"I think if [violence] is treated as it is, if it's portrayed as violence is and how you define violence - violence comes in many shapes and forms.

I think we've portrayed it as it is and it's all the more shocking for that, that fact that it's not been glamorised....

...I don't think it should be glamorised but it is a fact of life and I think we dealt with that as such and I think in a strange way, ironically it makes it more shocking when you do deal with it seriously and truthfully."
Sean Bean, about the Red Riding Trilogy

Zitat
Quelle

" Source: Press Association , 5 Feb 2009 By :" Bean: Show doesn't glamorise violence"Fundort: Internet www.compleatseanbean.com, - rg/18. February 2010

 

Site under Construction! - Achtung Baustelle!
Diese Site ist gerade im Entstehen begriffen und im Moment mitten im Aufbau :-) update rg/16. März 2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red Riding

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...und!!! Die Rechte für Deutschland hat Kinowelt gekauft - und bringt nun glatt die gesamte Trilogie auf DVD heraus!!! Yeah! Erscheinungsdatum: 15. April 2010    

 

rg/18. Februar 2010

Red Riding Trilogy
DVD DigiBook 3er

Originaltitel: Red Riding Trilogy (Großbritannien 2009), ca. 295 Minuten

FSK 16

Extras
Geschnittene Szenen, Making of, Hinter den Kulissen, Interview mit Julian Jarrold, Trailer

Darsteller
Sean Bean (Der Herr der Ringe – Die Rückkehr des Königs, The Island) Mark Addy (Ritter aus Leidenschaft, Um die Welt in 80 Tagen) Andrew Garfield (Boy A, Von Löwen und Lämmern)

Stab
Regie: James Marsh, Julian Jarrold, Anand Tucker

Technische Angaben
Bild: diverse
Sprachen/Ton: Deutsch, Englisch (5.1 DD)
Untertitel: Deutsch

Fundort: www.kinowelt.de

 

 
           

Aah! Endlich kommt "Red Riding" nach Deutschland! Die hoch gelobte Trilogie, die letztes Jahr im englischen Fernsehen Premiere hatte, tolle Kritiken erhielt und auch den Weg nach Amerika gefunden hat, wird nun anläßlich der "Fantasy Filmfest Nights" erstmals auch in Deutschland zu sehen sein. Zwar soll, nach derzeitigem Kenntnisstand, nur der erste Teil - "1974" gezeigt werden, aber das ist ja nun auch der Film, in dem Sean Bean in einer zwar kleinen, aber starken Rolle zu sehen ist! Seine Darstellung geht unter die Haut. Dieser Film ist ein "must" für jeden Film-Liebhaber, und natürlich, ganz speziell, für jeden Bean-Fan.

In deutschen Kinos im Rahmen der Fantasy Filmfest Nights 2010 #08
Genaue Termine und Kartenvorverkauf ab Ende Februar/Anfang März.

München, 13./14. März - Cinema, am So., 14.03.2010 um 14:00 h

Stuttgart, 13./14 März - Metropol, am Sa., 13.03.2010 um 14:00 h

Berlin, 20./21. März - Cinemaxx am Potsdamer Platz, am Sa., 20.03.2010 um 14:00 h

Hamburg, 20./21. März - Cinemaxx Dammtor, am So., 21.03.2010 um 14:00 h

Nürnberg, 26./28. März - Cinecittá, am Fr., 26.03.2010 um 14:00 h

Köln, 26./27. März - Cinedom, am Sa., 27.03.2010 um 14:00 h

Frankfurt, 27./28. März - Cinestar Metropolis, am So., 28.03.2010 um 13:30 h

Red Riding 1974

Regie: Julian Jarrold
Drehbuch: Toni Grisoni nach dem Roman von David Peace

Andrew Garfield - Eddie Dunford
David Morrissey - Maurice Jobson
John Henshaw - Bill Hadley
Anthony Flanagan - Barry Gannon
Peter Mullan - Martin Laws
Sean Harris - Bob Craven
Steven Robertson - Bob Fraser
Sean Bean - John Dawson

1974: Ein junger, ehrgeiziger Journalist in Schlaghosen, ein wütender Serienkiller mit grausamer Vorliebe für kleine Schulmädchen und ein polizeilicher Korruptionsskandal, bei dem selbst dem härtesten Crime-Thriller-Fan die Spucke wegbleibt: Der kraftvolle Auftakt der RED RIDING-Trilogie, basierend auf den Büchern von Bestseller-Autor David Peace, führt ins Yorkshire der 70er Jahre. Weder Zeit, noch Ort, an dem man seine Kinder freiwillig großziehen wollen würde. Auf dem Hintergrund dieser nahezu apokalyptisch düsteren Kleinstadt-Tristesse wittert Reporter "Scoop" Edward Dunford (der schmucke Andrew Garfield aus dem Berlinale-preisgekrönten BOY A) die perfekte Story - und wird ungewollt prompt selbst Teil davon. Denn dem von Geschwüren zerfressenen Körper der Exekutive ist der wahrheitsliebende kleine Schnüffler ein ordentlicher Dorn im Auge. Und so nimmt das schmutzige Spiel um Korruption, politische Intrigen und Gesetzlosigkeit seinen unheilvollen Lauf. Regisseur Julian Jarrolds beinharte Abrechnung mit den menschlichen Abgründen steht den Vorbildern des klassischen Film Noir mit all seinen Verbildlichungen des gesellschaftlichen Niedergangs in Nichts nach.

"Director Julian Jarrold's film is shot on 16mm and blown up to 35mm, attempting to recreate the visual texture of the '70s paranoid conspiracy thriller genre that Grisoni's screenplay in many ways resembles. Of the three films here, "1974" is the one which most concerns itself with LIFE ON MARS retro '70s stylings: in clothes, cars, wallpaper and hairstyles -- the overall mise en scène in fact, which extends to everything on screen seemingly being lit through a kind of soft focus veil of beige-orange murkiness, like a faded old '70s Polaroid. As with all the films, performances are universally excellent." Horrorview.com

Quelle: Programmheft der 8. Fantasy Filmfest Nights

 

Infos und Zusammenstellung mit besonderem Dank an Evi - rg/03.03.2010

   
           
     

"Red Riding" won the award in the "television drama category" of the South Bank Show awards 2010. The ceremony was held on January 26, 2010 at the Dorchester, London. As the following article suggests, it seems that Sean Bean was originally awaited to pick up the award... rg/28.02.2010

 

South Bank Show Awards 2010
January 26, 2010 at The Dorchester, London

Red Riding won the award it was up for:
... Other winners at the awards ceremony, held to honour talent and achievement across all of the arts, include Channel 4's Red Riding, which took the prize innthe television drama category.
Starring Sean Bean, David Morrissey and Maxine Peake, the drama beat BBC3's Being Human and ITV1's Collision to the award, which was presented by Gavin and Stacey star Rob Brydon. 
More at: http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/newsstory.php/27049/donmar-warehouse-scoops-south-bank-show-award

Wendy Brazington, one of the producers, actually accepted the award and she was joined on stage by Tony Grisoni, David Morrissey, Rebecca Hall and Maxine Peake.
As has been said, they picked a clip of Sean and Andrew Garfield, rather reinforcing the idea that they had planned for Sean to pick up the award.

 

           
           
     

Denver Post, 28.02.2010

Three for the road to perdition: "Red Riding Trilogy" opens at Starz
By Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post Film Critic

Come Friday, a different 3-D movie event arrives in Denver. The ambitious, brutal and, yes, addictive British import, "Red Riding Trilogy," opens at the Starz FilmCenter.

Based on British ex-pat David Peace's novels about serial crime and punishing corruption in Yorkshire, the three films cover three "years of our lord" - 1974, 1980 and 1983. Peace wrote a quartet, but finances demanded the trimming.

Each installment was helmed by a differently gifted director: Julian Jarrold, James Marsh and Anand Tucker. And the varied styles provide their own wonder.

All were penned for the screen by Tony Grisoni.

Taken together - and this is our advice - the trilogy demands five hours of undivided attention, not including the 15-minute breaks the Denver Film Society folk have built in between screenings.

As marathon events go, "Red Riding" isn't as exhausting as Peter Brook's nine-hour staging of the "Mahabharata." Nor is it as heart-rending as Claude Lanzmann's nine-hour documentary masterpiece, "Shoah," or as pleasingly melodramatic as Marco Tullio Giordana's six-hour fraternal saga "The Best of Youth."

Still, the title declares where we are headed. Off we go into dark woods where wolves lurk, where foes present themselves as friends. The Yorkshire of the films is a place where little girls are in danger. Some, like little Clare Kemplay, last seen wearing a red anorak jacket, never make it home. And when - if? - they grow to become women, violence remains.

Some lads barely fare better. Robert Sheehan quietly amazes as reappearing rent-boy BJ. Mentally damaged young men of zero means are coerced, or worse, by the police. They confess to crimes they likely didn't commit for reasons they surely don't understand.

In "1974," a leisure-suited real-estate baron, played by Sean Bean, is master of this dank universe. He'd have the cops in his pocket if his pants weren't so tight. Instead, he just owns them.

While the visual mood of "Red Riding: 1974" resembles David Fincher's "Zodiac" and screenwriter Grisoni has woven bits of "Chinatown" into the first installment, the milieu is deeply Brit.

Make no mistake: the interlocking stories of child murder and corruption unfold in the mid '70s and early '80s of the United Kingdom. These films are steeped in a sense of place.

The cops boast, "This is the North and we do what we want." What they want is not very nice.

Oh, ax-men cometh to the rescue in various guises. Andrew Garfied plays young- Turk reporter Eddie Dunford in "1974." Paddy Considine arrives to conduct an internal inquiry in "1980." But Yorkshire proves tough on a would-be hero.

In "1983," Mark Addy is dragged into the muck as least-likely-to-succeed, slovenly solicitor John Piggott.

There are characters that appear in all three. Indeed, "Red Riding: 1983" is full of flashbacks to the unsolved crimes, the unresolved psychic wounds.

Almost to a person, the returning characters serve as ugly evidence of how long it can take to root out the bad guys. The task is nearly impossible when they occupy "good guy" positions.

Movie studios hurry to herald their "event" pictures, their summer tentpoles, the F/X extravaganzas. But too often, real dimensionality remains elusive.

"Red Riding Trilogy," with its remarkable performances, its brilliantly constructed puzzle, its vicious cycles of violence, isn't an easy ride.

But like the best of art, it is an exhilarating one.

Source: Denver Post, 02/28/2010


           
     

The Seattle Times, 25.02.2010

Red Riding': A gripping crime trilogy set in the windswept British north
By Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times movie critic

"Yorkshire noir" is a fairly unpopulated genre, but after watching five gripping hours of the "Red Riding" trilogy, I hope there's more where this came from. A century and a half after "Wuthering Heights," this windswept region still shows up on screen with a terrifying remoteness; where houses look out over barren hillsides and there's a sense that, if you wander a few steps too far, no one will hear you scream. "This is the North," says a policeman in the film, as if stating his personal credo. "We do what we want."

This ambitious, unique project, originally made for British television, is well worth the time investment to see the three-film marathon on a big screen. (Northwest Film Forum is playing all three films through Thursday; see www.nwfilmforum.org for showtimes.) It's based on a series of crime novels by David Peace, all set in 1970s/80s Yorkshire and inspired by real events. "1974" revolves around a young journalist (Andrew Garfield) trying to understand what's gone awry in the investigation of a string of child abductions. "1980" brings a Manchester constable (Paddy Considine) north to investigate the case of the Yorkshire Ripper. "1983" circles back to the first movie, as another child goes missing and a local attorney (Mark Addy) becomes caught up in the case. (A fourth novel, "1977," was not filmed.)

Though each film was adapted, and wisely so, by Tony Grisoni ("Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"), each has a different director. "1974," directed by Julian Jarrold, is grainy and faded-looking, as if permeated by cigarette smoke, yet it occasionally takes flight into fanciful, strangely lovely winged images. James Marsh's "1980" is more grounded in realism, using documentary footage at its start about the real Yorkshire Ripper. Anand Tucker's "1983," particularly in its swirling final scenes, seems to tighten its grip on a watcher like a vise.

Though the horrific crimes at the story's center are rarely shown, they are described in detail, and the fear felt by the community is like a chill wind. ("It never stops," says a neighbor sadly. "Not round here.") But "Red Riding" is ultimately, in classic noir fashion, about a tangle of corruption that runs deep, among lawbreakers and law enforcement alike. You can almost smell the stink of contagion in the police force, where men accustomed to being unquestioned rise and fall.

The films' thicket of northern British accents is at times hard to penetrate (a few sections, particularly among the cops, cry out for subtitles), but nonetheless you watch breathless, wanting a respite from the darkness and yet drawn to it. And it's filled with small performances that feel utterly true: Rebecca Hall as a victim's mother, looking like every drop of life has been drained from her; Robert Sheehan as a troubled young man with the face of a broken angel; Maxine Peake as a wistful detective whose sad little affair with her boss didn't turn out as she'd hoped; Addy, as a decent man ("I've got a pure heart," he says, self-mockingly) horrified by his descent into Yorkshire's blackness. At times it all feels like a bad dream — one from which you may not want to wake up, just yet.
3,5 stars out of 4

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

Source: Copyright © The Seattle Times Company, Thursday, February 25, 2010

           
           
     

San Francisco Chronicle, 26.02.2010

Review: 'Red Riding Trilogy' too grim
Mick LaSalle, Chronicle Movie Critic

Drama. Starring Andrew Garfield, Paddy Considine, Mark Addy, Sean Bean and Rebecca Hall. Directed by Julian Jarrold ("1974"), James Marsh ("1980"), and Anand Tucker ("1983"). (Not rated. 303 minutes. At Bay Area theaters.)

"The Red Riding Trilogy" is made up of three BBC movies that premiered last year on British television. Adapted from novels by David Peace - "1974," "1980" and "1983" - they are loosely based on real-life crimes that took place in Yorkshire a generation ago. Combined into one five-hour epic, in three parts, the film arrives in American theaters.

"Red Riding" has some distinct virtues and is idiosyncratic enough to appeal strongly to certain tastes. But with a five-hour running time, the hope is for an epic return on an epic investment, and that hope goes unanswered. Instead, to watch one part of "Red Riding" is to have the experience - Yorkshire was bleak, corrupt, miserable, ugly and hopeless - and to get the point: Yes, life can be like that sometimes.

Though the parts, each by a different director, share some of the same characters, there's no epic build from one episode to the next. Rather, after each part concludes, the next more or less begins from a standing start. A great weakness of "Red Riding" as a five-hour experience is that the last part, director Anand Tucker's "1983," is the worst of the three.

To American ears, perhaps even to English ears, the Yorkshire accent is difficult to penetrate, and so fully 20 to 25 percent of the dialogue is lost. (Subtitles would have helped.) To make understanding the epic yet more difficult, the scripts - all three were adapted by Tony Grisoni - don't go out of their way to make things clear. The storytelling is jagged and hard to follow.
If that is not enough to discourage you, most of the characters are singularly repellent, yet not distinct enough to be compelling. The films deal with grotesque crimes, like child killing and molestation. And the epic looks like what it is - three long TV movies. I knew I was watching something made for television within 10 minutes of the first part.

Thus, one must be very, very, very, very, very interested in Yorkshire, circa 1980, to embrace and enjoy "The Red Riding Trilogy."

And yet ... there is something to be said for an enterprise this specific and uncompromising. The trilogy is an effort to fix onto celluloid its vision of a mind-set and a condition of life - the state of a community's soul - at a specific juncture of history. You might not enjoy sitting through "Red Riding"; I didn't enjoy sitting through it. But on its own terms, "Red Riding" succeeds.

Not surprising for a BBC production, the acting is uniformly excellent. Worth particular mention are Sean Bean, as a perverse building magnate, and Rebecca Hall, as the mother of a crime victim, in "1974"; Paddy Considine as an internal affairs investigator in "1980"; and Mark Addy, as a low-level attorney who discovers an altruistic streak in "1983," not a healthy trait in his neck of the woods.

-- Advisory: This film contains dispiriting violence, gore, strong language and simulated sex.
E-mail Mick LaSalle at mlasalle@sfchronicle.com.
This article appeared on page E - 4 of the San Francisco Chronicle

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, Friday, February 26, 2010

           
     

Los Angeles Times, 25.02.2010

Review: Grisly 'Red Riding' trilogy is riveting modern noir
By Kenneth Turan

The powerfully disturbing "Red Riding" trilogy will haunt you waking and sleeping, night and day. If you survive the watching of it, that is, which is no easy thing.

It's not the five hours-plus length of this trio of devastatingly bleak modern British noir films that's daunting. Far from it. Strongly made by three directors with three crews but using scripts from the same writer and the same cast for its recurring characters, these films are put together with so much ability and skill that the time simply melts away.

Rather, the hard paradox of this project is that what makes these merciless films at times almost unbearable to watch also maks them frankly impossible to get out of your mind. Not only do they create a gritty, compelling world thick with the fetid air of venality, corruption and desperation, but they also periodically traffic in ghastly and horrific torture, sometimes shown, sometimes merely described, but always circling back to a series of sadistic, soul-destroying murders of women and little girls.

All this and more comes from a quartet of intense, chaotic novels by David Peace that in turn were inspired by events surrounding northern England's real-life Yorkshire Ripper murders. Each book initially was supposed to get its own film, but budget cuts at British TV giant Channel 4 meant that only three could be made. Each novel is named after a year, but when the film title comes up on-screen, the phrase "In the Year of Our Lord" is added, as if to ironically remind us that we are entering a world where godly behavior is difficult to find.

Although the search for murderers is the engine of Tony Grisoni's driving scripts, that's not what the "Red Riding" films are about. These are unsettling, multilayered investigations of character and society, described by the screenwriter as akin to "Dickens on bad acid."

In this thoroughly corrupt society, no one is pure enough to cast the first stone, but the drive to end unspeakable evil is still powerful, even if it runs through fatally compromised individuals.

These intensely atmospheric pieces are set in Leeds and embedded root and branch in what the films present as the brutal culture of the North of England, where accents are hard to decipher, the cold - spiritual as well as physical - gets in your bones, and where the motto of the police is "This is the North, where we do what we want." The "Red Riding" title comes from the Ridings, a trio of administrative areas in Yorkshire, with the addition of red likely calling attention to the violence of the murders and the allusion to the fairy tale reminding us that young girls were involved.

The first part, "1974," directed by Julian Jarrold, follows cocky and ambitious young Yorkshire Post crime reporter Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield) as he starts to suspect that the torture deaths of little girls over several years could be linked. His investigations lead him to surly chief detective Billy "The Badger" Molloy (Warren Clarke), powerful developer John Dawson (Sean Bean), local vicar Martin Laws (Peter Mullan), mysterious rent boy BJ (Robert Sheehan) and beautiful, haunted young widow Paula Garland (Rebecca Hall).

Directed by James Marsh, the second part, "1980," involves a second series of murders, the ghastly Ripper attacks on women. The Home Office, worried about the pace of the Yorkshire Police investigation, sends in a key operative from Manchester, Peter Hunter (Paddy Considine), to try to figure out what's going on. He comes up against a resentful, resistant police culture.

The third part, Anand Tucker's "1983," follows two characters, solicitor John Piggott (Mark Addy) and top cop Maurice Jobson (David Morrissey), as they both are compelled against their better judgment to stanch the flood of corruption, to attempt to get to the source of evil that always seems just out of reach.

Although there are differences in visual and directorial style among the three parts, on a first viewing they seem all of a piece, more united by themes, scripts and actors than divided by individual flourishes. The acting is exceptionally convincing and adds an air of verisimilitude.

Although the sadism and torture laced throughout the "Red Riding" trilogy is only fitfully present, when it does arrive it is graphic and upsetting enough to make watching this exceptionally well-made series very much of a devil's bargain. You take the risk, and hope the price you pay is worth it. Which, given the agonizing subject matter, is perhaps just as it should be.
'Red Riding' trilogy A-

Source: Los Angeles Times, 02/25/2010
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Wellsville Daily Reporter, 19.02.2010

Movie review: ‘Red Riding’ is bloody good stuff
By Al Alexander

I don’t know about you, but when I think of British police officers, I generally conjure up visions of friendly, unarmed bobbies and sly, cunning detectives, a la Sherlock Holmes.

Or, at least that’s the way I used to think before being bombarded with five hours of Brit cops so ruthlessly crooked they make the guys on “The Shield” look like McGruff.

That’s the power of the “Red Riding Trilogy,” a group of films that like the aforementioned “Shield,” take real-life incidents of police corruption and enhance them to the nth degree with enough pulp to open a paper mill.

Drawn from a series of four novels by best-selling author David Peace and turned into a miniseries last year by the BBC, the “Red Riding Trilogy” now makes its way to the States, where it’s being shown both on pay-per-view and at select theaters.
Understandably, folks might be reluctant to pay more than 20 bucks to see what our friends across the pond essentially saw for free, but I’m here to tell you it’s worth it.

Patience is required, however, especially early on when tedium threatens to set in as pieces of the puzzle are introduced and established. Some pay off quickly; others linger almost to the very end.

It’s the quality of the acting, though, that snatches you by the throat and won’t let go. Whether it’s familiar faces like Mark Addy and Sean Bean or virtual unknowns like Andrew Garfield and Warren Clarke, all forgo pretense in favor of the realism necessary to allow you to become thoroughly absorbed in a gritty story in which the sun and humanity refuse to shine.

To a fault, Tony Grisoni’s three screenplays adhere closely to the noir tropes of femme fatales, double-crosses and all sorts of sordid behavior in and out of the bedroom. And true to the genre, there are few survivors after all the bullets and verbal assaults subside.

For the few that do live to tell their tales, you’re there right alongside them, exhausted and happy to be alive.

In fact, it’s so satisfying that you’re willing to forgive the occasional slips into melodrama, as romance and martyrdom begin to emit an odor of contrivance. Of course, that’s bound to happen when faced with the monumental task of paring Peace’s novels down without severing the various threads required to tie the three films together.

Chief among those filaments is an obsessive hunt for the truth, be it a hungry young reporter (Garfield) with visions of Woodward and Bernstein dancing in his head in the first chapter, “1974”; a straight-arrow cop (Paddy Considine) running into the mouth of the beast in the second installment, “1980”; or a corrupt detective (David Morrissey) who suddenly gains a conscience in the last, “1983.”

It’s fascinating to compare and contrast how each of the three actors (each working with a different director) chooses to portray their character’s moral and existential crisis. It’s even more fascinating to understand how our perceptions of each evolve along with them.

The trilogy’s grandest trick, however, lies in its ability to leave you feeling uplifted after witnessing so much pain, sorrow and greed.

Initially, I would have thought that impossible, seeing how “1974,” directed by Julian Jarrold (“Becoming Jane”), revolves around an investigation into the kidnapping, rape and murder of three preteen girls in the Northern town of West Yorkshire.

As you’d expect, it’s incredibly sad to watch; more so once we discover that one of the town’s most prominent businessmen (Bean) and the half-dozen cops he has on his payroll might be complicit. It fills you full of dread; especially after we’re introduced to the grief stricken mother of one of the young girls. She’s played by Rebecca Hall (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”), who further solidifies her place as Britain’s next great actress with a turn that will break your ticker the same way she breaks the heart of Garfield’s cub reporter, Eddie Dunford, who all-too predictably falls for her during his ill-advised quest to solve the murders.

Their romance feels forced, but their feelings of anger and guilt do not.

Similar feelings course through the veins of Considine’s Peter Hunter, a saintly detective from Manchester sent up to Yorkshire in “1980” to help root out the corruption and nab “The Ripper,” a serial killer who has declared open season on prostitutes.

The role fits the sad-eyed Considine to a T, too, proving he can brood with the best of them, as his personal and professional life quickly begin to unravel under the iron thumb of the West Yorkshire cops. But as solid as Considine is, he’s still not enough to prevent the overly talky “1980” (directed by “Man on Wire’s” James Marsh) from being the least satisfying of the three films.

Any letdown, however, quickly dissipates once “1983,” directed by Anand Tucker (“Hilary and Jackie”), kicks in. While it’s not quite as good as “1974,” it more than dazzles, as it begins to tie up loose ends and reveal truths about who is behind the decade-long murder spree plaguing the not-so-fair haven of Yorkshire.

It also features superb performances by Addy as a lawyer seeking to free a wrongly accused client and Morrissey as a dirty cop suddenly getting the itch to make amends.

They also represent the one ray of hope amid the blood and squalor that are so much a part of a depressingly little blue-collar burgh where the most identifiable trait is the ominous looking nuclear power plant.

In most towns, such a facility would be considered a significant health hazard. But in Yorkshire, where death is an almost constant companion, it’s the least of their worries.

Patriot Ledger writer Al Alexander may be reached at aalexander@ledger.com

Source: Wellsville Daily Reporter, NY, Fri Feb 19, 2010

           
     

Boston Globe, 19.02.2010

Red Riding trilogy
Marathon of modern noir: Grisly British crime trilogy is riveting
By Ty Burr

Directed by: Julian Jarrold (1974), James Marsh (1980), Anand Tucker (1983)
Written by: Tony Grisoni, based on the novels by David Peace
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Paddy Considine, David Morrissey, Mark Addy, Sean Bean, Sean Harris, Rebecca Hall, Robert Sheehan
Running time: 295 minutes (102/93/100)
Unrated (as R: bloody mayhem, nudity, dour sex, grim forensic evidence, thick blanket of Yorkshire profanity)

That’s 300 minutes of tawdry secrets vomited into the cold Yorkshire air, covering a decade of fictional mayhem, murder, and almost Shakespearean corruption. You can see the films separately but you might as well see them one after the other; while the quality of the filmmaking varies, the sense of a vast provincial spider web of evil extending off the screen keeps you rapt in your seat. When it clicks, the “Red Riding’’ trilogy is the movie equivalent of a malevolent paperback read you can’t bring yourself to put down.

Each of the films has a different hero, if that’s the right word - no one here is innocent. The first, “Red Riding: 1974,’’ at least gives us a foul-mouthed naïf in Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield), a young crime reporter for the Yorkshire Post who has recently returned from not making it big in London. He’s an ambitious baby shark, so when he hears that the disappearance of a local schoolgirl bears similarities to two previous vanishings, he’s off poking his nose where it shouldn’t go.

Standard stuff so far, even if director Julian Jarrold apes the skittery, paranoid prose of Peace’s novel with a variety of cinematic tricks: grainy 16mm stock, jumpy editing, a general visual sense of being unmoored on the moors. The details, when they’re glimpsed, are off-the-charts grisly, and the people Eddie encounters, whether victims or victimizers, are deeply damaged.

“1974’’ sends narrative feelers in many directions: into the upper echelons of a local developer (Sean Bean) and the police force he controls, down into the murk of a teenage hustler (Robert Sheehan) who knows much too much. Eddie gets involved with the mother of one of the missing girls and Rebecca Hall gives the role a welling sadness the movie needs as an emotional anchor. As a stand-alone experience, “1974’’ is frustrating because it’s the opposite of closure - all the pieces of the puzzle are floating on the surface without connection, and we only briefly glimpse the pit beneath.

“Red Riding: 1980’’ begins to burrow into the muck. A serial killer, dubbed the “Yorkshire Ripper,’’ is killing prostitutes, and Manchester police detective Peter Hunter (Paddy Considine) has been brought in to investigate irregularities in the way the Yorkshire cops are handling the case. He’s a white-knight outsider with his own troubles, and he’s ill equipped to handle a police force of thuggish entitlement. (“To the North,’’ goes the local toast, “where we do what we want.’’)

Frustratingly, the real life Ripper murders turn out to be a giant red herring in “1980.’’ Director James Marshall (“Man on Wire’’) keeps the focus tightly on the simmering mysteries established in the first film and on Hunter’s unraveling confidence. The third installment, “Red Riding: 1983,’’ is the weakest of the bunch, but fortunately (or unfortunately) we’re well and truly hooked by now. The primary figures are both insiders of a sort: Maurice Jobson (David Morrissey), a guilt-ridden police detective whose walrus mustache has been stoically trembling for three movies now, and John Piggott (Mark Addy), a rumpled solicitor who grew up in the same benighted housing project as the girls’ accused killer, a mentally challenged man knowingly named Myshkin (Daniel Mays).

Shot on high-end videotape and flatly dramatized by director Anand Tucker (“Shopgirl’’), “1980’’ is the closest the trilogy comes to the over-obvious style of a made-for-TV movie; it’s a comedown after the almost cubist suspense of the first two parts. But “Red Riding’’ as a whole manages to be more than a stunt through the gritty intensity of the performances, through the stiletto meanness of the villains (particularly Sean Harris as a low-level yob of a cop), and through the larger vision of a country and a society so damned you need multiple protagonists and story lines to take it all in. The trilogy looks at men’s crimes through the facets of a celluloid prism, alternately mesmerized and appalled at the light it throws off.
Ty Burr can be reached at tburr@ globe.com. For more on movies, go to boston.com/movienation.

Source: Boston Globe © Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company, February 19, 2010

           
     

Daily Nexus, 18.02.2010

Bloody “Red” Noir ****
By Lance Kosher / Staff Writer
Issue 81 / Volume 90

What do you get when you combine a dark and dreary setting, a missing 10-year-old girl, a corrupt police force and an abundance of mutton chops? A brilliant noir-style thriller set during the high time of the Bee Gees. “Red Riding: 1974” follows Yorkshire Post journalist Edward Dunford (Andrew Garfield) as he investigates the disappearance of a local girl.
When Dunford makes a connection between her disappearance and two other unsolved missing girls years before, he figures out that there is a serial murderer on the loose. However, Dunford’s Sherlock tendencies do not go unnoticed, as he is met with opposition by his chief editor, threats from the police and bribery from the mysterious real estate mogul John Dawson (Sean Bean).

Abiding by his creed “if it bleeds, it leads,” Dunford’s curiosity and determination keep him on his toes as he pursues the killer in an attempt to bring justice to all of the murdered daughters’ families.

“Red Riding: 1974,” the first of three films adapted from four novels written by David Peace, takes a page out of Raymond Chandler’s classic thrillers, though it trades the rainy post-World War II American city streets for the dark side of England during the 1970s. Dunford even resembles a young, suave Elliott Gould in his role as Philip Marlowe from Robert Altman’s neo-noir film “The Long Goodbye” from the 1970s. Director Julian Jarrold masterfully recreates the grimy, dismal and unforgiving environment that Chandler envisioned.

For you noir fans out there, the entire spectrum of ominous and deceitful characters make their presence known in the film including the morally torn detective and the femme fatale. Sean Bean is perfectly cast as the deceitful and dangerous real estate mogul. Bean’s stellar performance as a convincing nemesis must have been perfected by his previous deviant roles as a weak-hearted, ring-seeking hobbit hunter, James Bond’s ex-partner and as a conman who tries to steal the Constitution from Nicolas Cage.

For those who missed out on the Red Riding films at SBIFF, do not to worry. “Gladiator” director Ridley Scott has bought remake rights for the trilogy and plans to combine the three films into one film that is already in the works. The only difference: It will take place in the U.S. instead of jolly old England.

Source: Daily Nexus, Published Thursday, February 18, 2010

           
     

Boston Herald, 17.02.2010

Take five - that’s how many hours ‘Red Riding’ lasts
By Stephen Schaefer

Better get comfortable, people - this is going to take awhile.

Britain’s acclaimed “Red Riding Trilogy” opens Friday at the Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge, and clocks in at five, count ’em, five hours.

Who the heck is going to want to sit that long in a theater?

Obviously, the filmmakers - three directors for each part and the American distributor - are hoping many will want to, not just to spend time but to be engrossed by this nasty noir inspired by serial killers, sexual perversity and corruption.

Epic-length movies have a history as arthouse hits. The Russian “War and Peace” was eight hours long and shown in two parts, as was the six-hour Dickens adaptation “Little Dorrit.”

Ingmar Bergman’s five-hour “Fanny and Alexander” was made for Swedish TV and shortened to three hours for its foreign release in theaters. Bernardo Bertolucci’s “1900” with Robert De Niro and Burt Lancaster was seen eventually in its five-hour entirety in theaters.

Once upon a time, Hollywood epics such as “Cleopatra” and “Gone With the Wind” - both nearly four hours long - were shown with intermissions.

“Red Riding” also is available on Video on Demand on Comcast cable (episodes can be seen one at a time on IFC). Theatrically, the trilogy can be seen individually as well as in one immersive stretch.

Set in Britain’s bleak North Yorkshire region, “Red Riding” is based on a quartet of crime novels by David Peace. They reference the infamous Moors murders of five children in the mid-1960s, and the slayings committed by the Yorkshire Ripper, a serial killer of 13 women in the late 1970s.

The first installment, “Red Riding: 1974,” centers on a newspaper reporter (Andrew Garfield) who uncovers the holes in the police investigations and implicates a powerful real estate magnate (Sean Bean).

“Red Riding: 1980” finds the public demanding the cops find the serial killer. A cop (Paddy Considine) with emotional issues is sent to investigate corruption.

“Red Riding: 1983” exposes cover-ups, wraps up the loose ends and brings together characters from every installment.
- cinesteve@hotmail.com

Source: Boston Herald.com, Wednesday, February 17, 2010

           
     

The Harvard Crimson, 17.02.2010

Red Riding Trilogy
Dir. Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, and Anand Tucker (IFC Films) -- 4 STARS
By Eleanor T. Regan, CONTRIBUTING WRITER


The best word to describe “Red Riding Trilogy” is “epic.” Clocking in at five hours (not including intermissions) the trilogy is emotional, stimulating, beautiful, and haunting. Based on the noir novels by David Peace, “Red Riding” is actually three movies directed by three different directors with three distinct plots, but all of them are connected by central and overarching conflicts.

Set against the backdrop of shocking serial murders in a particularly poor section of England, the films tell the story of the West Yorkshire Constabulary and the corruption that has been eating away at the small police force for ten years. Spanning that decade, the audience is presented with a complex, moving look at this strange little place, the fear of three ruthless serial killers, and the desperation of having literally nowhere to turn in a town so filled with corruption.

In “Red Riding 1974,” there have been a rash of kidnappings in small, impoverished West Yorkshire. Ace reporter Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield, in an excellent performance) has made it his mission to get to the bottom of it all, but along the way runs into something much more complex and sinister than a serial killer. John Dawson, (Sean Bean) a prominent business man, has been bribing policemen and officials for years and when a young girl is found dead and brutalized on his land, he is willing to go to any length to keep Dunford from prying.

“Red Riding 1980” begins six years later with the appearance of the Yorkshire Ripper, a serial killer who has been raping, mutilating and murdering prostitutes in Yorkshire for years. The Constabulary has been forced to call in a special team to hunt down this killer, led by Peter Hunter, (Paddy Cobsidine) a cop who has already made enemies in the tight-knit, corrupt West Yorkshire Police force. Digging deeper into the conspiracies discovered by Dunford in 1974, Hunter is met with the same resistance and violence in his attempt to catch the murderer.

In the third film, the year is now 1983 and there has been another kidnapping in West Yorkshire, which is strikingly similar to those of 1974, forcing the police to accept that they may not have apprehended the right man. A washed up public defender John Piggott (Mark Addy) has taken on the case and strikes yet another blow at the white-collar crime that pervades the Police Department.

The plot of all three films leaves something to be desired on occasion. It is a typical noir story and sometimes the heavy-handed conspiracy elements and over-the-top violence become a tad obvious.

For example, the third movie begins with a trip to a psychic who mutters heavy-handed hints to the audience, and any time a female character is introduced, it is a matter of minutes before she enters into a torrid affair with the main character of the moment.

However, the directors (Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, and Anand Tucker, in charge of 1974, 1980 and 1983 respectively) work well within these genre conventions. This is not a movie that is meant to shock audiences with an eleventh hour twist - it is instead a horrific journey that slowly unfolds.

Despite its plot, “Red Riding” is not a story about serial killers or brutal murders - it is about all of the things that surround them: the parents, the police, the newspapers, and the communities all trying to make sense of these brutal events.

The acting is superb across the board, as characters wrestle with knowledge that the audience won’t get to know for hours, but somehow don’t come off as confused or thick. Robert Sheehan puts in a particularly moving performance as BJ, a gay prostitute who also finds himself caught up in these mysteries, inexplicably tied to each death across the three movies. Other stand-outs include Rebecca Hall as the grieving mother of a missing girl and Sean Harris, one of the many corrupt cops of the West Yorkshire Constabulary.

While audience members have the option to see only one of the films, the Kendall Square Theater is also offering marathon viewings where all three movies will be shown back-to-back. While each is good on its own, it is in the sheer length and breadth that the story has the most power.

Be warned, “Red Riding” is not a movie for the faint of heart, as there is some truly gratuitous violence, and the directors spare no detail of the gory deaths. The opening image of the first film, for example, is a dead child with swan wings stitched to her back. But this image, like the trilogy as a whole, is both horrifying and haunting, a combination that makes the endpoint well worth the five hours it takes to get there.

Source: The Harvard Crimson, Published: Wednesday, February 17, 2010

           
     

The New Yorker, 15.02.2010

The Current Cinema
Fatal Consequences “The Red Riding Trilogy” by David Denby
in Print: February 15, 2010


“This is the North - we do what we want.” These defiantly jocular words are spoken by a policeman as he throws a young reporter out the back of a van. The scene takes place in “Red Riding: 1974,” the first in a series of films, “The Red Riding Trilogy,” made last year for British television’s Channel 4, and now released in theatres as a mammoth, sensationally violent and beautiful five-hour movie. (The trilogy is also available on cable, as a video on demand under the rubric “IFC in Theaters.”) The North in the policeman’s boast is West Yorkshire - the city of Leeds, mostly, but also featureless pale-green moors and, among them, small, rubbly towns with dead-looking brown houses. “The Red Riding Trilogy” is based on a quartet of books (one was dropped for the TV adaptation) written by the British noir specialist David Peace, who, starting in 1999, fictionalized some of England’s most notorious recent crimes. Elements of the following find their way into the movie: the “Moors murders,” of five children, between July, 1963, and October, 1965; the murder of thirteen women by Peter William Sutcliffe, known as the Yorkshire Ripper, between 1975 and 1980; and a miscarriage of justice that saw Stefan Kiszko, a twenty-six-year-old tax clerk from Rochdale, serve sixteen years for a 1975 murder that he did not commit. Believe it or not, the series is an entertainment.

Most of the trilogy is about the wavering attempts to get at the truth of botched police investigations - ineptitudes that the novels and the movie turn into an interlocking system of corruption. You don’t see any of the murders, but there are shadows of death everywhere: pale corpses, brutality and cynicism, and hints of perversion and obsession - a sense of violation fouling the terrain. One writer, Tony Grisoni, did the adaptation, but each film has a different director and a different look. A few scenes in each episode - the repeated use of swans’ wings as a portent, some fancy camerawork—border on the pretentious, but the dark power and the flowing organization of the material pull you into the narrative, which moves forward and backward in a single skein of visionary filmmaking. Forgoing digital effects, or any presence of the supernatural, “The Red Riding Trilogy” nevertheless achieves a terrific sense of the uncanny, an atmosphere so spooked and suggestive that it becomes oddly attractive, like an enchanted forest in a children’s story. Flowers of evil are growing in the stony Yorkshire soil.

Grisoni retained Peace’s noir fatalism, his colloquial, bitter pungency - the gibes and roughhousing of male camaraderie and rivalry - and he filled out the social background. Pummelled by the repeated crimes, the population seems as cursed as the landscape, which has been stripped of its famous beauty. Many of the women are frightened or grieving, many of the men vaguely or openly guilty, even those who haven’t done anything, whose only crime is being fallible or knowing things that trouble them. As in any mystery, we’re eager for the truth, and “Red Riding” finally delivers: inexplicable acts and cryptic conversations, baffling at first, are recapitulated, interpreted, and resolved; characters who hover meekly in the background of the first film grow in importance later in the series, sometimes by means of flashback or moments from the past opened up and made clear. For Peace and Grisoni, the primal sin, which sets in motion the years of nasty behavior, is greed. In the first film, the fictional top inspectors of the West Yorkshire police have been bought by a powerful real-estate developer, John Dawson (Sean Bean), who is himself criminal in his appetites. As the series goes on, the police commit crimes to cover their relationship with Dawson, and then more crimes to cover the earlier ones. The series suggests that, when the Ripper was still at large, the police imitated his gruesome method of killing so that their acts would be taken as his. In other words, the serial crimes of the insane create a kind of protective shell for the rational crimes of the merely greedy, a deeply unsettling idea.

A few hard-pressed idealists try to clear out the spreading rot. In the first film, the cocky reporter Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield), a tall, good-looking young man with sideburns and warm brown eyes, takes on this dirty world. Little girls are being murdered, and, as far as Dunford can see, the police are too compromised to catch anyone. He braves the rancid atmosphere around police headquarters and also at his newspaper, the Yorkshire Post, whose editor colludes with Dawson. Careless and randy, Dunford has an affair with Paula Garland (Rebecca Hall), who has lost her young daughter to the killer. But Garland has also been bought off by Dawson (she’s his mistress), and the wonderful Hall makes her soulfully masochistic - an intelligent but lost woman trapped in a life gone wrong. Garland wants to be saved, but Dunford, a likably ambitious and libidinous descendant of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe, is too reckless to be effective. He gets laid a lot, but also beaten up a lot; he lacks the instincts of a survivor. The director, Julian Jarrold (“Becoming Jane”), tells the story entirely from Dunford’s point of view; we’re close to his pleasures and risks, which is both satisfying and unnerving. And Jarrold, I would guess, has taken a good look at David Lynch’s work. He has a taste for lowering gray skies and dark roads barely penetrated by sparse headlights. His hero falls into trances, as if the truth could be found in his unconscious.

In the second film, “Red Riding: 1980,” the Ripper is rampaging all over Leeds, and the Home Office sends an inspector from Manchester to find the killer and clean up the mess in the police department. Peter Hunter (Paddy Considine) is a more experienced and disciplined figure than Eddie Dunford, and the director of this episode, James Marsh (“Man on Wire”), in keeping with Hunter’s cool, has a more settled and purposefully matter-of-fact style. We’re more firmly anchored in reality this time: the episode begins with documentary footage from the Ripper years. Caught at last, the Ripper, played with bizarre calm by Joseph Mawle, describes one of his killings to the assembled West Yorkshire police. Everyone listens with a kind of horrified awe; the police may be stunned, in part, because they can no longer hide their own crimes behind the Ripper’s. Still, even with the Ripper out of commission, the curse on the North isn’t lifted. Hunter has already been stymied in his attempt to wipe out corruption. Again and again, he runs into the obscurantist rancor of a crooked officer named Bob Craven, played by the eerily intense Sean Harris, who literally goes nose to nose with Paddy Considine’s Hunter, pushing him back physically with his face. Frozen out, discredited, and dealing with problems of his own, Hunter begins to fall apart. The light for a number of scenes is an eerie white, as if we had entered a twilight zone where certainty fails.

In the final episode, “Red Riding: 1983,” directed by Anand Tucker (“Hilary and Jackie”), the random forces of goodness at last assemble their feeble powers. Another girl disappears, and the crime, which has obvious similarities to the disappearances and the deaths of a decade earlier, sickens one of the police higher-ups, a solemnly imposing man, Maurice Jobson (David Morrissey), who has been in on the fix all along. Jobson, mumbling and tentative, undergoes a gradual awakening, the first sign of police effectiveness. He is joined in the fight for clarity by a shabby lawyer, John Piggott (Mark Addy), a stout and morose failure who is stricken by his own family connection to the Yorkshire violence. The two men have another partner whom neither is aware of. Years earlier, there was a secondary sin: a young boy was turned into a prostitute by a local man whom we see throughout the series. The hustler, B.J. (Robert Sheehan), who witnessed some of the crimes, also floats in and out of all three episodes, a softly lyrical insinuation, too scared to tell more than a little of what he knows. It is B.J., professionally a criminal but morally an innocent, who narrates the surprise conclusion in which, after much misery, a seeming resurrection takes place. The stray bits of white light seen in parts two and three are gathered into a powerful shaft, and the cycle of murder and corruption is brought to a close.

David Peace has written that “crime is brutal, harrowing and devastating for everyone involved,” and this certainly comes through in the adaptation. But a high degree of art and show-business savvy has been applied to the unspeakable. The expressiveness of even the minor actors, for instance, warms the bleak atmosphere. “The Red Riding Trilogy” is an exhausting, morbidly fascinating, and finally thrilling experience. The hardiest viewers may want to brave the five-hour marathon in the theatres, but most people, I believe, would be happier seeing it one episode at a time, savoring its complex turns, its perversities and occasional beauties, over a number of sweetly troubled days.

Source: The New Yorker 

           
     

The Boston Globe, 14.02.2010

Four novels, three directors, one exploration of evil
England’s ‘Red Riding’ trilogy has distinct parts but a unifying theme

By Mark Feeney

“Red Riding," the dark and brooding English film trilogy that opens here Friday, has a similar title to “Little Red Riding Hood." Both also involve wolves. Except “Red Riding’’ has many rather than just one, all of them of the human sort.

“Riding" refers to the West Riding, part of Yorkshire, in the north of England. Place and time are crucial to the trilogy. The film titles make that plain: “Red Riding: 1974,’’ “Red Riding: 1980,’’ and “Red Riding: 1983.’’

The large and gifted cast is full of names that American audiences might not immediately recognize, but their faces are familiar: Sean Bean (“The Fellowship of the Ring’’), Andrew Garfield (“Lions for Lambs’’), Rebecca Hall (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona’’), Paddy Considine (“The Bourne Ultimatum’’), Eddie Marsan (“Sherlock Holmes’’).

“It really was an ensemble,’’ said David Morrissey (“The Other Boleyn Girl’’), in a telephone interview last week. Morrissey plays a senior police official in all three films. “We knew we were doing something special.’’

Based on a quartet of novels by David Peace, “Red Riding’’ mixes fact and fiction. The so-called Yorkshire Ripper, who brutally murdered more than a dozen women over a five-year period, is fact. Another serial killer, a pedophile, is fiction. Police corruption of “LA Confidential’’ proportions is fact, fiction, or some combination of the two, depending on whom you talk to.

The films link to form a claustral epic, moving back and forth between wind-swept moors and windowless interrogation rooms. With their blend of grimness and criminality - intensity, too - they’re equal parts police procedural, paranoid thriller, and kitchen-sink tragedy.

Ridley Scott has already purchased the rights for a possible remake. Don’t hold your breath, though: It’s one of 15 projects he has in development.

“The series isn’t really about the Yorkshire Ripper at all,’’ said Anand Tucker, the director of “Red Riding: 1983,’’ in a telephone interview last week. “The series is about something much older and darker. It’s even older than this century. It’s a very Blakean idea of evil. It’s that weird Yorkshire landscape.

“I’ll tell you what it’s like. You guys in America have this idea of the South, as in ‘Deliverance’ and ‘Easy Rider.’ That’s where civilization ends, with untamed and unspeakable forces. Here in England it’s the north. That idea of evil forces at work that affect the way men operate. It’s not just small-town bad men, it’s something much worse.’’

When Britain’s Channel 4 broadcast “Red Riding’’ over three consecutive Thursdays last March, it was a cultural event. That was owing to more than just artistic excellence. There was the novelty of each film having a different director: Julian Jarrold (the 2008 version of “Brideshead Revisited’’) did the first one, and James Marsh (“Man on Wire’’) the second. Each also employed a different format to shoot his film. Jarrold shot in 16mm, Marsh in 35mm, and Tucker in digital.

“It was rather an extraordinary beast in that each of the three filmmakers involved was given freedom to do his own thing,’’ said Tucker, best known for the films “Hilary and Jackie’’ and “Shopgirl.’’ “And it worked! It wouldn’t work every time, but it did here.’’

Tucker noted with a laugh that he consciously avoided reading the other two scripts or watching Jarrold’s and Marsh’s footage. “It ties up a lot of loose ends,’’ he said of his film, “but I wanted it to stand on its own. So you could watch it without having seen the other two.’’

That three-way division of labor might seem odd. But Andrew Eaton, one of the trilogy’s three producers, said in a telephone interview that that was the plan all along. “I’m biased, but I think it suits the nature of the stories,’’ he said. What hadn’t been planned was the films’ debuting on television. “Red Riding’’ was conceived as a theatrical release. “They were shown first on TV in the UK because that was the one way to finance it,’’ Eaton said.

Morrissey said he feels being televised added to the trilogy’s impact. “What I love is that it’s a television project on which the producers have allowed the directors to be cinematic,’’ he said.

No stranger to television, Morrissey starred in the British miniseries version of “State of Play’’ and played future British prime minister Gordon Brown in the BBC docudrama “The Deal.’’

“What usually happens with television is the audience is constantly reminded who people are. Will the audience remember anything after the ad break? In ‘Red Riding’ the filmmakers didn’t do that. They treated the audience with the utmost respect. The story is quite muddy at times, but it’s so painterly and beautifully told.’’

Conversely, there were ways in which the nature of television worked to the films’ advantage, Morrissey felt. “The more information you have, the better. The beauty of doing television in general is the fact the audience gets time with the character. You can be subtler in that way. In a one-off, or a movie, you have to tell stories with a much broader brush.’’

There’s a lot of information in “Red Riding,’’ although it’s rarely presented straightforwardly. The films have even more flashbacks than killings - and they have a lot of killings. Yorkshire slang and the furry vowels of the regional accent can further add to the confusion. “Part of the joy of ‘Red Riding’ is a dramatic puzzle the audience enters into,’’ Morrissey said. “They’re seeing things and not realizing the resonance until an episode or two later.’’

Morrissey had a simple yet effective way to solve the puzzle. He chopped up the three scripts, putting them all together in chronological order. He also had the script supervisor give him “a daily breakdown. It was important for me to know what my character knew at any one time. The way the story is told you’d think the character would know certain things, but he doesn’t. So finding your time scale could be even harder for the actors than the viewers.’’

It wasn’t just the actors who struggled. “I’d always get a little anxious whenever David would come up to me with that notebook of his,’’ Tucker said with a laugh.

Mark Feeney can be reached at mfeeney@globe.com.

Source: The Boston Globe, © Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company, Feb 14, 2010

           
     

blogcritics.org, 14.02.2010

Movie Review: Red Riding Trilogy

Based on four novels by David Pearce, the Red Riding film trilogy is a series of well-crafted noir thrillers set amongst the crime and corruption of Yorkshire, England in the 1970s and '80s. The city at that time is revealed to have a dark, gritty underbelly where some give in to their illicit wishes and desires regardless of the consequences. Scarier than the details of the crimes committed is the believability and authenticity of a police force filled with corrupt members whose motto is "This is the North where we do what we want."

Originally airing in Britain on Channel Four, the films are making their way through the United States together. They have different directors and different looks. Julian Jarrold shot 1974 on 16mm film, James Marsh shot 1980 on 35mm film, and Anand Tucker shot 1983 using a Red One digital camera. Yet, all are linked together by some members of the talented cast and the writing of Tony Grisoni who did an excellent job adapting all three.

1974 introduces reporter Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield), a young man filled with idealism about his job who soon learns that aspect alone is insufficient when challenging the powers that be. While working a case involving abducted young girls, Eddie's path crosses that of local businessman John Dawson (Sean Bean) when the disfigured body of Claire Kemplay is found on his property. Dawson is also the focus of Eddie's co-worker Barry Gannon (Anthony Flanagan) due to his questionable business dealings.

As part of his investigation Eddie meets with Paula (Rebecca Hall), the mother of one of the missing girls. Soon after, officers Craven (Sean Harris) and Douglas (Tony Mooney) make clear he should stay far away. Eddie refuses and gets personally involved, which has dire consequences. Meanwhile a young retarded man, Michael Myshkin (Daniel Mays), confesses his guilt to the police and is jailed for Claire's murder.

The serial killer known as the Yorkshire Ripper has been terrorizing the city for six years in 1980. With the local police unable to stop him, the higher-ups send in Assistant Chief Constable Peter Hunter (Paddy Considine) from Manchester to take over the case. Hunter has history with the Yorkshire police when he unsuccessfully investigated the shooting incident seen at the climax of 1974 which involved officers.

Going over the Ripper case with two detectives he brought with him, John Nolan (Tony Pitts) and Helen Marshall (Maxine Peake), Hunter finds one murder victim, Clare Strachan (Kelly Freemantle) doesn't fit the modus operandi. However, she has a dubious connection to the late Detective Eric Hall. As Hunter's investigation proceeds, it is made difficult by resistance from the local police and his relationship with Marshall.

In 1983, the disappearance of Hazel Atkins is reminiscent of Kemplay years ago. This causes qualms in Detective Chief Superintendent Maurice Jobson (David Morrissey) who had worked the previous case. There had been another suspect apart from Michael Myshkin but that man was given an alibi by John Dawson. Jobson is told to meet with a psychic to help and she reveals Hazel is connected to the 1974 case.

Myshkin's mother approaches neighbor and solicitor John Piggott (Mark Addy) to appeal her son's conviction. He finally agrees to meet Michael and finds him very disturbed but he doesn’t know what can be done since Myshkin confessed.
The police bring in Leonard Cole (Gerard Kearns), the young man who found Kemplay's body, and coerce a confession out of him to Jobson's disgust. Cole's mother goes to Piggott for help and as he investigates, he finds neither young man guilty. Both Jobson and Piggott work independently to reveal the truth and put a stop to a decade of crime.

The greatest element in the Red Riding trilogy is how well the three films work in conjunction with each other. 1974 is good crime drama, but the weaker of the three because there were some questionable story moments, such as why Eddie was allowed to cause so much trouble. He likely could have "disappeared" and the responsible parties would have gotten away with it scot-free. However, there are compelling revelations in the following two films that, while they don't absolve these issues, do make the entire Red Riding story richer by adding more depth. Answers revealed in 1974 are not necessarily the real answers to the mysteries, and I found myself wanting to revisit it armed with all the information provided.

Coming in at less than six hours, the Red Riding trilogy is highly recommended for crime fans. Created like episodes in a TV series, the three films should be viewed in the same manner with the less time between segments the better.

Source:  blogcritics.org, 14. Feb. 2010

           
     

Los Angeles Times, 12.02.2010

'Red Riding' trilogy
To view this gritty, gripping series is to enter a devil's bargain: Watch and you'll never forget.

By KENNETH TURAN Film Critic

The powerfully disturbing "Red Riding" trilogy will haunt you waking and sleeping, night and day. If you survive the watching of it, that is, which is no easy thing.

It's not the five-hours-plus length of this trio of devastatingly bleak modern British noir films that's daunting. Far from it. Strongly made by three different directors with three different crews but using scripts from the same writer and the same cast for its recurring characters, these films are put together with so much ability and skill that the time simply melts away.
Rather, the hard paradox of this project is that what makes these merciless films at times almost unbearable to watch also makes them frankly impossible to get out of your mind. Not only do they create a gritty, compelling world thick with the fetid air of venality, corruption and desperation, but they also periodically traffic in ghastly and horrific torture, sometimes shown, sometimes merely described, but always circling back to a series of sadistic, soul-destroying murders of women and little girls.

All this and more comes from a quartet of intense, chaotic novels by David Peace ("fictions torn from facts that illuminate the truth," he says) that in turn were inspired by events surrounding northern England's real-life Yorkshire Ripper murders.
While each book was initially supposed to get its own film, budget cuts at British TV giant Channel 4 meant that only three could be made. Each novel is named after a year, but when the film title comes up on-screen, the phrase "In the Year of Our Lord" is added, as if to ironically remind us that we are entering a world where godly behavior is going to be difficult to find.
Though the search for murderers is the engine of Tony Grisoni's driving scripts, that's not what the "Red Riding" films are about. With the meaning or even exactly what's happening in specific moments often intentionally unclear, these are unsettling, multi-layered investigations of character and society, described by the screenwriter as akin to "Dickens on bad acid." In this thoroughly corrupt society, no one is pure enough to cast the first stone, but the drive to end unspeakable evil is still a powerful one, even if it runs through fatally compromised individuals.

These intensely atmospheric pieces are set in Leeds and embedded root and branch in what the films present as the brutal culture of the North of England, where accents are hard to decipher, where the cold -- spiritual as well as physical -- gets in your bones and where the motto of the police is "This is the North, where we do what we want." The "Red Riding" title comes from the Ridings, a trio of administrative areas in Yorkshire, with the addition of red likely calling attention to the violence of the murders and the allusion to the fairy tale, reminding us that young girls were involved.

The first part, "1974," directed by Julian Jarrold, follows cocky and ambitious young Yorkshire Post crime reporter Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield) as he starts to suspect that the torture deaths of little girls over several years could be linked. His investigations lead him to surly chief detective Billy "The Badger" Molloy (Warren Clarke), powerful developer John Dawson ( Sean Bean), local vicar Martin Laws (Peter Mullan), mysterious rent boy BJ (Robert Sheehan) and the beautiful, haunted young widow Paula Garland (Rebecca Hall). But no good will come of it, no good at all.

Directed by James Marsh, the second part, "1980," involves a second series of murders, the ghastly Ripper attacks on women. The Home Office, worried about the pace of the Yorkshire Police investigation, sends in a key operative from Manchester, Peter Hunter (Paddy Considine), to try to figure out what's going on. He comes up against a resentful, resistant police culture, typified by the sadistic detective Bob Craven ( Sean Harris). "How deep does the rot go?" Hunter wonders. "Who stops it?"

Attempting to answer that question, the third part, Anand Tucker's "1983," follows two characters, solicitor John Piggott (Mark Addy) and top cop Maurice Jobson (David Morrissey), as they both are compelled against their better judgment and even their self-interest to staunch the flood of corruption, to attempt to get to the source of evil that always seems just out of reach.

Though there are differences in visual and directorial style in the three parts, on a first viewing at least they seem all of a piece, more united by themes, scripts and actors than divided by individual flourishes. The acting is exceptionally convincing and adds an air of verisimilitude. It's remarkable to find out that Hall, almost unrecognizable as a North Country Marilyn Monroe type, came directly from Woody Allen's fluffy "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" to this, which must have been the most mind-bending of transitions.

Though the sadism and torture laced throughout the "Red Riding" trilogy is only fitfully present, when it does arrive it is graphic and upsetting enough to make watching this exceptionally well-made series very much a devil's bargain. You take the risk and hope the price you pay is worth it. Which, given the agonizing subject matter, is perhaps just as it should be.
kenneth.turan @latimes.com

Source: Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times, February 12, 2010

           
     

Los Angeles Independent, 11.02.2010

REVIEW: Red Riding Trilogy
By OLU ALEMORU, Staff Writer

Cultured patrons attending the Westside’s Landmark Nuart theater on Friday might want to bring a cushion and their warmest slippers as the renowned indie movie venue prepares to screen a five-hour dramathon called “The Red Riding Trilogy.”

However, the audience would also be well-warned to go with strong stomachs, as the British made-for-television series features some of the most unsettlingly brutal and hauntingly realistic images of violence ever captured on screen.
Adapted by screenwriter Tony Grisoni and based on a celebrated quartet of novels by author David Peace (“Red Riding-1977” was nixed for budgetary reasons), the films are a highly ambitious descent into the darkness of the human soul.
Encapsulating and interlinking a decade of modern British history, the trilogy mixes fact and fiction to expose heinous police and political corruption in a northern industrial town, as a backdrop to a spate of child serial killings and the real-life hunt for the “Yorkshire Ripper.”

The child slayings evoke the infamous and gruesome 1960’s “Moors” murders by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, who killed and tortured five children aged between 10 and 17.

It became so named because three (one discovered 20 years later) of the bodies were found on Saddleworth Moor near the Yorskshire town of Oldham.

Three different directors tackle the epic project: “1974” is helmed by Julian Jarrold, “1980” by James Marsh and “1983” by Anand Tucker.

It also boasts a who’s-who of British acting talent, including Sean Bean (“Patriot Games,” “Lord of the Rings”); Andrew Garfield (“The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus”); David Morrissey (“The Reaping”); and Rebecca Hall (“Vicky Cristina Barcelona).

It’s hard to say, but either Grisoni is either a masochist or quite possibly insane in apparently jumping at the chance to re-create the novels.

The unrelenting drama assaults the senses with pictures of child mutilation (the serial killer has a passion for swans and attaches their wings to his victims), extreme violence (a priest is blasted to death with a shotgun at short range) and torture (interrogating police unleash a live rat to gnaw at a man’s groin).

All the while, the action is mostly framed through a nihilistic vision of what Northern life was like in the 1970s and ‘80s for ordinary, working class folks trapped in ugly concrete tenements, and crime-infested, virtually abandoned housing estates.
“This is the North where we do what we want,” a line uttered in toast by a cabal of senior, corrupt Yorskshire police officers, sets the scene in 1974 where rookie journalist Eddie Dunford (Garfield) returns from London for his father’s funeral as a young girl goes missing.

Perhaps trying to prove himself for not making the grade down south, Dunford latches onto the case and persuades the gruff editor of the Yorkshire Post to let him investigate how the police are handling it.

The short answer to that is “any bloody way they want,” as the cocky scribe tragically falls for Paula Garland (Hall) the mother of another recent victim and his investigation rubs local business tycoon John Dawson (Bean) the wrong way.
Then, as the central characters arc and overlap, a series of flashbacks unravel the other two films as the increasingly riveting hunt for the serial killer becomes a grand guignol of superior storytelling.

Source: The Los Angeles Independent, Feb 11, 2010 at 5:16 PM PST

           
     

LAist FilmCalendar, 10.02.2010

Love Means Never Missing Red Riding & Documentaries

I like long walks on the beach, and Sean Bean... | Photo courtesy of IFC Films

 

This Valentine's Day, a dozen red roses may be out of the question, but a dozen dead schoolgirls is totally doable courtesy of The Red Riding Trilogy, unspooling in various installments at an exclusive Nuart engagement....

Source: LAist Film Calendar, Feb 10, 2010

           
     

Marshall Fine, 8.02.2010

Movie review: Red Riding trilogy
The “Red Riding” trilogy is exactly the kind of project that video-on-demand was made for.

Make no mistake: These are high-quality mystery-thrillers, made for British television but better than most American cop films, with more going on than the case that seems to be at the center of each film. Layered and well-acted, they are psychologically riveting and complexly plotted.

But there are three of them.

And while each film is complete unto itself, the three of them are like separate sections of the same novel (actually, the product of four novels by writer David Peace, condensed into three films). You need to consume the entire story to get the total experience. And that’s the problem.

It’s a bold undertaking to create a film trilogy for any number of reasons but the short list goes like this: Who has time to go see three films, whether on the same day (a minimum of a six-hour commitment, assuming a minimal bathroom/snack break between films) or over the course of three days? It’s a lot to ask of an audience, particularly with films featuring thick midlands British accents and no real stars to speak of? It’s one thing to make three “Lord of the Rings” films and release them annually for three years; it’s another to make a three-part mystery and release all three films at the same time.

I happened to catch up with the trilogy (which was part of the New York Film Festival) because the three films were screened back to back one afternoon during the week between Christmas and New Year’s; I still felt a certain frisson of guilt at devoting the better part of a day to what amounted to a six-hour movie. But otherwise, I doubt I would have been able to block out that kind of time.

So, as I said, this trio is perfect for video-on-demand, where you can watch them at home on your own schedule. Which happens to be one of the delivery systems IFC is employing for this filmmaking experiment.

Based on the Peace quartet, the trilogy consists of three films with the same name and different dates: “Red Riding 1974, “Red Riding 1980” and “Red Riding 1983.” All three have scripts by the same writer, Tony Grisoni. Each film features a few overlapping characters from the film before and each, to some extent, deals with the same series of child abductions and murders that remain unsolved.

The three films have different directors, however: Julian Jarrold (“1974”), James Marsh (“1980”) and Anand Tucker (“1983”). The directing styles vary, but the films are of a piece. Only the pop music of the period shifts slightly, along with the fashions and hair lines of the characters, who are mainly male.

Yet each film deals with a different part of the storyline, which is based on the Yorkshire Ripper case that haunted the area for a decade. The first film focuses on a reporter (Andrew Garland), who may have a source to give him information about police corruption in the local force – which proves a distraction from the latest case of a missing child that the cops have to deal with.

The second film focuses on a different central character: an internal-affairs cop (Paddy Considine), who is brought in to get to the bottom of corruption that is rotting the Yorkshire force from the inside out.

The third film deals with a high-ranking officer (David Morrissey) who has worked his way up in the force and knows where the lines of corruption are strongest and finally decides to do something about it. His opposite is a tired public defender (Mark Addy), who tries to win freedom for the suspect in the ongoing children’s murders, knowing the odds are against him – even though the real killer remains at large.

Interestingly, when I saw the films, the first one featured subtitles, despite the fact that it was in English. The second two didn’t. But the version at the IFC center and VOD platforms lacks the subtitles, which is too bad, given the sludgy nature of the accents themselves.

Each of these films is carefully assembled, blending rough interpersonal dynamics and gruesome crimes. All three build to a climax, though the third film’s structure incorporates flashbacks from the first two and, finally, answers questions raised in all three films. Individually, the films are strong; cumulatively, they pack a wallop that can’t be denied.
Whether you set aside a day for the three, catch them on different nights or seek them out on TV, the “Red Riding” trilogy is absolutely worth your time and the effort required to see the whole story. Don’t let the demand of cumulative running time scare you away from what is a deeply satisfying movie experience.

Source: Marshall Fine @ Hollywood & Fine  Feb 8, 2010
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Noah Forrest, 08.02.2010

Red Riding: Better Than the Godfather?

Some films are so dense that it's impossible to truly appreciate them while you're watching them for the first time. The Red Riding trilogy is one of those films. Although, calling it a "trilogy" isn't really appropriate because although it is three separate films by three separate directors using three very techniques, they are all part of a whole. Some folks have described Red Riding as a six-hour epic British version of David Fincher's Zodiac. I think that's an unfair comparison, which caused me to spend a lot of time comparing the two while I was watching it. When compared to Zodiac, almost no crime film comes out looking favorable.

Red Riding is a film about a serial killer, to be sure, but it's also a film about a town. And more than that, it's a film about a culture and a class of people. Based on a series of four novels by David Peace, the three films take place at three different years, during two different sets of serial murders and through the eyes of three protagonists. But the real main character and the main subject is the North of England in the late 70s and early 80s, specifically Yorkshire. I've never been to the UK and I've especially never been there in this time period, but the three different filmmakers all made me taste the tar of the cigarettes, smell the fumes of the local plants and hear the sounds of this place. This is dreary subject matter that takes place in a gloomy part of the world at a depressed time. In other words, this is the type of film that is right up my alley.

First we are presented with novice journalist Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield) in 1974, the installment directed by Julian Jarrold (Kinky Boots, Brideshead Revisited). Dunford is idealistic and passionate, desperate to break the latest story and willing to bend the rules in order to find out clues. Dunford fancies himself as a tough-guy private eye, but everyone around him sees him as a weakling that can be bossed around and frightened. But he's recently moved back home after spending some time in the South and there is a twinge of condescension in his voice, like he thinks he's better than most of the blue collar toughs he lives and works with. So, Dunford hasn't exactly ingratiated himself with the local populace, but when investigates the disappearances and murders of several young girls, Dunford winds up suspecting some pretty powerful people. He also starts an affair with the mother of one of the missing children (Rebecca Hall).

1974 is a film that has gotten a lot of rave reviews and it's got a lot of great material presented in an economical way that isn't confusing at all. But it's also a lot of set-up for what will follow in the next two films and although it has an ending that is intense and shocking, it feels a bit contrived as well. Garfield is excellent in the lead role as someone who believes he's a big shot and is brought back down to earth in a very tragic way. He's aided by terrific supporting performances from Sean Bean as the real estate developer, who is the most powerful man in town and Rebecca Hall as the mother who clearly misses her child, but seems to be withholding information that might be helpful. Then there are actors like David Morrissey as Maurice Jobson, Peter Mullan as Reverend Martin Laws and Robert Sheehan as the rent-boy BJ, who have arcs that only just begin with this story and continue through all three films.

1974 was the film that, for me, suffered most from the Zodiac comparisons. While it does have a similarly tight grasp of the atmosphere of the time, it just doesn't have the same quality of construction or control of pacing as the Fincher film. The pacing is a big issue because Jarrold's film seems to have starts and stops along the way while Fincher's is able to follow a straight line and slowly build the tension. In this film, the tension is there for some scenes and lost for others. Perhaps this is due to having a smaller budget - it was made for British television after all - but I think mostly it's just not an apt comparison. Despite them both being about famous serial murderers and taking places in the 70s, the films have nothing in common in terms of what they are trying to do.

Fincher's film is a character study about obsession and a finely-tuned reconstruction of what it meant to be around in this time and place. The Red Riding films are also about a particular time and place, but while it dwells in the depressing, it doesn't live there like Fincher's film does. More than that, the message is much different; Fincher's film seems to say, "there are no answers in life, only more questions," while the Red Riding films say, "there are answers if you make it through the obstacles put in your way and you remain dogged in your pursuit." And those themes definitely color the respective films.

1980, the film by James Marsh (Man on Wire) is when the story really begins to pick up steam. The Yorkshire Ripper is in the news, but so is corruption within the Yorkshire police department. An independent investigator from the South is brought in to find out why the earlier murders were never solved and to clean up the corruption. The man who is brought in, Peter Hunter (Paddy Considine), is a straight arrow, someone who is trustworthy and has had a previous run-in with the West Yorkshire police department before. But the interference is heavy and there are threats on Hunter's life, even as he inches closes towards a conclusion.

1980 is certainly more concise in its aims and more efficient than the previous installment. Considine is perfect, as usual, in the lead role, someone who picks up where Dunford left off, but with more masculinity and less bravado. More information, that would be awful to spoil, starts to come to the fore. We begin to see how the pieces are starting to come together, but then it becomes muddy again at the end of the film, setting up 1983 with the heavy burden of tying up loose ends.

Our hero in 1983 is cut from a different cloth. The other two were a journalist and a policeman who have passion for what they do and are desperate to find answers. In 1983, we have an overweight and uninspired lawyer fittingly named John Piggott (Mark Addy). But concurrently, we also have a remorseful police officer that has been with us since the first film, Maurice Jobson (David Morrissey), who has a lot of doubts about what he has done. This film, directed by Anand Tucker (Shopgirl, Hilary and Jackie), has been called the weakest of the lot. I disagree, I think it's the strongest and it helps to make the previous two films even better in retrospect.

By the time 1983 has started, everything seems terrible and it seems like nothing good will ever happen. But this is a film about redemption for three characters and retribution for one. In reality, though, this is a film about how a culture moves forward; by putting its past demons to rest. To say anything more would be to spoil it, so all I will say is that it's important to stick through all three films. To make a musical reference, it's a bit like sitting through The Streets album, A Grand Don't Come For Free; it takes a while to sit through, but if you listen intently, you will be rewarded.

I must say, however, that I wasn't that appreciative of the films as a whole right after watching them. It was something that I slogged through because I was told I needed to and because David Thomson said that Red Riding was better than The Godfather. These comparisons hurt the film because it could not possibly live up to that billing. But the more time I've had to think about it, to let the films marinate in my brain, the more I realize how masterful they are. And a large chunk of credit must be given to the screenwriter, Tony Grisoni, for putting the pieces of the puzzle together in such an original way. There is an awful lot of information, a ton of characters and difficult language, but Grisoni knows where to put that information for maximum impact. It's truly one of the best adaptations you'll ever see.

I'm not quite ready to put this film in the pantheon of the greats and I don't think I ever will be. But what Red Riding is, is better than most films. It's the one must-see movie event of the first two months of this year. Sure, that's not saying it's the greatest film of all-time, but it's pretty high praise indeed. It's the best thing I've seen so far in 2010.

Source: Noah Forrest, The Frenzy on the Wall, February 8, 2010

           
     

Los Angeles Times, 07.02.2010

Three 'Red Riding' films pursue one killer
The trilogy is based on a set of books on the Yorkshire Ripper by David Peace.

By Saul Austerlitz

It all began with a lonely man in Japan. David Peace was an English teacher in Tokyo in the mid-1990s, searching for some decent crime fiction. Having made his way through the one English-language bookstore's supply of James Ellroy, Walter Mosley and George Higgins, Peace was so starved for quality reading material that he began writing his own book, born of the memories of his Yorkshire childhood. The result -- "Nineteen Seventy Four" -- is a sort of anti-love note to the north of England, clammy in its intimacy.

The "Red Riding" quartet of books -- each one devoted to a single year and the search for the elusive Yorkshire Ripper -- were Peace's attempt to re-create, in the landscape and argot of his youth, the ripped-from-the-headlines familiarity and claustrophobic intimacy of Ellroy's L.A. quartet. The story was not precisely faithful to the story of the real ripper, who murdered 13 women before being captured in 1981, but was exceedingly true to the feeling of the times. Now the Red Riding quartet has been adapted into the Red Riding trilogy of films, with a mammoth, three-part script by Tony Grisoni ("In This World," "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas") and directing duties parceled out among Julian Jarrold ("Red Riding 1974"), James Marsh ("Red Riding 1980") and Anand Tucker ("Red Riding 1983"). Originally made for British television, where it was well received by critics, "Red Riding" is being exhibited on the big screen in the United States. The trilogy opens Friday at the Nuart in L.A.

Following a series of protagonists, played by actors including Mark Addy ("The Full Monty") and Paddy Considine ("In America") and an enormous cast of secondary characters, "Red Riding" follows the convoluted efforts of various crusading outsiders -- ambitious young journalists, honest cops, disaffected lawyers -- to uncover the identity of the serial killer stalking the north of England in the era of Thatcher and punk rock.

The result is a British stab at the particularly American genre of film noir, importing the free-floating menace without any of the other identifying marks. "It's not just one person who's responsible," observes Jarrold about "Red Riding," "but there's this creeping corruption and dark atmosphere that permeated through the institutions, the landscapes, the buildings, and it's created this world."

Like another recent serial-killer film, David Fincher's "Zodiac," "Red Riding" privileges the hunt over the solution. It is a crime story that reflects the disappointments and ambiguities of real life -- even the false leads and mistaken conclusions.
Nonetheless, "Red Riding" holds out the hope of closure, of understanding; a character observes early on in "1974" that "everything's linked, Eddie -- show me two things that aren't," and the remainder of the trilogy devotes itself to honoring that sentiment, even as it offers red herrings and incorrect solutions by the barrelful.

Taking a page out of the book of "Zodiac," "Red Riding" accentuates the discomfort of investigation. This is not a movie where one clue leads effortlessly to the next.

Instead, each investigation derails just as it begins. Marsh ( "Man on Wire") sees "Red Riding" as paying homage, in its locale and style, to past British crime films like Nicolas Roeg's "Performance" and "The Long Good Friday." "Each screenplay was strong, and it felt like they were real movies set in England as opposed to the Guy Ritchie kind of crime film that feels very cartoon-like," Marsh says.

Three-way filming

How do you tell one story with three directors? The process would seem to require an enormous amount of careful planning and coordination -- or, as the case turned out, a single dinner where everyone involved agrees to go their separate ways.
"One of the great appeals of this is that we were given complete freedom," notes Marsh. "Choose your collaborators, your actors, your designers, your [director of photography], and make the film that you want, and let's see what happens. It's an unusual experiment, and we all embraced that freedom."

In fact, in all three films, only one shot -- a menacing establishing shot of the approach to the town of Fitzwilliam -- recurs by design. "We made a decision up front -- at that dinner, in fact -- to go away and do our own thing," remembers Tucker ("Shopgirl"), "even to the point that if there were locations that were shared, Julian [Jarrold] and I actually chose different locations to be the same location."

The stylistic differences are immediately evident. "1974" is hallucinogenic and disorienting, an acid-rock freak-out in fluorescent colors. "1980" is the relatively calm middle ground, and "1983" is the weak light at the end of the tunnel, its jagged rays of sunlight and carefully framed landscapes offering a belated beacon of comfort.

After agreeing on casting, each director was given the authority to shoot his film as he pleased, to the extent that each "Red Riding" is shot on different film stock: "1974" was filmed on Super 16-millimeter, "1980" on 35-millimeter, and "1983" is shot digitally.

Still, the coordination was complex and required nimbleness and patience: "David Morrissey [who plays a police officer] sometimes was doing a scene for '1974' in the morning, he would do a scene for me in the afternoon, he would do a scene for Anand in '1983,' " says Marsh, "all in the same day."

The relative lack of pre-planning can be credited to the confidence of Andrew Eaton, whose Revolution Films co-produced the trilogy, and to the effort of Grisoni, who devoted 2 1/2 years to bringing Peace's vision to the screen even though Peace describes "Red Riding" as "almost anti-film."

Like the legendary conversation between Raymond Chandler and William Faulkner during the production of "The Big Sleep," Peace could not always untangle the threads of plot for his screenwriter, occasionally throwing up his hands in genuine confusion. As a result, the plot of "Red Riding" is hardly linear, but the mood -- a shadowy atmosphere of thwarted ambition and horrific violence -- is sustained.

Having overcome the enormous hurdle of production, "Red Riding" (being released in the United States by IFC Films) faces another daunting task: distributing three interlinked but separate films to an increasingly fractious audience.

"I'm not quite sure how they're going to be consumed," says Marsh with a laugh. "It's an interesting challenge for the distributor to figure out if we show them all at the same time. . . . Not my problem."

Source: Copyright © 2010, The Los Angeles Times, February 7, 2010

           
     

Feb 5 2010 09:30 AM ET

'The Red Riding Trilogy': 800 reasons you need to see it
by Wendy Mitchell

Sure, it’s a tough sell — dirty cops, crooked businessmen, murder, and child abduction – all in one five-hour über-dark package? With thick Yorkshire accents and bad ’70s fashions, to boot. But trust me The Red Riding Trilogy is worth your time.

I’m trying to think of a way to describe these films – the closest I can come is: Zodiac meets The Wire meets Silence of the Lambs meets Midnight Cowboy meets meets Chinatown meets Kes meets The Godfather. Is that ridiculous enough to convince you to see it?

This is one of the year’s most ambitious film projects — maybe not in terms of budget, but certainly in terms of creative challenges. The filmmakers took acclaimed author David Peace’s Red Riding Quartet of novels and distilled them into three films (1974, 1980, and 1983), each with a different focus but overlapping some characters and settings in the North of England. The real-life Yorkshire Ripper comes into play, but a lot of this noir is fiction, about the people doing bad deeds (the aforementioned murder and child abduction) and a few brave souls who try to uncover the pitch-black truth. The project reflects the style of each director involved — Julian Jarrold (Becoming Jane), James Marsh (Man on Wire), and Anand Tucker (Leap Year) — and showcases a few of Britain’s best young actors (Andrew Garfield, Paddy Considine, Rebecca Hall).

I found the films so addictive that I have now turned to the books. They are brilliant, although even more disturbing than the films — I’ve had to stop reading them at bedtime.

I saw the three films back to back, in a cinema, and I highly recommend watching all three, in order, marathon-style (although they can stand individually). People will easily watch six hours of a TV series on DVD, so why not try it with 307 minutes of film? New York’s IFC Center has a “roadshow” of the trilogy starting today, and it moves to Los Angeles on Feb. 12, and other cities on Feb. 19. (It’s also on demand, and we all know that hours on your couch is SO do-able.)

Need even more reasons to see it? Ridley Scott is already planning a U.S. remake, so you can be the smug smartypants who saw the original. Also, you can impress your friends with a menacing new catchphrase: This is the North, and we do what we want.

So, who’s in for five hours of neo-noir? Has anyone out there read all of the books yet? After you watch one (or three) films, come back and sound off in the comments.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

           
     

Check Out 'Frozen,' 'Terribly Happy' And The 'Red Riding' Trilogy In This Week's unLimited
Posted 2/3/10 1:00 pm ET by Christopher Campbell

This is apparently a very popular week for independent distributors to release new titles. I count at least nine films opening in limited release either Wednesday or Friday (though one-third of those are parts of a lumped-together trilogy). And in a way it seems an unfortunate time because a lot of moviegoers will likely spend their time this weekend catching up on movies that just received Oscar nominations instead of seeing anything new.

"Red Riding" Trilogy
What it is: Three films, "Red Riding: 1974," "Red Riding: 1980" and "Red Riding: 1983," all based on a series of crime novels by David Peace, combine for an epic thriller about missing children, murder and police corruption in Yorkshire, England. Collectively adapted by Tony Grisoni ("Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"), the separate installments are directed, respectively by Julian Jarrold ("Becoming Jane"), James Marsh ("Man on Wire") and Anand Tucker ("Leap Year").

Why you should be interested: The day I spent watching the "Red Riding" trilogy was one of my favorite recent moviegoing experiences. It's kind of like watching the "Godfather" trilogy consecutively back to back, but the third installment here is much better. And the cast, which includes underrated actors Paddy Considine ("The Bourne Ultimatum"), Peter Mullan ("Children of Men"), Andrew Garfield ("Boy A"), David Morrissey ("Derailed") and Sean Bean ("The Lord of the Rings" trilogy), is exceptional.

How you can see it: IFC Films is opening the entire "Red Riding" trilogy in NYC this Friday for a Special Roadshow Edition, in which all three films are screened back to back (with intermissions) for one ticket price. After its first week, the films will then be shown separately. Either way they're best watched all at once. The trilogy can also be seen on IFC's video on demand service beginning this week. So pick a day you can devote about five hours to this and watch it whichever way possible.

Source: MTV blog

           
           
     

Weekend Weirdness: Red Riding Trilogy Reviewed
(Britain’s Five-Hour Answer to Zodiac?)
New Trailers for Each Film

Posted on Sunday, January 31st, 2010 by Hunter Stephenson

It’s a crazy, mixed up world and we are thankful for movies, excluding The Spy Next Door and The Tooth Fairy, that offer proof. /Film’s Weekend Weirdness examines such flicks, whether in the form of a new trailer for a provocative indie, a mini review, or an interview. In this installment, new trailers and a review of the Red Riding Trilogy, a noirish triptych of serial killer dramas imported from British television and being released stateside in February by IFC Films.

During a screening of the entire Red Riding Trilogy, with one intermission allotted for lunch, I found myself pondering the irony in three directors, one screenwriter, one author, tens of actors and three separate crews realizing a project that depicts humanity and bureaucracy at its most foul and irreversibly corrupt. A recent poster for the trilogy forebodingly reads, “Evil Lives Here,” a tagline that would serve most of the work that exits Stephen King’s skull; instead the “here” in Red Riding is Northern England in the ’70s and early ’80s, when a serial killer known as the Yorkshire Ripper carved a trail of female victims and set a mood and mythos ripe for social reflection.

If that sounds reminiscent of David Fincher’s Zodiac, it is. Both that serial killer epic and Se7en are influential here by way of nightmarish imagery and the former’s tediously realistic period detail and pre-computerized investigation routines. But it’s much harder to seek comparison for the way the trilogy’s storylines and characters - spread across three films, 1974, 1980, and 1983 - communally bleed into each other, yet vary in quality, tone, and execution. The first film is a sexy, hardboiled mystery; the second a pitch-black procedural; the middling third a tale of redemption that borders on Hollywood melodrama. These differences make the trilogy appealing and slightly frustrating. Taken as a whole, it’s a collaborative achievement that fans of crime cinema can feast upon.

In the Year of Our Lord 1974: Enough Cigarettes, Sex, and Murder to Make Andrew Garfield a Star
Rather surprisingly, the first installment of Red Riding has no less than four sex scenes, all of which feature 20something Brit actor Andrew Garfield. When he’s not preoccupied in a bout of shagging, Garfield’s mutton-chopped character, an ambitious newspaper journalist named Eddie Dunford, tends to have a cig and drink in hand. At first, it’s difficult to gauge where the film is coming from, but Dunford’s lifestyle choices are a youthful juggling act that blurs his well-meaning but naive obsession with a missing girl. He hopes to link the possible murder to two similar cases gathering dust and catch his big break.

In the proceeding two films, Dunford is a minor, peripheral character, but 1974 offers a star-making performance for Garfield, who will appear later this year in The Social Network. He portrays a young journalist drunk on romanticized, idealistic notions of the profession and still taps plenty of Raymond Chandler-like cool doing so. When the latest girl’s body randomly surfaces, swan wings inexplicably sewn to her back, director Julian Jarrold (Brideshead Revisited) makes Dunford’s hazy confusion our own, quickly plummeting us into a conspiratorial web of group-think involving the police, a powerful developer, elite society, and the media. Recurring themes of paternal betrayal and vacancy are planted beforehand, with Sean Bean as a delightfully sleazy yet dapper father figure-from-hell to Dunford.

Several readers have wondered if the Red Riding films work as stand-alone features - especially since they were originally made, and aired last year, for British television. Jarrold’s 1974 works best in this regard. His use of 16mm in rendering a patina-heavy Yorkshire as a murderous landscape of pubs and misleading, at times ashen, hillside lends his film to memorable images. Dunford’s tale is also the most singular and isolated - his noirish nighttime drives pay homage to David Lynch’s Lost Highway - and the six-year gap between ‘74 and In the Year of Our Lord 1980 allows Jarrold to introduce several, complicit characters that are central later without worry for prior comparison. Film Rating: 8/10

In the Year of Our Lord 1980: The Trilogy’s Darkest Entry and the Critical Favorite
Set amidst a fictionalized investigation of the Yorkshire Ripper murders, 1980 is directed by James Marsh, who directed 2008’s well-received doc Man on Wire. Compared to 1974, the protagonist in ‘80 is older and smarter, an experienced officer named Peter Hunter recruited to crack the stockpiling Ripper case (and who previously led an unsolved investigation of the bloody aftermath capping ‘74).

Whereas the look and tone of ‘74 mirrored the heady overindulgence turned paranoia of Garfield’s Dumford, the style and pace of ‘80s plays on the sober career anxieties of Officer Hunter (played by In America’s Patty Considine). Peter Hunter’s rabbit hole is directly in front of him; he’s the good man out amongst this new unit, but can’t admit just how far. Of the three directors, Marsh has the most difficult task in bridging the films. He uses 35mm, lots of wide shots, and is font of framing Hunter in scenes to illustrate the Kafka-like labyrinth of bullshit - mundane and later sociopathic - he’s up against.

Personally, I found Considine’s officer to share a certain optimistic weariness reminiscent of Tony Blair walking into Bush’s authoritative den of wolves; I’ll also admit that certain scenes packed such hopelessness that I questioned the film’s value of realism - and yet considered in mild horror whether the film’s palpable anger was directed at actual records of police misconduct.

In watching Hunter re-examine the murder of a young girl wrongly (purposely?) attributed to the Ripper, I began to feel that 1980 too briefly touched on the serial killer’s past crimes and terror. These films are not directly about the Ripper, but more exposition about him, and scenes with him, here would have been nice. Later I learned that the trilogy’s source material was a quartet of books by British author David Peace (The Damned United); the second book, 1977, did indeed focus on the Ripper’s spree. (It was left unfilmed due to budgetary restraints.) Knowing this, 1980 compensates for several gaps by featuring the trilogy’s best ensemble performance and the bleakest if not wholly unpredictable twists and turns. Film Rating: 7.5/10

In the Year of Our Lord 1983: Does the Director of Leap Year Stick the Landing?
I’ve chosen to highlight the stylistic differences and a few of the recurring themes for the prior two films since diving into countless supporting characters and their litany of motives would lead to spoiler-addled overlap. Thus far in critical circles, 1983 is being correctly cited as the trilogy’s runt. What I found most puzzling was its rushed conclusion, which conjured so many soaring, slow-motion climaxes featured in the murder-thrillers that satiate Ashley Judd’s Wal-Mart fanbase. If and when the Red Riding Trilogy - which I should add is subtitle free - is pointlessly remade by Columbia Pictures as planned, I doubt its ending will be this cliche.

Unlike 1974 and 1980, 1983 utilizes a lot of flashbacks (ones made for this installment), and also differs by spliting its focus between three men: a compromised police officer named Maurice Jobson (actor David Morrissey, who appears in all three and whose character changes the most between films - another point of debate amongst critics); a portly, unremarkable solicitor/attorney named John Piggott (Mark Addy); and a transvestite drifter named BJ (Robert Sheehan). All of these characters eventually cross paths after another young girl is abducted in Yorkshire. In a coiciding wave of panic, several police, including Jobson, consult a talented psychic. Quite a stretch. Suddenly the evil yet human foundation of the first films seems on the verge of being thrown out altogether.

Director Anand Tucker (the recently panned Leap Year) takes the most creative license, and for all of his entry’s flaws and heavy-handed symbolism, his is still an interesting film. The material was certainly there for another director to stay within bounds and hit a deserved homerun, but the spirit of Red Riding encourages freedom for interpretation. And perhaps some of the blame for ‘83’s ill-fit should be shared with screenwriter Tony Grisoni, who adapted all of them. Part of what makes Red Riding so captivating is the creative risk in loose and ambitious collaboration, and it’s the resulting three uniquely haunting versions of a Yorkshire-in-decline that loom over arguments for more traditional consistency. Film Rating: 5.5

Film Rating: Entire Trilogy: 7

Source: Slash-Film
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New York Times, 29.01.2010

Giving Serial Killings Serial Treatment
By NICOLAS RAPOLD
Published: January 29, 2010

“It’s getting dead murky, isn’t it?” says a detective in the “Red Riding” crime trilogy, a voyage into the decaying heart of Northern England in the 1970s and ’80s. This adaptation of three novels of the four-book series by the Yorkshire-born writer David Peace is an ambitious endeavor: it is shot by three directors, shares characters (though the protagonists shift) and mingles invention and fact. Like David Fincher’s 2007 serial-killer drama “Zodiac,” the “Red Riding” films are more about capturing an era than solving a mystery.

“Certain crimes allow you to examine a particular time and place,” Mr. Peace said when reached by telephone in West Yorkshire. He was speaking of the Yorkshire Ripper murders, in which a man named Peter Sutcliffe was jailed in 1981 for the deaths of 13 women over five years in Yorkshire and neighboring counties and whose crimes inspire the atmosphere and the events in Mr. Peace’s books and their three-part adaptation.

“What I was trying to figure out,” Mr. Peace continued, “was why did this happen here, and was there something in the way we behaved that made us somehow culpable? Or were we very unfortunate, that here was this evil man?”

The “Red Riding” trilogy, which opens Friday at the IFC Center but had its premiere last March on British television, conjures life in a benighted world of corrupt police and missing children, of weird secrets and guilt-ridden romance.

Eddie Dunford, the brash, callow reporter played by Andrew Garfield in the first of the three films, “Red Riding: 1974,” is only the first to question the established disorder. In the second, “Red Riding: 1980,” a detective (Paddy Considine) from Manchester is assigned to review the Ripper investigation, while “1983” tracks a feckless lawyer (Mark Addy) and a wavering cop (David Morrissey) in the aftermath.
The hellish experiences of these four characters are rendered through an unusual experiment in comparative style: each picture had its own director. Julian Jarrold, who shot “1974” on Super 16, creates a twisted noir and fuguelike atmosphere to depict Dunford’s investigation and doomed romance with a victim’s mother (Rebecca Hall).

On the telephone from London Mr. Jarrold, who also adapted “Brideshead Revisited” and “Crime and Punishment,” said that for one shot he told his director of photography “to come back with a ‘Lost Highway’ shot,” referring to David Lynch’s twisted and textured 1997 film.

Shot in Leeds, “1974” and its follow-ups delve into the notoriety of “the North” against a backdrop of block houses, humble sitting rooms, nuclear power plants, offices and pubs. The Northern creed and manner - tough and often humorously blunt - are epitomized in the films by the police and their allies. (According to the films’ screenwriter, Tony Grisoni, it’s all analogous to “what Jacobean English dramatists thought of Sicily.”)

The casts’ British stalwarts include Warren Clarke (once a droog in “A Clockwork Orange”) as a stonewalling police chief, Sean Bean as a cocksure developer, and Mr. Morrissey (who played Gordon Brown in “The Deal”).

“In Northern England it was quite grim, quite hard,” said Mr. Morrissey, who grew up in Liverpool in the ’70s. “There was a very white, working-class male world, which was very insular, and it was a very violent place.”

Mr. Morrissey, who stars in “1983” but appears in all three films, recalled the specter that seemed to hang over those years: “There was a sense that one world was closing and the other one was not ready to open.”

Because of budgetary restraints (all three films were done for a lean $9 million), the book that deals most directly with the Ripper, “Nineteen Seventy-Seven” was not filmed. But the haunting presence of the crimes feeds into the dread of “Red Riding: 1980,” which focuses on Peter Hunter (Mr. Considine), a Manchester detective who is investigating the local handling of the case. A creeping paranoia becomes the film’s dominant mood as Hunter’s inquiry is thwarted through misdirection and violence; meager solace comes from a wistful affair with a colleague.

Seeking to offset the nebulous threats working against the protagonist, the director, James Marsh, chose a clean, wide-screen look for this involuted middle story, shooting on 35 millimeter.

“I felt that Peter’s character was a very straight arrow, and I wanted the film to be really clear,” Mr. Marsh said in an interview in Manhattan.

Mr. Marsh is best known for the Oscar-winning documentary “Man on Wire,” but he also made “Wisconsin Death Trip,” which examined a Midwest town struck by myriad tragedies at the end of the 19th century. His “Red Riding” opens with an audiovisual overture of actual and fabricated radio and television reports of the crimes combined with recreated photos of victims.

(Mr. Peace, 43, who came of age at the height of the investigation into the Yorkshire murders, recalls the efforts to solicit the help of ordinary citizens: “They set up temporary sheds in every bus station where you could go in and listen to tape recordings of what they thought was the Ripper’s voice.”)
The unsolved killings in “Red Riding” and the portrait of Northern masculinity, brutality and corruption suggest a terrible sins-of-the-father burden borne by a beleaguered society. The full scope of the institutional rot always seems just out of reach, as if - in Mr. Grisoni words - “you’re seeing a tiny fraction, in the same way a child would.”

The final part of the Red Riding trilogy, “1983,” features, above from left, John Henshaw, David Morrissey and Andrew Garfield, and was directed by Anand Tucker.

For the conclusion of the grim saga, “1983,” its director, Anand Tucker, used a Red One digital camera and introduces golden sunshine and a lighter touch. But horrific secrets still emerge in this story about a struggling lawyer (Mr. Addy) and a police officer (Mr. Morrissey), who grows shocked by the unsavory sides of his colleague’s extracurricular endeavors.

“I wanted an anti-noir, a light noir,” said Mr. Tucker, who made the homicide-free “Shopgirl” and “Leap Year.” “It’s two characters struggling to find the light, to find some hope or redemption.”
Taken together these varied visual formats and the ambitious historical canvas lend a cinematic scope that belies the trilogy’s original broadcast in three installments on Channel 4 in Britain. Andrew Eaton, its producer for Revolution Films, confirmed in an interview that theatrical distribution was always their ambition. For the American release IFC Films plans, at least initially, to release all 305 minutes of the films as “Red Riding: Special Roadshow Edition” with two intermissions, though they will also be available individually through video-on-demand.

The trilogy has already found interest from the director Ridley Scott for an American remake, which sounds like an unusual bit of cultural transposition until you learn that Mr. Peace himself wrote the source novels while abroad. From 1994 until recently he lived in Japan and taught English while writing.
Some inspiration for his “Red Riding” quartet came from the case of child killer Tsutomu Miyazaki, who was sentenced in 1997 and later executed for a series of grotesque murders, and Mr. Peace also recalls going to “Se7en” and “Zodiac” during his stay. It was also in Japan that he wrote other North-set novels, including “The Damned United” (which was adapted for film last fall) and “GB84” (awaiting production).
“I wrote six books, all about West Yorkshire,” Mr. Peace said, who has since returned to his storied hometown to be close to family. “It must have been a kind of homesickness. Although the West Yorkshire tourist board are not as proud of the Red Riding books.”

Source:  The New York Times

           
     

Mostly British festival to screen next month
Chronicle Staff Report

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Mostly British Film Festival returns next month with 32 movies from the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa and Australia. Highlights include two animated features short-listed for Oscars and the Northern California premiere of the "Red Riding" crime trilogy introduced by film scholar David Thomson, who has called it "better than 'The Godfather.'"

Presented by the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation and the California Film Institute, the second annual Mostly British Festival takes place Feb. 4-11 at the Vogue Theater in San Francisco with selected screenings Feb. 7-10 at the Smith Rafael Film Center in San Rafael.
For Vogue information, go to www.mostlybritish.org or call (415) 346-2288; for the Rafael, go to www.cafilm.org or call (415) 454-1222.

Source: http://www.sfgate.com

           
      From The Times
February 17, 2009

Sean Bean's brutal role in Red Riding

He's about to play the villain in the crime drama Red Riding, but is Sean Bean as dark as his roles - and the tabloids - suggest?

Amy Raphael

Red Riding shows brutality in Yorkshire 'hood' - David Peace once spurned by publishers

Sean Bean is in a faux library in a Central London hotel talking intently into his mobile phone. He's in good shape but doesn't look particularly special: inexpensive-looking jeans worn away at the back, Chelsea boots, a dark blue sweat shirt, strong reading glasses on a tight rubber strap resting on his chest. The phone call done, he offers a firm handshake and sits on the edge of a floral sofa, legs wide apart. He orders builders' tea and drinks it from a china cup.

The last thing one expects this resolutely northern actor to be is shy, but for at least five minutes he barely makes eye contact. He mumbles. He asks for simple questions to be repeated. His “people” have warned not to get personal with him - which presumuably means no discussion of tabloid allegations last year that he assaulted wife number four. Yet he's been around for years, mostly famously in the long-running TV series Sharpe, most infamously as a bare-bottomed Mellors in Ken Russell's Lady Chatterley and most recently as Boromir in The Lord of the Rings, so it seems odd that he might feel unable to defend himself.

In his latest part he is cast as the destructive, Machiavellian businessman John Dawson in Red Riding, an excellent three-part Channel 4 drama that is as disturbing and compelling as the David Peace novels on which it is based. In The Red Riding Quartet, Peace recreates in great detail the Yorkshire of his childhood, turning it into a brutal, backstabbing place haunted by the Yorkshire Ripper and run by corrupt police.

Bean tells me about his own Yorkshire childhood, in Sheffield. He wasn't particularly interested in learning, he bunked off school occasionally, got bored easily. He was “full of mischief and curiosity”, more interested in himself than girls. He had seen and fallen in love with Ken Loach's Kes when he was 10 and, at 15, bought a kestrel. “I got a proper licence for it, trained it, let it fly free. Like Billy Casper in Kes, I wanted to be with the bird all the time. I used to pretend I was in the film...”

In his bedroom in the modest family home he had Airfix model planes dangling from the ceiling on strings; David Bowie, Lou Reid and Iggy Pop posters covered the walls. Asked about Bowie, almost immediately Bean's guard drops. He sits back on the sofa, looks at me sideways, smiles. He seems to be enjoying the nostalgia. “I saw Bowie at Earl's Court during his Thin White Duke period. It was fantastic. The show started with clips from Luis Buñuel's surrealist films Un Chien Andalou and L'Age d'Or. There was an image of a razor blade slashing through an eye, a cloud went over the moon, the stage went dark. Then Bowie came on. It was properly exciting.”

Did he glam up? He hides his face in the china tea cup and starts mumbling again. “Er, well.” So the answer is yes? He shrugs. “OK, I wore similar outfits to Bowie. The truth is, I was a clone. I dyed my hair red, wore jumpsuits and big stack heels decorated with stars.” So here he was, this working-class Sheffield United fan, glamming it up as a 17-year-old. How did that go down locally? “People in Sheffield thought I was a poof. A weirdo. Which encouraged me to do it even more. I risked getting my head kicked in for a while, but then glam rock became more mainstream and dyeing your hair, wearing make-up and dressing up became more acceptable.”

It wasn't just his taste in music that set him apart; young Bean also liked Surrealist art (he lists Dalí, Miro, Man Ray and De Chirico). Despite being a bit different, he still left school at 16 and joined his ex-Army father's foundry, putting on boots and overalls to work metal. His father was a successful businessman - he used to drive to work in a Rolls-Royce, though the family never moved to a bigger house - and a great socialist. “My grandfather was left-wing too. I have long discussions with my dad about politics, although we don't always agree. I suppose I'm a socialist too, in the old-fashioned sense of the word. I certainly admire politicians like Tony Benn who are unapologetic about what they believe in and whose honesty is never in doubt.”

After a few years at the foundry, Sean decided he wanted to act. He had flirted with the idea of being a footballer then, strangely, a mime artist before winning a scholarship to RADA. By the time he left RADA, he was on to marriage number two, having left his childhood sweetheart for a fellow student (he has since married and divorced Abigail Cruttenden, who played his wife in Sharpe; a year ago he married another actress, Georgina Sutcliffe, two decades his junior. He says he's had only four long-term relationships with women and simply likes being married).

Anyway, back when he was with wife number two, Melanie Hill, he toured in rep and worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford. He had been taught Received Pronunciation at RADA but felt that he lost something of himself if a role required the Queen's English. He seems very keen - desperate even - to hold on to his identity: a few years ago, when he was filming a series of Sharpe in India, he took 70 steak pies so that he wouldn't have to eat the local food.

Yet he can also let go too, particularly when taking on the physical roles he favours. He was a Bond baddie in GoldenEye and has a scar below his left eyebrow as a reminder of playing an IRA terrorist in Patriot Games - Harrison Ford accidentally hit him with a boat hook. He lived in Los Angeles for almost a decade but isn't keen to return: “I don't like hanging out over there unless I'm working. I miss my house in Belsize Park, where I can get on with gardening and making bird boxes. Our old neighbour in Sheffield taught me all about gardening and wildlife so I grew up with it.”

Which is not to say that Bean is an out-of-work actor stuck at home in London, desperately hanging on to his northern roots. His career may have ebbed and flowed, but he's far from washed up.

For Red Riding, Bean didn't read Peace's Quartet but found Tony Grisoni's adaptation hard going. “The scripts were dark and perverse. I've never read anything like it. It's oppressive from the very start.” He frowns. “It's one of the most horrible stories I've ever been involved with. But very rewarding. We didn't get paid much because the money went on the screen, but nobody was bothered.”

The budget was so tight that none of the actors had trailers; instead they sat around in cars chatting between scenes. “It was a very sociable set. Normally I keep to myself the night before a big scene, but it was hard to stay off the booze on Red Riding because of all the northern actors.Peter Mullan, Warren Clarke and I - we all like to drink. And sometimes it's good to have had a few because it takes the edge away if there's a difficult scene the next day.”

As a father of three girls, Bean was naturally disturbed by the central storyline, in which young girls are abducted and murdered, but he didn't mind playing the villain again. “I don't think I'd be very good in a Richard Curtis film. I've always been drawn to characters that are a bit strange and weird.” And, more often than not, violent. How much of himself does he draw on? “A lot of it is imagined. We've all seen people who can change on a sixpence and launch into a tirade of abuse. I can do that myself in private...”

Does he turn fast? “Yeah, I suppose I can. I can certainly do it when it's required for a part. I suppose I'm regarded as someone who has a bad temper.” So set the record straight: “Well, I consider myself quite easygoing but I can have a short temper on occasion. It's the way I express it that makes it appear more dramatic.” So are the tabloid stories documenting his violent outbursts true? “They see me as a northern stereotype. If I respond, it looks as though I've got something to respond to. Most of the time it's drivel. It does promote an image that is very often misleading.”

He sighs. “Sitting here talking to you now, I hope you don't get the impression that I'm suddenly going to go off and have a tantrum and start smashing stuff.”

I can't quite imagine him smashing up the faux library; he seems fairly relaxed. The press officer pokes her head round the door and motions that there's time for one more question. He turns 50 in April; is he vain? “I don't know any actors who aren't. I'm not really thinking about my birthday as a big event. I'm OK about it. Does it make much of a difference? It's what's going on in your head that reflects on your outer appearance. And I look OK, don't I? I'm still a natural blond, no sign of grey hair...” And he offers a well-practised, charming grin, as though butter wouldn't melt.

Red Riding starts on Channel 4 on March 5

source: entertainment.timesonline.co.uk

           
           
           
           
           

 

       
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