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A Tense Five-Part British Series Putting A Fresh Spin On A Familiar Serial Killer Storyline,
This review is from: THE FALL, SERIES 1 (DVD)
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When Gillian Anderson recently popped up in a recurring role in NBC's "Hannibal," it occurred to me that I hadn't seen her in a non-British production in quite some while! Although born in Chicago, she lived in London for many years as a child (ages 2-11) before coming back to the states. Her heart seems to still be in England where she has, once again, resided since shortly after the "X-Files" completed its run. That's okay by me, though, because she's done some incredible work that has continued to stretch her as an actress. Some of my favorites include her fascinating interpretation of Miss Havisham in 2011's "Great Expectations" and her Lady Dedlock in the brilliant 2005 "Bleak House." She does so much period work, it's nice to catch something a bit more contemporary in setting. So I had high expectations for Allan Cubitt's five part serial killer drama "The Fall." Anderson plays a no-nonsense detective from London's Metropolitan Police Service (the Met) brought to Belfast to assist in a murder investigation. She's tough and strikingly enigmatic. She's gives us just enough back story, you want to learn more about her as a person. This is not necessarily a showy role, though, but a precise and internally realized one as much is kept close to the vest.
"The Fall" is uniquely structured in a number of ways. Although we closely follow Anderson's role in the investigation, equal time is spent with the murderer (Jamie Dornan from Once Upon A Time). This is never a mystery to be solved, but a contrast of two obsessed personality types. Interestingly enough, it is Dornan who appears to have the more balanced and fulfilling life with an important job as a grief counselor, a supportive wife, and two loving kids. Anderson, meanwhile, seems to make no long-lasting connections. Her close human interactions are decidedly briefer and of a more sexual nature. Both sides of this story are played with surprising restraint and calm. The show really allows us to spend quality time with these two characters (and others integral to the narrative). There are some peripheral stories that play out as well, highlighting the tumultuous conditions that overlap within Belfast politics, a compromised police force, and a strong criminal element. In only five parts (approximately an hour each), there is only so much material that can be explored. But I found the side plots intriguing and an important part of understanding these particular police operations. "The Fall" has been greenlit for another season, so we'll see how things pan out in future episodes.
A word of warning, though, I have heard that some people are upset by a lack of resolution to be found in "The Fall." I, personally, think that there was resolution and I LOVED the way these episodes ended. It isn't necessarily what you might expect from a crime saga, but it is entirely plausible. Not everything needs to be wrapped up in a conventional manner, that's just not how life works! I was plenty satisfied! "The Fall" is definitely positioned to be enjoyed by a thoughtful adult audience. Anderson is terrific, and Dornan pulls off being both relatable and creepy (not an easy trick, to be sure). But all of the supporting performances are solid. Other notable names include Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife) as a medical examiner and John Lynch as a Belfast officer with past links to Anderson. This is both smart and literate entertainment. It's tough minded and absolutely fascinating. I don't know where the world of popular entertainment would be without the ubiquitous serial killer plot thread. But this takes a familiar story and looks at it in a fresh way. About 4 1/2 stars. KGHarris, 6/13.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 9, 2013 10:29:32 AM PDT
Just watched this series on Netflix and totally enjoyed it; does anyone know if there are plans for another season?
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2013 1:51:26 PM PDT
Never the Twain says:
Yes, the BBC decided to make more pretty quickly, but I'm not sure on the timing.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 17, 2013 6:20:27 PM PDT
Great thanks for letting me know;I'll look out for it
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 24, 2013 6:25:13 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 24, 2013 6:26:07 AM PDT]
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2013 2:18:47 PM PST
Inspiring Insomnia says:
The second season begins filming in January, so I'm crossing my fingers that we here in the US will be able to see it by the end of next year.
In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2014 6:49:47 AM PDT
The new season of The Fall is in production now in Belfast!
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