Red Riding: big budget, but no Yorkshire ripper – Times Online

AA Gill sums up the first episode of Red Riding more eloquently than my own summary,

The good things about it, and there were many, were mostly technical. The grading of the film stock was fabulous; the location scouting and set dressing a designer’s dream. The costumes were brilliant. This all came together to make an atmosphere that was as thick and pungent as crematorium smoke. The feel was matt noir, a cross between The Night of the Hunter and Get Carter, but the setting and the style were so mordant and heavy that they smothered the plot. The only suspense was from the creeping realisation that the story really was this unsophisticated.

That may well work in a book — all sorts of things work in books but don’t make much sense on the box. The simplest TV rules of procedural storytelling were ignored or discarded for more atmosphere and moody scene-setting, the action was repetitive, the dialogue soupy and inconclusive. The denouement, when we finally got there, was a flaccidly Wagnerian blowout that bore little relationship to what had led up to it. There was no detection, as such, no unfolding, no explanations. Just a thrown-away confession.

The cast was good. Andrew Garfield, as the trainee journalist who never seemed to do any writing, was grittily methodical and throbbed with Stanislavski. And then there was Sean Bean: a latterday Stanley Baker, but without the breadth. Bean is a performer who has all the dramatic range of a tiddlywink, albeit a very angry tiddlywink.

Red Riding: big budget, but no Yorkshire ripper - Times Online

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