In a misguided attempt to do something for the war on terror, self-styled suburban warriors Gool, Rube and Simmo are ready to carry out their first operation, but things don't go quite as they planned.
A murky tale. A child goes missing in West Yorkshire, one of several over ten years; the police find a patsy, an acquaintance of Michael, a blood simple man serving a life sentence for another girl's death. Michael's mother asks John Piggott, a burned-out solicitor, to look into her son's conviction; Piggott finds injustices in current and past cases. Maurice Jobson, part of a group of corrupt cops, searches for the missing girl, involves a medium, finds nothing, leans hard on Piggott, and may be tiring of the sham. He's warned off going soft. Is there moral strength anywhere capable of facing down the cabal? Written by
(The following review is a follow-up on the reviews written for Julian Jarrold's "Red Riding: 1974" and James Marsh's "Red Riding: 1980"; for further info on the Red Riding trilogy and content related to the series' continuity, read the other reviews before this one.) The excellent Red Riding trilogy has finally come to a close...and it went out with quite a bang! Anand Tucker helms the final film, "Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1983" and does a pitch-perfect job of joining the two previous films, solving up most of the enigmas that had been ignored, and closing the circle. Tucker is a master at his characters' catharses and at carefully observing and commenting on the infinitely heartbreaking human characteristics of revenge, redemption and atonement. Tucker concludes Jarrold and Marsh's films in this way: he extracts Jarrold's poignancy from "1974" and Marsh's intelligence from "1980", mixes them and adds his own masterful touch while tying the loose ends of each film's plots. The result is, as I've said before, an excellent closure to this harrowing series and a very satisfying finale.
The film returns to 1974, and the opening scene shows us the corrupt and darkly evil group of villains we've already come to know assembled in a country estate, including Harold Angus (Jim Carter), the seedy police superintendent, and Maurice Jobson (David Morrissey), the mysteriously cryptic and detached crime investigator. The child murders we saw in the first film are only just being discovered by the police, and their shady dealings with John Dawson (Sean Bean) are beginning to be discussed. Then the film shifts us to the year 1983, where attorney John Piggott (Mark Addy) is being commissioned to appeal for the killer of the three girls, whom his family believes to be innocent (and secretly, so do we).
The film dangerously shifts between 1974 and 1983 without letting the viewer know. At first we're confused to see so many characters who're supposed to be dead already involved in present-time events, but as the film goes along it is all explained. Tucker is interested not in the chronology of events or making sense out of the twisted plot...after all, what sense can ever be extracted from such base crime and corruption? We eventually manage to sort the plot out, and by then we just KNOW that no matter whether the events make sense or not, the depravity and evil behind it all can never explain itself to our consciences. Tucker digs deeper into the Yorkshire murders than Jarrold and Marsh could because he can play with all of the characters from the previous two films, giving us everybody's side of the story, everyone's point of view and every person's true face (as opposed to the mask they've been painting all along). And the new character (Piggott, the attorney) who we've only come to know is such an ambiguous, flawed and relatable character that (even through his weak points) he becomes the most human character of the film. Piggott leads the investigation taking place in 1983 and Maurice Jobson leads a covert investigation back in 1974 parallel to Eddy Dunford's (but obviously laden with a corrupt agenda).
Once again, the film builds a steady tension that reaches unbearable heights as each minute passes on, as as the answers to all the questions we had are revealed to us, we can't help but lift our hands to our mouths and stare open-eyed at the horror behind the truth. The first two films dealt with one person trying to expose the guilty murderers and crime lords; this film is about the murderers and members of the Force seeing how they can cover up their footprints, how they can redeem themselves from tainted consciences, and how they can go on living while internal disagreements arise. And Anand Tucker, who has shown us with films like "Hilary and Jackie" and "Shopgirl" that he's a master at exploiting guilt and internal conflict, makes the most of his characters and blows them up from the inside out.
I can't say anything about the ending without spoiling everything for you, but I WILL say that the series couldn't have ended better. I saw these films on DVD, in the comfort of my bedroom, and as soon as "1983" was over I felt like jumping to my feet and clapping my heart out. I'll never tire of repeating this: I am amazed! Overwhelmed, really.
I've recently heard that Ridley Scott's been taken into consideration to direct an American film which joins this trilogy into one full-length feature. That is just ridiculous. These three films put together amount to over FOUR hours and a half, and not a minute is wasted in any of them. Trying to summarizing this will take out the POINT of it all, and is sure to be a flop (after all, there's a reason why the British made this into a trilogy). I seriously recommend you see this before the USA releases its own reduced version. This is as good as trilogies are ever gonna get. Rating: 3 stars and a half out of 4!
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