 is an eerie yet intoxicating suspense thriller from Julian Jarrod featuring top-notch performances from Andrew Garfield, Rebecca Hall, and Sean Bean. Audiences that want a smart thriller that doesn’t play by the rules while keeping things mysterious while wanting more should see this. In the end, Red Riding: In The Year of Our Lord 1974 is a smart yet engrossing film from Julian Jarrod.

© thevoid99 2011

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