Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Red Riding: 1983

Based on David Peace’s Red Riding Quartet novel about the Yorkshire Ripper murders, Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1983 is the concluding film of a trilogy of films about the Yorkshire Ripper murder mysteries. Directed by Anand Tucker with a script by Tony Grisoni, the third film is about a superintendent whose guilt finally haunts him as he tries to solve the crime with help of a public solicitor whose father was part of the corruption within the police. In turn, the two men realize who the real killer is and why was the police and local businessmen were covering it up. Starring Mark Addy, Robert Sheehan, Daniel Mays, Peter Mullan, and David Morrissey. Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1983 is a powerful yet exhilarating film from Anand Tucker.

It’s 1983 as a young girl named Hazel Atkins (Tasmin Mitchell) has disappeared with everyone in Yorkshire realizing it’s happening again. The pressure is on police superintendent Maurice Jobson (David Morrissey) as he and Dick Alderman begin the investigation as they turn to a medium (Saskia Reeves) for help. Realizing that the medium has garnered information concerning the previous crimes as Jobson begins to reflect on memories about the early investigation that involved John Dawson (Sean Bean) who was part of a group of businessman and local officials to create a shopping center where everyone profits.

Meanwhile, John Piggott (Mark Addy) returns home following the funeral of his mother as he is asked by Mrs. Myshkin (Beatrice Kelley) to be a solicitor for her son Michael (Daniel Mays) who remains jailed for the 1974 crimes. Piggott reluctantly does so as a favor only to learn that Michael was forced to claim he did the crimes as he searches for more information about those early murders. When Leonard Cole (Gerard Kearns) is accused of the disappearance of Hazel Atkins, Piggott is asked to represent him only to find something bad has happened as he meets Jobson about Kearns. Jobson remains haunted by his past deeds as he is aware of who really committed the murders as he turns to the medium realizing that his superiors want him to do nothing.

With Piggott trying to solve the mystery of who killed the girls and Jobson dealing with his own guilt. BJ (Robert Sheehan) is released from jail as he reflects on the events that had happened as it leads to a climax as all three men make a discovery of who killed those girls.

For this concluding film of the trilogy about the Yorkshire Ripper murders, screenwriter Tony Grisoni and director Anand Tucker create a film that is about redemption in the form of one of the trilogy’s central characters in Maurice Jobson. Jobson’s guilt in playing the role of a man realizing that he could’ve stopped everything but couldn’t because he is an investor to a businessman who has connections with the killer. Then there’s John Piggott, a useless lawyer who isn’t the kind of man that could be a hero becomes the one person who realizes there’s some loose ends as he tries to save a man’s life. Finally, there’s the male hooker BJ who returns as his role is truly revealed in connection with what happened. Grisoni’s screenplay is very multi-layered story filled with multiple narratives and flashbacks where it takes everything in the previous films right back for a fitting conclusion.

Tucker’s direction is truly hypnotic as he shoots the film with the Red One digital camera for a 2:35:1 theatrical aspect ratio that is mixed in with grainy camera work for BJ’s flashback scenes. Mixed in with stock footage and footage from the previous films, Tucker creates a film that is partially based on memories but also allow characters to use the past as motivation for finding the truth. Eventually, it leads to a harrowing climax as everything comes together. Filled with amazing camera work with a mixture of hand-held and tracking shots, Tucker’s direction is very engaging as he creates a solid yet chilling film.

Cinematographer David Higgs does a great job with the de-saturated look of the film with heightened colors for many of the film‘s exterior and interior scenes in the day time. Even with the flashbacks to create something more heightened with dark shadows and light to complement the tone of the film as well as Jobson‘s sense of moral conflict. Editor Trevor Waite does a fantastic job with the editing in creating seamless transitions towards the flashback scenes and 1983 scenes along with rhythmic cuts to present the intensity of conversations with some of its principle characters.

Production designer Alison Dominitz, along with set decorator Alex Marden and art director Katie MacGregor, does an excellent job with the difference of the two periods of 1974 with the look of cars and objects to decayed home of John Piggott in 1983. Costume designer Caroline Harris does a wonderful job with the costumes from the clothing of the 1970s to the more weary yet simpler look of 1983. Sound editor James Harrison does a very good job with the sound from the hollow world of the council rooms to the stark silence of the poor Yorkshire apartments. The music by Barrington Pheloung is very low-key with its orchestral score to play up the drama and suspense of the film. The rest of the soundtrack is dominated by 60s-70s soul music to accompany the emotions of John Piggott.

The casting by Nina Gold is phenomenal as she creates an ensemble that features players from the previous films and the addition of newer ones for the final part of the trilogy. Making small but memorable appearances from previous episodes include John Henshaw, Andrew Garfield, Cara Seymour, Sean Harris, Tony Mooney, and Tony Pitts. Other notable small roles include Michelle Dockery as a former journalist, Gerard Kearns as Leonard Cole, Jim Carter as Harold Angus, Shaun Dooley as Dick Alderman, Chris Walker as Jim Prentice, and Warren Clarke as the slimy Bill Molloy. In other notable supporting roles, there’s Beatrice Kelley as Mrs. Myshkin, Daniel Mays as the mentally-challenged Michael Myshkin, Catherine Tyldesley as Leonard’s girlfriend Tessa, Tasmin Mitchell as the missing girl Hazel, and Saskia Reeves as the medium Jobson turns to for help.

Peter Mullan is great as the quiet but secretive Reverend Laws who has a very strong way to influence people while Sean Bean is superb in an appearance as the deceitful John Dawson. Robert Sheehan is very good as the male prostitute BJ who brings some narration to reflect his own experiences with the Yorkshire murders as well as having a connection with the killer. Mark Addy is brilliant as John Piggott, a solicitor who gets a chance to uncover the truth realizing the corruption that has surrounded the case including the fact that his father was part of that corruption. Finally, there’s David Morrissey in a phenomenal role as Maurice Jobson. Morrissey brings a chilling performance as a man consumed by guilt as he tries to redeem himself for the things he let happen.

Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1983 is a fantastic film from Anand Tucker that features superb performances from David Morrissey and Mark Addy. For a film on its own, it’s a remarkable one that has suspense and drama. In comparison to its predecessors, it is a fitting conclusion that finally allows the first two films to fill in gaps that were supposedly lost. In the end, Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1983 is a mesmerizing film from Anand Tucker.

© thevoid99 2011


Courtney Small said...

This series actually sounds quiet good. Do you recommend starting from the beginning or can you jump in at any point?

thevoid99 said...

Well, I would start at the beginning. Then go to the 2nd one since it fills in some gaps and characters that become present in the third one.