Red Riding Trilogy: 1974, 1980, 1983

Good review here of the Red Riding Trilogy, a superlative group of British crime dramas based on the novels of David Peace, that have as their center the crimes of the Yorkshire Ripper. Made for original showing on the BBC, there’s no US crime film of recent vintage in their class. There are particularly strong performances by Sean Bean and Paddy Considine.

“The Red Riding Trilogy is a series of films produced for British television and based on a series of novels by David Peace (The Damned United). The novels chronicle crimes spanning a decade in the Yorkshire suburbs in Northern England. An ambitious film project, it ropes in three different directors to tackle three of Peace’s four books (1977 was dropped), creating a stylistically similar yet distinctive cinematic trio. Each film stands alone, but they also inform each other. Characters come and go, and events are shared between them. An incident in one movie may not have repercussions until another movie, illustrating the long-term effects of crime and the way corruption roots itself into a community and how long it takes to pull it out….

The Red Riding Trilogy is the kind of rich serialized storytelling that only TV can really afford us right now. American movie studios would never invest in something like this, something that requires a commitment and that is unrelenting in its grim outlook. It’s akin to watching three compact seasons of a good cable television series. Naturally, given how barren the Hollywood idea farm is these days, Red Riding has already been optioned for an American remake, with Steve Zaillian and Ridley Scott, the team behind Hannibal and American Gangster, attached to write and direct. This joins The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo and Let the Right One In as part of a current trend of remaking foreign films for American audiences. Apparently, it’s not just subtitled movies we won’t see now, it’s also ones with accents. Like those other two films, the idea of another version of Red Riding is a colossally bad one. There is no improvement needed. And it doesn’t take a genius to know that the great innovation the U.S. producers will come up with is to compact it even further, to turn 1974 and 1983 into one narrative.

Don’t wait for this to happen. Get the story now, in its original form. You know they won’t do it right. Hell, they probably won’t even keep the great soundtrack of old soul songs.”

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2 Responses to Red Riding Trilogy: 1974, 1980, 1983

  1. alacrana says:

    Wool Hat: I’ve actually been trying to find the songs that Piggott listens to in Red Riding 1980. You’re exactly right, there’s no trace of them anywhere in the sountrack/score. Do you happen to know what songs they are?

    • Wool Hat says:

      Alacrana-should you read this, I’ve been away from blogging here for a bit due to internet access situation. Your question is a good one, and I’ll do some looking into the answer. Should you have found the answer in the intervening 4 months or so since your question, I’d appreciate it if you would let me know as well.

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