Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Short Review: Red Riding Trilogy - In the Year of Our Lord 1983 (2009)

1983, the final film in the Red Riding Trilogy is a fitting conclusion to this brilliant story. Set in '83, but predominantly featuring flashbacks to events that took place during the 1974 investigation by Eddie Dunford into the disappearance and murder of three young girls. Instead of viewing it from Dunford's perspective though, we see it from that of Maurice Jobson (David Morrissey), a man that has unwittingly partaken in and very likely implicated in years of corruption and cover-up within the West Yorkshire Police Department, whose guilty conscience has now caught up with him. Having worked on the case years before, and with the stench of corruption still prominent around him, Jobson attempts to make things right. When another young girl goes missing in 1983, eight years since the last case, and with a mentally retarded young man arrested and jailed for the confessed murder of the girl in 1974, questions begin to emerge about his innocence and the possibility of a tortured confession at the hands of the Yorkshire Police. John Piggot (Mark Addy), a local solicitor, is assigned to form an appeal for the man and becomes convinced the man is innocent, as Jobson begins to recount past files to identify the true 'wolf' responsible for these heinous crimes. The final installment works as a sequel to 1974 more than anything, with 1980 focusing more on the Ripper case, and further developing the level of corruption within the department, briefly touching on the missing girls. Once again the bleak cinematography is unforgettable, and the cloudy skies of Yorkshire have never looked more ominous. The fusing together of flashbacks into the present makes it sometimes confusing and difficult to grasp, but with prior viewing of the first two, it all makes sense. Unfortunately it is the least engaging of the three with the poorest direction, but I respect that the atmosphere created and the audio and visual acuteness is maintained through all three films despite different directors, cinematographers and composers working on each. The performances again are excellent, especially Morrissey, whose heart-wrenching regret is painfully prevalent though his face. Ultimately, all loose ends are tied up, making The Red Riding Trilogy one of the supreme British achievements of the decade.

My Rating 3 1/2 Stars

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