CAE Reading and Use of English Part 8
You are going to read four movie series reviews. For questions 47-56, choose from the sections of the article (A-D). The sections may be chosen more than once.
Which reviewer(s) …
47 states the film he liked least?
48 mentions the difficulty in following the story plot?
49 criticises how one of the directors managed the film production?
50 gives importance to how the characters respond to some tragic events?
51 supports a venue’s decision to run the film?
52 implies that the film will not appeal to a certain group of people?
53 liked the acting?
54 wouldn’t have noticed that the trilogy was meant for TV viewers?
55 suggests how some people may find it difficult to understand?
56 says one film is good thanks to the feelings of one of the characters?
Red Riding Trilogy
The “Red Riding” films all come across as great, gritty tales of police corruption and human failing, but it’s the first film that has the most impact, mainly because the young reporter Dunford is such a mix of romantic notions — he’s going to solve the crime and save the girl. Such optimism runs dead against reality in these films. Mix the best episodes of the superb British crime series “Prime Suspect” with the current real-feel cinema (“Fish Tank”) coming out of England and you’ve got a sense of what “Red Riding” is about. The key isn’t the murders; the key is the reactions to the murders on a breadth of levels, and those reactions lay bare gray and grave souls. Each film works well separately, although 1983 is necessarily dependent on 1974, but taken as one great sweep of a dark hand, “Red Riding” stands as a wrenching tale of power abused and lives discarded. It is powerful stuff.
Red Riding is a challenge. The convoluted story is not easily summarized and it demands constant viewer attention. A two-minute trip to the lavatory or snack bar can be deadly. For American audiences, there is an additional problem: some of the accents are so thick that it can be difficult to decipher dialogue and entire passages may be missed. I’m generally not in favor of subtitling English movies in English, but this is one occasion when such an approach might have been helpful. There are times when the movie is slow going. Patience is rewarded not only in the second half of this film, when the violence mounts and secrets are revealed, but during the subsequent productions, when a degree of familiarity with the initial narrative bears fruit. Red Riding: 1974 is the weakest of the three Red Riding films, but it is effective at setting the stage, introducing some of the characters, and capturing the attention of those who love gritty, uncompromising dramas about police corruption and the dark side of human nature.
There’s a good reason the indie-minded Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center has turned over its programming for the next three weeks to the superb and ambitious “Red Riding” film trilogy: because “Red Riding” isn’t so much a film series as it is a film event, and it deserves to be treated as such. Inspired by author David Peace’s neo-noir “Red Riding Quartet” novels, it is ambitious, it is gripping and it is dark. It’s also entirely irresistible cinema, an uncompromising and hard-to-turn-away-from nightmare in three acts. With its muted colours but unmuted violence, the beautifully shot “Red Riding” is similar both tonally and texturally to David Fincher’s superb 2007 thriller “Zodiac” about another 1970s serial killer. It’s also just as disturbing. “Red Riding” is so richly produced, in fact, and so cinematic, that it’s easy to forget it and its sister films were produced for British television, airing on England’s Channel 4 last spring. This is movie that deserves to be seen in a theatre.
Buoyed by very strong performances and a deliberate, grim style, the first installment in the acclaimed Red Riding Trilogy, Red Riding 1974 sets the tone for the movies to come and makes clear that these are not sunny days for the faint of heart. These are gloomy times; films not merely about the seedy underbelly of society but the fact that the seedy underbelly keeps things moving. They have been compared to Zodiac but they are more realistically grim than David Fincher’s masterpiece. The film can be a bit too self-serious at times, director Julian Jarrold (Brideshead Revisited) would have been wise to focus on the procedural a bit more than the lead’s dream sequences or moments of reflection, and the film’s television roots show on a production level, but Red Riding 1974 is a well-made, expertly performed mystery with the added bonus that there are two more films to watch when the first one’s over.