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ON MY HIGH HORSE
on 2 September 2013
Gore blimey guv tv drama's now seem to be competing with one another in a misery fest contest from voyeuristic serial killer drama to emotional wrenching of The Mill and such.Southcliffe is an entry to this current canon of glum,this is no warm Horlicks and hot water bottle Downturn Abbey show to nestle into the sofa with.
Its pretty bleak.Essentially its about grief and it's consequences.
What attracted me to watch this series was Sean Durkin who previously directed Martha Macy May Marlene,i liked the idea of watching an "American" director work on a british tv programme,its nice to see a director not just following the normal career trajectory.The first episode for me was the strongest and most engrossing,Sean Harris ia a brilliant actor who if anything is criminally underused.I first came across him in See No Evil and then Red Riding Trilogy,immense in both.Intense would be an understatement.
I would bet a rather large sum of money that Tony Grisoni's script reads a lot different to the finished result,Durkin as a director at this moment is very much concerned with space,space between characters,events,actions....it is frustrating and very much what I believe has led to the woeful reviews and accusations of being dull and weak.
Durkin admits in an interview on the disc that what appeared little in the script became larger and what seemed larger became smaller.A reversal that most viewers will find annoying and flying in the face of a strong paletable narrative.And they would be right to a degree...there is a fine line between the profound and the ponderous.
It does feel at times that the style is getting in the way of the substance at the expense of characters and story.Somewhere within Southcliffe is an amazing show of such scope and depth.
Even though Durkin infuriates me there is something there,a vision which I think over time and more projects will no doubt flourish.In many ways with all our fast paced mtv style edited U.S box sets it's cool that a director is slowing down.
Nowadays it seems everything is judged instantly....too quick in my opinion and there does seem a very rigid set of expectations with shows.
Southcliffe is make no mistake about it flawed but it is also ambitious.Definetly an oddity in amongst Luther boxsets.
I had problems with it but I cannot at this moment make a definitive statement that I either A]LIKE IT B]HATE IT.Who knows maybe in 6 months time I will be saying its awesome.
If it is a failure it is an interesting failure.