“In The Year Of Our Lord 1980” is the second part of the “Red Riding” trilogy. This was a three part series that was made for television in Britain, only to be released later in North America as feature films. The first instalment took place in 1974 and involved a young journalist who gets caught up in a conspiracy involving corrupt law enforcement in Yorkshire.
The second instalment follows a police officer assigned to investigate the Yorkshire ripper case. How this connects with the first instalment I will leave for you to figure out. Take note of certain characters who appeared before who now appear again in slightly more prominent roles. The lead officer is Peter Hunter played by Paddy Considine. Considine might be recognizable from the third Jason Bourne movie. Other than that he has been a solid character actor for many years.
Hunter is assigned to the Yorkshire Ripper case due to the heavy pressure from the public to find the killer. He puts together his own team and they start from scratch. He feels that the real killer has been interviewed and let go unknowingly. As he digs deeper he begins to suspect that one of the victims might have been murdered by a copy cat killer.
Hunter is also dealing with some personal issues in his life stemming from an affair he once had with a colleague who is also on the case and the fact that his wife had a miscarriage at a key point in an earlier investigation that caused him to drop out.
I could go on and on but one of the pleasures of these films is how they not only absorb us with the details of the case but they expand their view to include the characters, their personal lives, and the toll that these types of cases take on their personalities.
The second instalment has been directed by James Marsh who directed the acclaimed documentary “Man On a Wire”. Like Julien Jarrold, who helmed the first part of this series, he brings a realistic feel to a specific time and place.
I hear now that these films are being remade for American audiences. This is a trend that is not sitting well with me. Is Hollywood so starved for ideas that they are now remaking great films from other countries, only a year or two after the original came out? With this, “Insomnia” and the upcoming “Let The Right One In” I guess the answer is yes. For me a good movie is universal no matter what language it is in. “Red Riding” is in English so what gives??