ewx: (penguin)
[personal profile] ewx
The Killing. Lengthy subtitled Danish police procedural, in which Copenhagen detective Sarah Lund (Sofie Gråbøl) becomes obsessed with solving the horrific murder of Nanna Birk Larsen.

There are some fairly engaging characters here. Lund’s self-destructive obsession is very well portrayed, and Troels Hartmann (Lars Mikkelsen) political machinations under fire are enjoyable.

I guessed fairly early on who was the most likely killer although of course I wasn’t sure until late whether this was the kind of story where you see the perpetrator from the start or the police eventually track them down while they’re mostly off-screen.

The biggest problem, and it’s a recurring one, is characters who spend much too long being stupid, for instance inexplicably preferring to get tangled up in a murder investigation instead of than tell the police what they were really up to (which rarely turns out to be anything that the police would be very likely to care much about). In general, failure to communicate is an ever-present theme. I think they were aiming at with all this is “no-one is what they seem” but, to be effective, that needs a bit more than just clamming up for unconvincing reasons.

The series would also have benefitted from being a bit shorter, for instance by ditching one of the false leads, either completely or by having someone given the perfectly reasonable explanation for their superficially mysterious behavior up-front rather than taking a few episodes over it.

Top of the Lake. A more compact story set in a remote part of New Zealand. 12YO Tui Mitcham turns out to be unexpectedly pregnant and then ups and disappears. Detective Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss) investigates.

Griffin is not as self-destructive as Lund, but instead mostly struggles with her own history. Tui’s monstrous but complex father Matt (Peter Mullan) dominates every scene he’s in and is the most interesting character here, producing several surprises over the course of the series.

The final episode packs rather a lot of resolution into a small space, satisfyingly tying together a lot of threads but leading to a bit of a change of pace from its fairly relaxed predecessors.
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