I had been hearing off and on about this series I had to check out, a trilogy of movies from England, and when I saw them come up on Netflix Instant, I thought that now must be a great time. Red Riding is based on a series of, apparently, extremely popular books from England. It is based off of various murders that have occurred in England, and uses that as a backdrop to bring attention to massive corruption in police and government agencies.
The first of these films is labeled as 1974. It follows Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield), as a young reporter who, in the midst of a child abduction case, realizes that the little girls disappearance mirrors two other cases over the last couple of years. When he goes investigating, though, the tracks lead to John Dawson (Sean Bean), who is one of the most powerful men in town, and, collaterally, the police force, the government, and even the paper that he works for.
Red Riding - 1974 is a well produced thriller, with Andrew Garfield as a real stand out (this is pre Social Network). While the thick as molasses English accents don't help, the story is, thankfully, easy enough to follow that losing some of the words they say is, on occasion, acceptable. Garfield is put through hell in this film, and that he's able to pull off this character with such nonchalance makes me feel like he has the upper hand on a lot of American actors his age. Sean Bean is not particularly frightening in the film, and maybe that's purposeful, but it felt like his character was a bit of a cliche - the wealthy, powerful guy who does what he wants because he has everyone in his pocket. There's nothing very special about it, which is disappointing, as they could have taken the role in a direction that would have made that character more complex. While Red Riding - 1974 doesn't bring a whole lot that is mind blowing to the genre, it is a well made, and enjoyable, film that features some great performances, and wonderfully muted cinematography.