Saturday, October 2, 2010

Short Review: Red Riding Trilogy - In the Year of Our Lord 1974 (2009)

An outstanding British serial killer mystery sees ambitious young Yorkshire Post journalist, Edward Dunford (Andrew Garfield), investigate the disappearance and presumed rape/murder of three young girls in Northern England at the time of Yorkshire Ripper. When the body of one of the girls is found raped and strangled at the construction site of a local businessman (Sean Bean), it is discovered that he had been bribing members of the Yorkshire Council and Police Force to illegally purchase land and build a mall. Dunford becomes embroiled in a fierce wave of ever-present corruption and senseless brutality within the Northern England Police Force and discovers the extreme lengths powerful lawmen will go to hide the truth. Fueled by a passion for justice and having established a lead on the most recent disappearance, Dunford begins re-inquiring and building an investigation into the cases of two previous victims and assumes a link. Typical of a noir protagonist, Dunford finds himself delving beyond his jurisdiction and finds himself beaten up and threatened with his life to stand down. Bleak, gritty, uncompromising and unsettling, 1974 is the first in the critically acclaimed Red Riding Trilogy (with 1980 and 1983 to follow) a feature-length television adaptation of David Peace's Red Riding Quartet (published between 1999 and 2002). Beautifully shot and directed, the entire cast is excellent. Most notably Garfield (Boy A, The Social Network), who brilliantly captures the romanticism and cocky bravura of a naive and relentless obsessive. A womanizing chain smoker sporting a leather jacket and bell bottoms, in an era of mistrust and paranoia, Eddie Dunford is an inspiring figure thirsty for results in a near-lawless society. With notable influence from films like L.A Confidential and Zodiac, the score is gloriously dramatic and 1974 maintains a heightened tension throughout resulting in an emotionally draining experience and a thoroughly rewarding first installment in what potentially could be one of the most striking British dramas in the last decade.

My Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

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