Most helpful critical review
Beware if you know and are fond of the books.
on 30 August 2014
Adaptations of novels are never quite what a reader has read, and these adaptations are very, very loosely based on Mark Billingham’s novels. The writers have taken various plot strands and put them together in a different way to make…I’m not quite sure what. They have left out a great deal and changed all sorts of things so that suspense is lost to some extent.
There’s a huge amount of ‘whizzy’ noises and ‘bam-bam-bam’ camera shots, so in that sense some subtlety is lost.
NB: Possible spoilers follow
Good performances, though. Eddie Marsan is great at being malevolent and aggressive. David Morrissey shouts a lot more than the Thorne of the novels (In ‘Sleepyhead’ I couldn’t believe that he would yell at the girl in hospital, even though he was trying to get information). Thorne has a softer, thoughtful, humorous side, which was lost. No doubt things have to be compressed for reasons of time and budget.
Phil Hendricks’ character is changed and he become a kind of Jacobean malcontent, (also Irish not Mancunian, though one can live with that), and the relationship of the two men is vastly different. Here they seem to hate each other because of some invented incident in the past, and only a tiny amount of the banter of their bromance remains.
In both cases, the identity of the killer is changed. In ‘Scaredy Cat’ the character of Sarah becomes a cipher, and Nicklin, an interesting if vile character, becomes imaginary.
So, perhaps not recommended for those who like the novels.