Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

Hey There, Little Red Riding Hood

with 5 comments

Zoe Williams asks does TV drive you to drink? I don’t know about that but 1974 certainly made me want a cigarette.

The subeditor on Peter Bradshaw’s piece draws the obvious comparison between the Red Riding trilogy and Life On Mars and their very different depictions of Seventies policing. In some ways they embody the different instituional spirits of their creators: the BBC (even handed but authoritarian) and Channel Four (radical, polemical, perhaps too easily distracted by sex and violence). Whilst Life On Mars is at least partially nostalgic, albeit in a compelling fashion, no one in 1974 – policeman or otherwise – is to be sympathised with. The bully boy cop in LoM might call you a puff, here he would break your hand and laugh whilst doing it. The nearest equivalent to Gene Hunt here is Warren Clarke’s sour, taciturn and malevolent Bill Molloy: you can’t imagine anyone sticking him on a T-shirt.

The film depicts the West Riding of Yorkshire as a Lynchian nightmare world into which our glib protagonist – poisoned and weak from exposure to London – is gradually enveloped and destroyed. It has a mesmorising, hallucinatory intensity, the naturalism and period detail giving way to a sort of magical realism. The Yorkshire landscape is naturally given to brooding but here it takes on extraordinary levels of pathetic fallacy. The humans who walk on the skin of this land are closed, shaded and unknowable. 1980 and 1983 are highly anticipated.


Written by Martin

6 March 2009 at 12:01

Posted in films, television

Tagged with ,

5 Responses

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  1. I’m not sure why Nineteen Seventy-Seven, the second book of David Peace’s quartet, isn’t being adapted. My dad suggested it was because so many people whose lives were effected by the Yorkshire Ripper are still alive but it looks like Sutcliffe is going to be a major feature of the later films.


    6 March 2009 at 12:01

  2. I think Life on Mars was influenced by Peace’s novels. Have you read any of them yet? Worth trying at least one.


    6 March 2009 at 15:43

  3. I bought the quartet for my dad for Christmas so I will probably try and rob them back off him at some point.

    I’ve only just discovered that James Marsh, the director of the trilogy, was responsible for not only Man On Wire but Wisconsin Death Trip which makes an interesting link.


    6 March 2009 at 15:54

  4. No kidding? I loved Wisconsin Death Trip.


    6 March 2009 at 16:35

  5. […] With the exception of one vivid, nightmarish scene it is entirely stripped of the surreal air of 1974, nor is there any of the period swagger of the previous […]

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