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3.2 out of 5 stars
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3.2 out of 5 stars
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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.
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on 24 March 2014
I must confess that the story was a little confusing, specially with the going forward and backwards so often. The acting is good and so is the direction but at times I felt I was watching a Fellini movie with unrelated flashes that took on their own personalitiy. At the end it was like watching some French film where you make of the ending whatever you wish. But I enjoyed it after all.
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on 24 February 2014
No doubt some reviewers will comment on the sheer brilliance of how this production makes you feel as though you live in this village or even worse 'lived' there. I found it so dark in terms of plot,cinema photography and content that i struggled to get to the end. If you want a bit of dark and depressing realism based on fact then this is for you.
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on 20 May 2016
A gut wrenching drama, depicting the trauma caused by the absense of loved ones and the overwhelming uncertainty of not knowing why or how a thing so horrible has happened.

Southcliffe is cleverly structured to convey these complex emotions. It witholds information from the audience, cutting scenes early and leaving plot threads dangeling.

Any fan of film form should give it a watch as should any fan of heavy drama.
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on 25 August 2013
I was very impressed.

TV is a bit hit and miss for me. I wish more shows would treat it's viewers like adults and not pull any punches.

Southcliffe. It has many similarities to real life incidents and people but the town and it's characters are fictitious. A man goes around the town over the course of a single day and shoots numerous people. The show, believe it or not, is not about the spree shooting. It's focus is mainly on how people cope when a loved one is suddenly, violently, robbed from them.

I love the directors eye throughout the show. Bringing a movie makers perspective to a TV show. Full of protracted silences and seething unease. A tragedy beautifully played out. Full of great acting talent. Sean Harris who plays the role of Stephen Morton (the shooter) was fantastic! deserves an award. The character is quiet and not very extroverted but something dark and ugly is bubbling beneath the surface at all times and he played it fantastically in my opinion.

I was slightly disappointed with the last episode. A massive anti-climax. But thinking through it at the end I understood it's motivations.

It's a rare show. Not many on TV like this or handled with as much care and thought. The writing is great and the acting superb. Some Mary Whitehouse type people out there complain about the unnecessary violence and bad language. There's harder stuff on CBeebies. There is violence and language but not gratuitously so. It's not going to tickle everyone's fancy but I hope there's more like this on offer in future. Stuff with plenty of moxy, maturity and thoughtfulness and not spoon feed you kiddy gloved nonsense.

Very much recommended.
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on 5 March 2015
Not sure that Rory Kinnear was not really the main character and put in an outstanding performance for which he was denied the BAFTA for best supporting. But Sean Harris as the lead was exceptional as the protagonist who has been beleaguered by bureaucracy and a consistently uncaring, mean and self-absorbed small village.
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on 22 May 2014
TRULY, TRULY DIRE.
Desperately poor acting, direction and production.
Sound even WORSE than Jamaica Inn.
Meaningless 4 letter words added for some imaginary effect.
Endlessly confusing flashbacks.
Don't waste your time!!!
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on 16 July 2014
This is a cast to die for and a story that is so evocative and gripping that most directors would shy away from it. The problem is some things in cinema work better when you don't see them and some need visual confirmation. The horrors of the shooting in this are largely avoided and it's left to the viewer to fill in the blanks. It's is a traumatic plot but the director should have let everyone see everything for maximum impact. Great acting, slow and dull film.
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on 30 August 2013
This was a very disappointing dull series that wasted a very strong cast. It never really went anywhere and just sort of petered out at the end. I suppose it was meant to show the effect that random killing had on the victims' families and on the local community. However I could not empathise with any character and was irritated by most of them. It was also very confusing in time lines and I was never sure if we we were in the present or past. Several narrative threads were started but went nowhere. The underlying idea was probably very good but I thought this attempt was very badly handled all round.
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on 29 June 2014
Appallingly turgid rubbish; cliched, disjointed narrative and dismal standard of acting. A mumbling, incomprehensible bearded psychopath, Rory Kinnear with one facial expression (mouth hanging open) and Shirley Henderson doing her usual schtick. Deperately boring; avoid.
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