Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Red Riding: 1980

Red Riding 1980 is the second installment in the Red Riding trilogy mentioned below, produced by Studio Canal and BBC 4. The trilogy concerns several true stories that highlight the realities surrounding the awful crimes and terrible investigation of the Yorkshire Ripper. Tons of terrible deaths resulted, primarily, from the corruption and incompetence of local law enforcement and civic leaders and while 1974 educates the viewer on this reality by showing some back story and laying foundation, 1980 dives into the actual crimes and ensuing investigation, focusing namely on the period after 12 victims when investigators were brought in from outside Yorkshire in an attempt to clean up the Yorkshire police force and end the investigation. Things don’t turn out so well and, after all, there is a third movie.
This movie seems to have been made by a more seasoned director than the first, as everything, even the sound recording, is tighter and of better quality. I like the tone of the first one more and felt that, though it suffered from inefficiency and relied too much on easy out’s like sex scenes, the first one had a more unique vibe. That said, this one is great and does a great job of the now very conventional cop investigation movie. The streets are mean, the cops aren’t much better than the criminals and the job takes it’s toll on the story’s heroes. Yes, we’ve seen this played out on the big and small screen a billion times, but somehow 1980 didn’t feel like just another episode of The Wire or Law and Order. It had it’s cliché moments, but overall the acting was too good, the writing too subtle and effective, and the visuals too engaging for it to come across as yet another indiscriminate face in the crowd. The case of the Yorkshire Ripper was sad on all sides, with terrible crimes to victims, a perpetrator rife with mental illness and a police force so corrupt as to be complicit with the Ripper himself. If you like cop dramas and dig on true crime stories, this is a good one that you won’t want to miss.

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