26 November 2010
It's funny, because the first time I watched this I remember being fairly impressed until about halfway through, and then spending each scene of the second half increasingly less engaged and hopeful than the last. Too much comes too easy, and though the scenes are all crafted with a viscerality and a punchy wit, it doesn't really ever amount to anything. It's all so direct.
But then I got to thinking (in large part because the DVD of this film opens with unskippable trailers for the other two films in the Red Riding trilogy), maybe I'm taking this too much at face value. This is part one of a trilogy, right? And the other films continue the hunt for this killer through almost an entire decade of storytelling, and small characters and events from previous stories pop up again in future stories, right? In retrospect, maybe the discover of, hunting down of, and eventual SPOILER revenge-killing of John Dawson is supposed to be just too damn easy. His toss-away response to "what about the children" is that he's no angel himself, a comment so glib that Eddie has no compunction about following through with murdering him, but the more I watched this I kept thinking that Sean Bean's sleazy political-minded real estate developer was evil, but not the kind of evil who sawed the wings of swans and stitched them onto the backs of underage little girls, whom he then raped and murdered -- let alone the kind of evil that's crazy (or dumb) enough to dump the bodies on his own lots, where they will be easily discovered.
Eddie Dunford killed the wrong guy, didn't he? Because if so, then I think I'm curious to continue the series, and I'm willing to withhold final judgment on the first act of the trilogy until I've seen it all the way through. I hope that the next two installments will make me look back on this one with a very different perspective. Partially because that might make me like it more (right now it's pretty so-so-at-best, as a standalone movie), and partially because that'd just be cool. Clever storytelling and all that.
So, here's hoping.