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West coast gothic
on 15 November 2008
One of the best adaptations of a novel that I have ever seen. The 1996 BBC recreation for the small screen of Iain Banks' darkly brilliant gothic work really stands up superbly 12 years on.
Featuring a strong cast including Bill Paterson, Peter Capaldi and Joe McFadden as the male half of the McHoan clan who live on the beautiful Argyll coast in their rambling country house.The storyline focuses on missing uncle Rory who never returned from a sojourn abroad and the rivalry between the writer brothers (Paterson and Capaldi) mainly instigated by elder brother Kenneth (Paterson) who never quite forgives younger Rory (Capaldi) for getting into print first before he disappears into the wide blue yonder. The McHoan sister is married to the charming but sinister 'Uncle Fergus' who lives in baronial splendor in his stunning castle on the shores of a mysterious dark loch.
Death is never far away from the central character, young Prentice (McFadden)..Kenneth's son who witnesses a series of family and friends die in usually tragic circumstances.
Sensitive soul that he is.He can't accept his fiercely atheistic father's brutal philosophical acceptance of these deaths and seeks answers.Just why does everyone he loves keep dying ? On top of this Prentice has to suffer further trauma as he watches older smarter brother played by Dougray Scott make a name for himself as a stand up comic and steal the girl of his wildest dreams-Verity- from under his nose !
Aided by the beautiful Ash his platonic girlfriend who happens to be a wizz with computers, Prentice gradually peels away the multitude of dark layers hiding the truth.
Beautifully,filmed acted and set.The whole 4 part series builds up to a powerful conclusion !
I had the pleasure of staying at Ardpatrick House on the Knapdale Peninsular where much of the Crow Road was filmed. Ardpatrick stood in for the McHoan family home. It was a wonderful experience and certainly enhanced a memorable drama experience.