“To the North, where we do what we want!”
This week, I take a look at the last in the Red Riding Trilogy, 1983. You’ve stuck with me through 1974 and 1980, so let’s close this out by jumping ahead three years to close out this bleak and harrowing tale.
It’s 1983 and another young girl has gone missing in Yorkshire from the same primary school as one of the girls found murdered in 1974. Surely, it can’t be a coincidence, or so thinks Detective Inspector Maurice Jobson (David Morrissey). Jobson (who has been a link through all three movies) begins to investigate the similarities between this latest disappearance with all the other children taken back in 1974. Jobson has a lot of explaining to do himself because he has been in on the corruption and cover-ups going on with the Yorkshire police from the start. He’s been wracked guilt all these years. After all, Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield) gave him a treasure trove of evidence about the murders back in 1974 and all Jobson did with it was chuck it in a fire. He could’ve stopped everything back then but kept his mouth shut at the promise of big money from land developer John Dawson (Sean Bean).
Michael Myshkin (Daniel Mays), who has the mental capacity of a 10-year-old, confessed to the murders and the kidnapping of the girls and has been in prison all this time. Myshkin’s mother asks her neighbor, a solicitor named John Piggot (Mark Addy), to go see her son in prison in hopes of appealing his case. Piggot, who happens to be the son of a cop who worked on the Yorkshire police force, reluctantly goes along to see Myshkin, who tells Piggot he didn’t kill anyone. He says he was told by the police that if he didn’t confess to the murders, he’d never see his mum again. Piggot becomes convinced Myshkin is innocent and investigates further.
Meanwhile, Leonard Cole (Myshkin’s best friend and the person who found the dead girl from 1974) was picked up for the disappearance of the latest girl. He’s beaten up by Bob Craven (Sean Harris) in the presence of Jobson, who eventually leaves because he cannot stand to see the torture any more. At the same time, Cole’s mother asks Piggot to go down to police headquarters to see her son and represent him. Piggot goes down to the station but is turned away. He knows something very wrong is going on with the Yorkshire police and wants to get to the bottom of everything before he finds himself on the deadly end of things with the police. Jobson finds out Piggot is looking into things after a visit with Myshkin himself and finally decides to end things once and for all.
This final installment, like the other two, has some really outstanding performances. David Morrissey is fantastic as the guilt-ridden Jobson. He’s been in on or had knowledge of all the corruption going on with the Yorkshire police and has just been going along with everything. Mark Addy, who I’d only seen in comedies, does fine work here, too. Sean Harris, again, is straight up frightening as Bob Craven.
Each part in the trilogy is bleak as fuck in its own way. This last one seems especially harrowing because you know it’s got to come to an end so the build up towards the final scenes is palpable. Each of the three movies are directed by someone different; 1974 was shot in 16mm by Julian Jarrold, 1980 was shot in 35mm by James Marsh, and 1983 was shot on the Red One by Anand Tucker. Even though they were shot with different techniques, they all have the same style and look as though they could’ve been shot by the same person. They all nail the period look of the time. If you haven’t watched any of the films yet, I would suggest you watch them all in the same day. The impact is much stronger when watching them back-to-back. Trust me on this. You’ll come out the other end needing a strong drink (or three) and a hot shower but it will be worth it because you’ll have witnessed one of best things ever to be put on British television.
A film within a film within a film... This super meta doc-narrative is well worth your time.
This subversive picture is a must-see.
A different kind of high school film, Cooley High is worth a look.
Miranda Richardson shines in this hidden gem.
Based on the real life miscarriage of justice, this is a powerful and still relevant work.
Based on the killer John Christie's real-life crimes, this one's a cold, dark look into the act of murder.
A gorgeously shot erotic vampire film is this week's showcase.
A super unconventional and super French crime thriller is Sarah Jane's pick this week.
The trilogy ends as the bodies pile up and the truth is finally revealed in the corrupt town of Yorkshire.
The dive into the Red Riding Trilogy continues with more police corruption and more murder.
In the first of the trilogy, 1974 is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how dark the Red Riding series gets.
It's not a Rocky Horror sequel or prequel, it's an equal; plus, Jessica Harper? Come on. You should be watching this right now.
Put the pedal to the metal with this Aussie classic!
This gangster film is a reminder that Pacino and Depp really had it in them.
From the director of Stage Fright comes a horror-comedy involving the dead rising from the grave and ossuary sex.
Forget Bill & Ted, Point Break, The Matrix, or John Wick; there's only one Keanu Reeves performance worth a damn, says Sarah Jane.
Sexual awakenings, witches, Eastern European folklore, and vampires—don't forget the vampires! This movie has it all.
Alain Delon. Charles Bronson. What more do you need? Well... keep reading!
Kathryn Bigelow's first feature film deserves a watch, perhaps for Willem Dafoe alone.
This early Hammer Horror film features Christopher Lee and gorgeous cinematography from Douglas Slocombe.
One of two adaptations of Les Liaisons dangereuses released within a year of each other, this film by Miloš Forman is worth a look.
The only legendary Scottish hero movie from 1995 that's worth a damn.
George Romero and Dario Argento pay homage to Edgar Allen Poe with two modern retellings of his classic work.
Some rich jerk really messes up and unleashes a bunch of monsters; the stuff of nightmares.
Celebrate the 4th of July with a musical about a bunch of white guys writing the Declaration of Independence!
Based on the book by Hanif Kureishi, this BBC mini-series chronicles cultural and sexual self-exploration.
A visually gorgeous film that tackles the harsh realities faced while being openly gay in 1930s Great Britain.
An LGBTQ gem that managed to shine despite harsh restrictions in 1961.
One of the greatest sports films you've probably never seen.
A special Memorial Day edition on Otto Preminger's naval war film led by John Wayne and Kirk Douglas.