2011 Top Ten: Fobrydelsen

 

I am recycling this from earlier in the year. That’s what you do when you’ve been sick since September. Anyway….

With TV on a short hiatus for most shows I had some extra time. Wouldn’t it be great to watch and episode of the original The Killing (originally titled Forbrydelsen which better translates into The Crime) and see what might have changed when it was brought to America as a remake on AMC?

On the surface AMC seemed to have shot a good remake out of it, but if the AMC version was good how much better could the original be? I would watch one episode a week from both, maybe two since the original was a little longer, and compare the two as long as my interest held.

Well, 20 episodes of the original and little sleep later and I was in loveSofie Gråbøl is one of the most compelling actresses I’ve come across in a long time and Sarah Lund has brought back the crime drama IMO. I am more than over the quirky crime/medical dramas we’ve seen too many of lately where characters are the sum of their “thing” rather than actual characters. Some shows do it better than others, but the shear number of them has muddied the genre so to speak. Sarah Lund and Forbrydelsen is something different. Cousin to The Wire perhaps. Whatever it was I loved it.

Wanting more Sarah Lund adventures I looked her up on IMDB and found there was a series 2 out and a series 3 in the works. So of course I immediately watched series 2. I had grown fond of that odd sounding language which was like an invisible character in the show. It is a relentless sounding language, but it grew on me and I love it.

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2011 Top Ten: Luther

Idris Elba. Idris Freak’n Elba. Run, don’t walk to this. You still have time. It is on Netflix instant. I’ve been a fan of his since The Wire and this year I was lucky to have enough connections across the pond to hear about this when it came out. BBC, bringing the awesome once again.

Luther is a pretty basic crime drama on the surface. The show starts off at the end of one of Luther’s cases were he takes it a step too far and ends up on leave as they fear he had something to do with a suspect’s coma. His marriage is in shambles, he is super intense with his job and it hurts his relationships… but he is very good at what he does and as the criminals get more sophisticated so must the hero. His fault is feeling too deeply rather than not feeling enough and eventually the people who should probably hate him the most can’t help but be drawn to him. Even his dark muse Alice, a sociopath he battles with, finds his screwed up life immensely interesting.

“Kiss me. Kill me. Do something!”

The stories are grim but nothing revolutionary. It’s the performances of Idris Elba (Luther) and Ruth Wilson (Alice) that win the day. Paul McGann, Indira Varma, Warren Brown complete the brilliant cast.

2011 Top Ten: Tom Ripley

I’ve had a fascination with the trailer for The Talented Mr Ripley movie since it came out. I was scared of the trailer! No, really. I found it creepy. It came out when I was in high school and I was hyper aware of it, but even the yellow color tones got to me. I knew it was about identity theft of the worst type as well as had homosexual undertones and I guess that was one too many hot issues for me to handle at that age. And yes, back in the 1990s it was an issue. Things weren’t just left to be as they were. It was like every teacher wanted to have a big debate over hot topics and I was exhausted about even thinking about half of them at that point. On a good day you were just lucky something important to you wasn’t being debated during class by your under qualified peers. But that is a separate subject.

I finally got around to reading the book this year after my superfan sister kept evangelizing it. I got her on one of those “you read this book and I read that one” and I desperately wanted her to read Beryl Markham’s West with the Night so a deal had to be struck.

I read the first book while traveling which seems to be the best way to read a Ripley book. I read the second book while traveling too. Patricia Highsmith was an expat living in Europe and got a first hand look at post-War Europe during the height of the American tourism. Her style of writing shows some of the minute details of the time both because it suits Ripley’s character and because she had also gone through all those phases of being an expat. She also has a interesting life story. One of those writers you could easily see their work being almost an autobiography. The observations while committing murder and disposing of bodies…let’s just say she has been thinking about it for a while. Or is a natural. Pick your creep’n.

It is also interesting on a technology level with Ripley’s traveling, how he’s able to pull off his crime, is tied closely with the limitations of technology. Misjudging someone’s character, the language and cultural barriers, not listening to your gut instinct…today technology helps people bridge those gaps. Back then you had to be a student of such things and match Ripley’s level of crazy just to keep up.

I’ve seen three, unrelated Ripley movies. Talented Mr Ripley, Ripley Underground, and one Ripley’s Game. None of them go together! Different actors, everything. No one seems to have attempted to tackle all of them. I’m not sure how someone who didn’t know his first story would see Ripley as more than just an art thief. Which he is more than just a art thief!