Re-watching: Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974

The Red Riding Trilogy is an interesting concept, which I like very much.  This Trilogy is based on the books by the same name written by David Peace.  I’ve read the books years ago after watching these movies when they came out on DVD.  There is actually 4 books but they cut one of the books out of this series to make it 3 films.  The books are also very good and worth checking out.  The other thing about this trilogy is that all 3 films were made in the same year, by three different directors.  The directors all have a different feel and look for each of the films.  All three screenplays are written by Tony Grisoni so there is continuity throughout the films.  This works really well, since every film is from a different year and all look unique.

1974 is directed by Julian Jarrold and stars Andrew Garfield as our main character for this installment. As we go we meet what seems to be minor characters, but pop up in the next two films as key parts to the continuing plot.  This installment has a very distinct Yorkshire accent by all the characters.  This can make some parts hard to understand what they are saying and/or what the slang means.

This story revolves around Garfield’s Eddie Dunford who is a rookie journalist.  He is on his way to his Father’s funeral, but stops off first for a press conference for a missing young girl.  He gets assigned to the story and starts to put together that this may be a serial killer.  Two other girls around the same age have gone missing before this one.  He starts to link the three cases and is warned by a co-worker played by Anthony Flanagan to watch his step.  Soon this co-worker is killed in an auto accident, Dunford doesn’t think it’s an accident.  He starts looking into this story as well and finds the two stories may be connected.  The story involves corrupt cops, and corrupt journalists, as well as a business man, played by Sean Bean, that this all revolves around.  Dunford also falls for the mother of one of the little girls that has gone missing, played by Rebecca Hall.  She is definitely Dunford’s femme fatale for this film.

Some of the other character’s you will want to pay attention to in this first installment are Maurice Jobson played by David Morrissey, BJ played by Robert Sheehan,Jack Whitehead played by Eddie Marsan,Michael Myshkin played by Daniel Mays, Martin Laws played by Peter Mullan and Bob Craven played by Sean Harris as well as others.

This film and the other two are well worth your time.  A well sorted out trilogy always designed to be a trilogy and not just a good first film followed by two sequels.  This is something unique to noir, I can not think of three films designed to tell one big story like this in the noir genre.  I think all fans of noir will enjoy these.  They do take some effort to follow but that is part of the joy of these.  I will return with a review of the second film tomorrow.

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