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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Special combination of different elements superbly done
This series showcases some superb writing and acting. There isn't much on TV that is as well thought out and subtle as this. It's not only a personal drama, or a police story, or a mystery, or a thriller, but it contains strong elements of all of these. For me this is a bonus but if you are only looking for one of these maybe this is not the box set for you...
Published 8 months ago by listenwatchreadshare

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars All the makings of a great police procedural...
..confounded by the apparent need to write in the bizarre and unnecessary Holly Hunter. The geography creates an extraordinarily compelling atmosphere and the police and local community provide more than enough complex characters to drive a socially and psychologically fascinating plot; however the impact of all these rich components is completely extinguished by the...
Published 6 months ago by watcher


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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Special combination of different elements superbly done, 11 Aug 2013
This review is from: Top of the Lake [DVD] (DVD)
This series showcases some superb writing and acting. There isn't much on TV that is as well thought out and subtle as this. It's not only a personal drama, or a police story, or a mystery, or a thriller, but it contains strong elements of all of these. For me this is a bonus but if you are only looking for one of these maybe this is not the box set for you.

There are three main strands of plot: the mystery involving the disappearance of pregnant 12 year old Tui, the personal life of detective Robin Griffin (Elizabeth Moss), and the social "shape" and history of the small town in New Zealand, which includes some very insular, inward looking locals and a community of self-healing women, led by "guru" GJ (Holly Hunter).

I like the way almost all the main characters have ambiguity to them. Lead police office Al colludes with the locals, but has his own beliefs in justice. Robin's childhood sweetheart Johnno struggles with what he sees as his own weaknesses, even as he is blind to the incredible escape he has made from the forces that have dragged down the rest of his family. Even the "good" heroine Robin succumbs unwisely to anger, but this is done in such a way that you totally understand the way her frustrations have got the better of her.

If you let it, the interaction between the characters will really move you. There are uplifting moments where characters realise things about themselves and act on these revelations. There are tension moments full of threat. And although there are occasional "thrill" moments, involving chases, if that's all you are looking for, well, it's not just about that. It's the combination of these things together that makes this so special.

More reviews on Top of the Lake at [...]
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not All Is What It Seems, 27 May 2013
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Top of the Lake [DVD] (DVD)
I started watching 'Top of the Lake' because I am a fan of Elizabeth Moss. Her role in this film is terrific, in fact it s so good, she should be nominated for an Emmy. From the first confusing episode to the day, I was hooked! This is one of the better mini-series I have seen,

'Top of the Lake ' is a seven-hour miniseries from filmmaker Jane Campion. Elisabeth Moss is a troubled Sydney cop investigating the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old in her small New Zealand hometown. This is a crime series concerned with heartbreak. Moss's detective Robin Griffin is investigating the disappearance of Tui. Her father is Matt Mitcham, played by Peter Mullan, a Scotsman introduced as a villain. He is a drug taker, maker and rounder and owns the town.

There's a lake where the mountains should be, and green, green grass. Everything is topsy-turvy: An unborn baby is called a "time bomb," a gentle elder-care companion puts his fist through a wall. And around the investigation is a group of scarred women camped out on land called Paradise. Holly Hunter's GJ, gives advice, sips soup and drops truth bombs.

This is a police procedural like no other. The only ethical investigator, it seems is Elizabeth Moss's character. All is not what it seems, and the finale will leave you surprised.

Highly Recommended. prisrob 05-27-13
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark and Brilliant, 19 Aug 2013
This review is from: Top of the Lake [DVD] (DVD)
This is a fantastic program that is both believable and very frightening. The cast all play well and I think the Elizabeth Moss from mad men has done well to break away from any kind of type casting and gone for a completely different and complicated character role. She is clearly a tremendous actress and Im sure we will she much much more of her. It is hard to write about this without spoiling it. it is not an easy ride by any stretch. But makes for great viewing.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars All the makings of a great police procedural..., 14 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Top of the Lake [DVD] (DVD)
..confounded by the apparent need to write in the bizarre and unnecessary Holly Hunter. The geography creates an extraordinarily compelling atmosphere and the police and local community provide more than enough complex characters to drive a socially and psychologically fascinating plot; however the impact of all these rich components is completely extinguished by the sideshow of Hunter's character and her coterie of silly women. Really too bad Jane Campion got hold of this property - could have bee brilliant in the hands of one one of those of those artistically economic Danish TV directors.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Whakatipu, 1 Dec 2013
By 
John Hegarty (New Zealand) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Top of the Lake [DVD] (DVD)
Where to begin. Well, the assertion that Tui is entering the lake to take her own life may well be wrong (I won't spoil it by stating the alternate reason) and is really not borne out by her subsequent grit and doggedness. Filmed principally around Glenorchy (Lake Top in the programme) it shows off the scenery to stunning and repetitive effect, leading me to the conclusion it might well have been substantially funded by Tourism New Zealand. These scenes along with many others (Jono and Robin getting their gear off overly often, Robin exiting vehicles in the middle of nowhere to walk home etc.) were for the most part seemingly used to stretch the production. For me it was around 25% or 90 minutes too long.
That it was a multi-national production showed glaringly. I cringed for poor Holly Hunter (a fine actor) every time she appeared so dreadfully was her character written. David Wenham mumbled through the entire production and was just so listless as a character. As a voyage of self-discovery for our heroine it was satisfactory, but at the cost of repeatedly overlooking the dramatic thread (i.e. the search for Tui). And then we have those oh-so-predictable and woeful Kiwi blokes represented as a kind of soft-core "Once Were Warriors" crew. Others have said it suffers from drawing it's cast from near and far. I agree completely. Only Robyn Malcolm looked vaguely at home. Peter Mullan is another fine actor doing the best he could with his badly drawn character (one amongst so many). Too many loose ends and a denouement that was too hurried (ironical given the snail's pace of the first five and a half hours). Supposedly located in a smallish community (where it might be arguably credible that Mullan's character would be so influential) and yet we have Det Sgt Al living in a Queenstown mansion, supposedly in the same community. Maybe of no matter to non-NZ audiences but irritating to this Kiwi.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable but brilliant, 22 Aug 2013
By 
Mr. N. J. Todman "mr_todtastic" - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Top of the Lake [DVD] (DVD)
We just finished watching this on BBC2 and were gripped by it.

The story is a slow burner, but the case of a missing, pregnant, 12 year old develops episode by episode with the finger of suspicion changing direction as new evidence comes to light. This investigation becomes a mirror to the soul of the lead detective, Robyn, and her journey to find the girl is also about finding herself.

This series touches on a lot of issues to do with family, sexuality, community, justice, identity and survival. These themes are as ruggedly presented as the landscape in which they are set. It explores the damage unconstrained, alpha, father-figures can do not only to women and children but in shaping a violent, misogynist, culture amongst younger men.

The narrative, the characters, the performances, the sense of place and the cinematography are all masterfully crafted. Elizabeth Moss' portrayal of Robyn was riveting. But it is the atmosphere of this drama as a whole which takes it to the next level. It is simultaneously beautiful and foreboding, sympathetic and repellent, uplifting and horrifying. It is uncomfortable, but brilliant, viewing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars top of the lake, 9 April 2014
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This review is from: Top of the Lake [DVD] (DVD)
Excellent. Dark and moody. Maintains it tension all the way to the end. The women of paradise were wonderfully weird. All in all a great watch
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars complet and utter CR@P!!, 24 Nov 2013
This review is from: Top of the Lake [DVD] (DVD)
Was bought this as a birthday present and was so very very dissapointed! For a start, why are there so few Kiwi actors in it when it supposed be set in New Zealand? The Australian and New Zealand accents are distictly different!! There is no explanation as to why one of the main characters is Scottish, especially as the plot would have you believe that he has lived there all his life and his mother is buried on the mountain etc etc! Peter Mullan needs to get someone else to read his scripts for him before he says yes in the future cos this is a real turkey mate! As some of the other reviewers have said, lots of the sub-plots are nicked from other crime shows, and then we get to the irritating Holly Hunter character who just packs up and wanders off at the end.

Jane Campion has realy lost it, I will be very unlikley to watch any of her stuff again!

The only redemming feature us the photography and beautiful scenery.

Avoid at all costs!!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A mish mash of formulaic ideas, 11 Nov 2013
By 
Mr. Robert Ward (Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Top of the Lake [DVD] (DVD)
I started to watch this with some anticipation, but found it a struggle to get to the end. A lot of incoherent mumbo jumbo and a set of off the shelf ideas taken from other crime shows. All put together without much continuity or story telling. A lot of ideas thrown together without any thought as to what came before or after What was the point of Holly Hunter's role? I really don't know. The solution to the crime that was the subject of 6 hours TV came about in the last 10 minutes out of nothing and by accident. And what happened about the murder of the state agent - nothing! The acting - ordinary and unconvincing at best. The lead role - wooden and one dimensional. And how many times in each part did she take her clothes off! Her boyfriend - equally unconvincing. The bad detective - no expression and no character building. The Scottish drug dealer - not really sure what his part was meant to be. If you're thinking of watching this - don't. You can spend 6 hours better watching any one of the Scandinavian crime stories.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars overrated, emperors new clothes, 24 Sep 2013
By 
DM (staffs uk) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Top of the Lake [DVD] (DVD)
Stuck with it but really doubted my decision by the end. Sporadically engaging but largely failed to grip this viewer. Trying far too hard to be 'quirky' but fails to be as darkly (or compellingly) surreal as Lynch, nor does it get close to the dramatic tension of the best Nordic stuff. It compares poorly to both. Unsympathetic characters, implausible subplots - I found it hard to care what happened as the story meandered along. David Wenham and Elizabeth Moss do good work but whilst some reviewers clearly rate it, not for me.
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Top of the Lake [DVD]
Top of the Lake [DVD] by Garth Davis (DVD - 2013)
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