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The Killing: The Complete Season 2 [DVD] [2009]
The Killing: The Complete Season 2 [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Sofie Gråbøl
Price: £14.99

19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crime of passion, 20 Nov. 2011
When I wrote a review of the first series of The Killing I said it was the only programme that had ever proved sufficiently compelling to keep me away from Match of the Day on Saturday night. Now we have a second series - again cunningly timed to re-create the same dilemma and tucked away on a minority channel presumably on the assumption that people who want to watch intelligent and challenging drama don't watch mainstream channels.

Perhaps it's unwise, even unfair, to write a review on the basis of the first two episodes but I was blown away for a second time. In a sense, it's a repeat of a formula that worked so well in the first series. Detective Lund is once again at the centre of things, rescued from the margins of police work which had been the punishment for her unorthodox approach.

Lund is not just one of those (usually male) loners who exists on the margins of life fighting off depression and alcoholism. She is much more complex as a character and, in particular, as a human being trying to manage the many conflicting pressures in her life. Often the key is not in just in her actions but in her response and facial expressions and mannerisms. No attempt has been made to glamourise Lund but their is a sort of troubled intensity and deep attraction about her that works like a simmering pot bubbling away and sometimes ready to boil over. If anybody has faith in her it's her old boss Brix - an impassive and enigmatic figure. The last person in the world to talk about a "crime of passion" but there's a lot more about Brix under the surface.

Once again we have the politicians grappling with real dilemmas but caring at least as much about themselves, the party and power. It's a potent mix, especially when it soon becomes clear that terrorism is to be central to the second series. That also brings in the military and, once again, we are peeling away layers in a way that encourages a sense of curiousity, excitement and the sort of fear that terrorism and the presence of the military are likely to induce.

The other thing I'd say about Killing 2 is that, once again, the characters are developed in a way that goes far beyond the usual cut-outs and stereotypes. It's not just a question of being drawn into the plot, the action or the dark, atmospheric shots of urban Denmark that so often form the backcloth of the drama. It's also the characters, as we have seen them introduced in the first two episodes. The skill of the writer is in creating characters, and putting them in situations, and showing them as 'real people'that we want to know much more about. We see them, identify with them and want to explore their feelings and how they inter-act.

Sequels are sometimes disappointing and I haven't seen all 10 episodes. However, I was more than delighted - if that's the right word - with the first two episodes. We see far too little of drama of this quality on TV and this is a rare combination of top qality acting, writing, production,camera work and direction. I'd simply say watch it and judge for yourself. Once again I'm completely hooked and, if future episodes are still timed to clash with MOTD, there are plenty of chances to watch it later. I wouldn't say that about Killing 2. I just want to see more - and the quicker the better. I'll buy the DVD when it's available because I know, as with the first series, they'll be plenty I've missed first time round. Simply compelling drama.

Edgelands: Journeys into England's True Wilderness
Edgelands: Journeys into England's True Wilderness
by Michael Symmons Roberts
Edition: Hardcover

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Places where your mother told you not to go, 2 May 2011
I had some lingering doubts when 'Edgelands' was first published. Two poets trying to expose some of the wildnerness areas - and especially in the north west - that I'd come to regard as my own. Lyrical when lyricism just wasn't there or just an attempt to tart them up for wider public exposure. Rather selfish now I come to think about it - a bit like being really annoyed when somebody reveals a magically secluded and jealously guarded holiday spot.

Paul Farley and Michael Symmons Roberts: to you I apologise. What convinced me to buy the book and to recommend it to others was your compelling reading on Radio Four's Book of the Week at the end of April. (I tuned in at 9.45 in the morning and, to the repeat at 12.30 at night when it was a delightful preface to the shipping forecast.)

In the opening chapter, the authors gave credit to where credit's due - to Richard Mabey for the originality of his work nearly 40 years ago, to Alan Berger's 'Drosscope' where the edgelands were set out in a uniquely American way, and to Marion Shoard who did what we'd all like to have done and added the word to our lexicon.

I've noticed, probably only in the last 12 months, how often real ctitics and reviewers of the arts have referred to something that's just a bit different or with a hint, perhaps, of the avant-garde as 'edgy'. Farley and Symmons Roberts have gone a lot further than that in taking us into places where we may once have hesitated to ventue. they have brought to us a new regard for often marginal areas which might have been dismissed as ugly, even threatening, wasteland.

For me, edgelands were often deserted marshalling yards leading from railway tracks, overgrown and neglected cemetries, abandoned pits or forelorn bakeries regarded as surplus to the requirements of the modern consumer. Readers of 'Edgelands' will make their own choice from the 28 categories that Farley and Symmons Roberts include in their book. Each one offers a different insight, a new perspective and a reminder that there is far more to England's sometimes not so green and pleasant land than perhaps we once thought. Sorry, I doubted you gentlemen and I'm delighted to put the record straight.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 31, 2011 8:22 PM GMT

The Killing - Series 1 [DVD] [2010]
The Killing - Series 1 [DVD] [2010]
Dvd ~ Sofie Gråbøl
Price: £12.75

405 of 417 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Match of the Day on Saturday night? Not any more., 6 Feb. 2011
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For me, Saturday night has always meant Match of the Day. Never thought I'd say this but not any more. The Killing is one of the most intense, brooding and dark thrillers ever to make UK TV. If you want slick and superficial dialogue and lots of fast-moving action scenes this is not for you. What it offers is mystery and intrigue that is both a challenge and something to draw you in to such an extent that you feel unable to miss a word of the dialogue (or at least the sub-titles).

What a contrast between the characters and personality of the two main detectives - poles apart yet inextricably bound together. Politicians full of outward charm, mastery of spin and easy deceit. The bereaved family are the third part of this outstanding series. The father mostly dark, silent and brooding - his emotions waiting to erupt. The mother so desperately trying to hold herself together after her daughter's murder drawing on every ounce of her physical and mental resources to keep the family together. And the two small brothers, part innocent and part aware of what might have happened to their elder sister. Like another reviewer, I watched the funeral with tears pouring down my cheeks - quite an admission from an unreconstructed follower of football.

Mad Men, rightly, may have got all the drama plaudits so far but everything about the production of The Killing - action, direction, lighting, dialogue - is absolutely right. Hidden away on a minority channel on a Saturday night is anout as close as you can get to wasting an exceptional production. Absolutely unmissable whatever the alternatives. If I could buy the DVD now I would yet there's something satisfying about seeing two episodes a week and then having a sense of anticipation for the next 7 days.
Comment Comments (18) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 31, 2011 5:20 PM BST

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