Sunday Matinee: Red Riding

A change of pace this week with a more current film as this week’s topic.

Red Riding was a 2009 British television adaptation of David Peace’s Red Riding Quartet. These were as series of four novels. Nineteen Seventy-Four, Nineteen Seventy-Seven , Nineteen Eighty and Nineteen Eighty-Three. They were made into three movies each with a different director while containing several cast members who appear through out all three movies. Without giving too much away – here’s a brief summary of each movie.

The first movie – Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974 – stars future Spider-Man Andrew Garfield as a Yorkshire Post reporter who is covering a series of recent murders of young girls. Directed by Julian Jarrold (Kinky Boots, Becoming Jane, Brideshead Revisited) on 16 mm film – the film has a gritty look to it.

The second film – Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1980 – stars Paddy Considine as a detective assigned to the Yorkshire Ripper case. It’s directed by James Marsh (Man on Wire) on 35 mm film.

The last – Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1983 – David Morrissey who plays the same cop in all three films, mostly in the background, takes centre stage as he looks into another murder girl. Directed by Anand Tucker (Shopgirl, Leap Year) it was shot on digital giving a cleaner look to the film.

Watching these movies I can’t help but wonder why our television isn’t as good as this. This series was briefly released in theatres in the United States of America and they look like movies – not a television show. With each show being shot on different film stock gives each segment a slightly different look – starting out grainier and becoming cleaner and clearer by the time you get to the last film. Kind of like the story.

Along with the backdrop of the Yorkshire Ripper, the movies all focus on the extremely corrupt politics of the Yorkshire police force. It’s a scary abuse of power. Being loosely based on true events – the three movies tell their stories with style and grit while giving you a feel for Yorkshire of the late 70’s and early 80’s. It’s not a place that I would want to visit. But this series I do recommend seeing.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka has spent most of his life watching movies and reading comic books. He has decided to use this vast knowledge for evil instead of good.

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