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The Red Riding Trilogy [DVD] 
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As seen on Channel 4, this is a shocking and controversial landmark drama that British TV has been waiting for, based on horrific, factual events and adapted for the screen by Tony Grisoni (Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, Tideland) from David Peace’s series of groundbreaking novels. The Red Riding Trilogy follows compelling stories revolving around the manhunt for the brutal Yorkshire Ripper and the tragic, harrowing effects he has on a terrorised community living in fear.
After a failed attempt to crack Fleet Street a cynical journalist returns to his homeland of Yorkshire and finds himself assigned to report on the case of a local girl who has gone missing. But after her bizarrely mutilated body is discovered he is thrown into a sleaze infested, nightmarish world of corruption. As the killer’s identity remains a mystery, savage events spiral out of control, spanning generations and leading to a shocking climax.
Compelling, complex, gripping and genuinely disturbing, The Red Riding Trilogy is a breathtaking, neo-noir epic. Spread across three films (1974, 1980 and 1983) by three different accomplished directors (Julian Jarrold, James Marsh, Anand Tucker) it features a cast of some of Britain’s finest acting talent including Paddy Considine (Dead Man’s Shoes), Sean Bean (Lord Of The Rings) and Rebecca Hall (Frost/Nixon).
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It will take you three long episodes to reach the culprit and you won’t be surprised at all when you finally come to him. In the meantime the police would have revealed itself the most odious, ferocious and mentally cannibalistic institution you can imagine. Asking a question for them is necessarily hurting, torturing and a few other things of the sort: breaking fingers, crushing burning cigarettes anywhere you can imagine, stripping the suspects naked, and the films do not show them naked (prudes!). There is not one single person in the police force that is able to do anything regular like find a culprit that is really guilty and bring that one to justice.
One journalist is driven to craziness and some deadly justice enforcing spree, and yet you will know if he was right in his choice of targets at the end of the third film. Another young man, slightly spaced out will be convinced under duress by everyone, probably only in the police, that he killed the girl. And he will end his life in prison. With little chance to be retried since he signed a confession and pleaded guilty.
And quite a few are questioned that way and yet the crimes are going on: kidnapped girls, then raped, and in many ways cut up and carved up and more or less endowed with wings and feathers.
And all that in a society that is rotten to the core, that speculates on the death of as many people as possible with pollution and the exploitation of them as long as they live with projects that are as crazy as they are greedy of shopping malls with cinemas and all kinds of entertainments to empty the billfolds of the gullible submissive slaves of the public till they are empty and they can then commit suicide or die young of any kind of hazardous escaping tentative or industrial pollution. And for the girls and women prostitution and promiscuity are the main two udders of everyday suspended death. You can imagine what the other two are.
And be sure that all the cadres of the police and the most respected people in this society, lay and clerical, are among the small circle of speculators and their only aim is to make money and thus to keep the surrounding society going because you cannot squeeze money out of marginal miserable derelict and impoverished proletariat. No matter what, they must have just a little bit more than their basic needs to be able to spend that little bit more in the traps of the entertaining plotters.
Is it a great trilogy? I do not know but one thing is sure even if at the end the killer is finally put out of the way all the corrupted elite of this part of Yorkshire will not be in any way even questioned, not to speak of prosecuted. After all corruption is the basic human dimension: the survival instinct of the more corrupted declared the fitter, by all means, even selling their parents into slavery and feeding their own children to the industrial sharks of our certainly not post-modern society but definitely pre-modern jungle.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
There appears to be an acceptance that the police are omnipotent, immune from any meaningful investigation, hell bent on survival. Indeed a descent into hell seems guaranteed for the conspirators as they lie, cover up and kill in order to protect their interests. Anyone threatening their interests are harshly dealt with, whether they be journalist, fellow police officer or powerful businessman. They are content to persecute the innocent and allow the guilty to remain free. The films deal with investigations relating to child abuse, abduction and serial murder. However, despite these harrowing subjects, the essence of the films is the men who perpetrate and condone such vile behaviour, their misuse of power and their preying on the weak, their disdain for the vulnerable and their lack of common humanity. The truly disturbing aspect of the films is the utter banality of their evil actions.
The acting is strong throughout and the writing and cinematography give a definite sense of time and place, and despite the complex, occasionally disorientated structure of the narrative the overall result is an absorbing and impressive exploration of greed and corruption. This is not an easy watch and I am reminded of Edmund Burke's observation that `the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.' A statement of universal relevance.
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However when I got round to watching it it was very late and I had had one of those days so I did the...Read more