“How deep does the rot go Maurice eh? How deep? And who stops it?” While it doesn’t boast a cast like the first film of this trilogy, Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1980 builds upon the storyline and proves to be a more fulfilling movie experience.
Director James Marsh opens the film with a style I can only describe as Fincher-esque. The look resembles that of Fincher’s open to Seven, but in this case the beginning of the film uses narration and scenes to help catch the viewer up on the events from the first movie in the trilogy. Early on we meet our main character, another Serpico in a world filled with corruption. Paddy Considine, an actor I really enjoy in practically everything he’s in, specifically the marvelous film In America, stars as Peter Hunter. Peter has been given control of the Yorkshire Ripper case. So far the Ripper has 13 victims and the police have not been able to gain any momentum in their pursuit. Peter selects two other trusted agents Maurice and Helen to aid him in his investigation. Much like the first film, along the way Peter encounters a great deal of police corruption in his search to finally uncover the truth. When the Ripper is caught, he reveals that one of the deaths was not by him, and soon discovers that the Ripper may not be the most dangerous man in Yorkshire.
The only thing that didn’t work for me was the token love affair that any woman is involved with if she’s a police officer. Helen used to be involved with Peter and she had her heart broken due to it. She’s able to still work along side him, yet most of the drama with her character centers around the fact that she still has feeling for him. Again, the only thing that really keeps me from giving this film a higher score is the dialogue. I’m starting to get an ear for it, and I didn’t have to watch as many scenes more than once, but I still have problems hearing everything that’s being said and understand what’s meant by the terminology. Also, some of the characters within the police force look a little too similar for my taste and while I’m sure I could tell them apart if they were standing next to each other, for me it would have helped if the casting or director had made them look a little less similar.
As I mentioned before I found this film to be more enjoyable than the first. Mainly this is due to the fact that this is more of a police procedural and less of a reporter who is above the law, kind of tale. I like Paddy as an actor and can always buy him in whatever role he’s in. It’s interesting to me that the guy who is the “square” the buy the book police officer is the main character and hero of the piece. It’s usually the bad ass, take no prisoners character but maybe that’s why I enjoyed the film so much. While he doesn’t agree with everything he’s told to do, this is the real world and he has limitations on what he’s capable of. With two of the Red Riding films now complete, I’m eager to finish off the trilogy in what I hope ends as strong as it’s began.