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Smug, middle class, utterly implausible -- the worst of Brit telly drama
Whatever happened to British TV drama? From John Major through Tony Blair, the focus of the genre appears to have shifted from social realism to smugly normative women-focused tales about the piddling domestic problems of nice middle class professionals.
(Or perhaps TVNZ doesn't buy the good stuff? Please let that be what it is...)
The writer's long career in soaps probably explains why the dialogue is made up mostly of stale clichés. Niamh Cusack's performance is strong on meaningful looks, each held by the director for at least half a dozen beats longer than they deserve. Baleful looks, however, are a poor substitute for depth of character, if the writer has failed to provide such material for actors to work with.
Of course this is theoretically a thriller, about a murder investigation; but that's not as important as the central character's failing marriage and its attendant problems. Is Cusack's character's husband a complete bastard? Will her son be utterly traumatized by the marriage break up? Making these the central issues isn't a sign of insight -- it indicates a profoundly narcissistic identification by the writer and director with a character who should be getting on with her job.
Lynda La Plante knows how to write this stuff so that it feels as if it matters and involves viewers other than housebound neurotics ; evidently Paula Milne isn't up to the task.
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