Saturday, 17 August 2013

Top of the Lake

The Top of the Lake

I had big plans for my Friday off work. Then I made the fateful decision to watch the first episode of Top of the Lake on iplayer. 

Goodbye plans. Au revoir productivity. 4-mile run? Totally didn't go. 

I mean, it's not like I hadn't suspected I might enjoy it. There were some things tipping the balance in its favour before I'd even watched a second:

:: Elisabeth Moss. Aka The Best Thing Mad Men Has To Offer Except Don Draper. Aka the President's youngest daughter in the West Wing.

:: Jane Campion. Because she's weird and awesome and The Piano is a very unsettling film.

:: New Zealand. Because, hello. Have you seen Lord of the Rings?

Top of The Lake (NZ)

The thing is though - and I'm almost scared to admit this in Britain, c.2013 - I'm not really much of a crime drama kind of girl. Even skandi-crime. Yep, it all looks great, very nicely shot, I totally appreciate all the cool knitwear and the chance to learn some Danish, but it always just kinda reminds me of a really, really jazzed up version of Silent Witness. Or Inspector Morse. Or Taggart. 

Kid/adult disappears, is found dead. Policewoman/man with deep-rooted psychological problems investigates, gets too close to the case. Gets thrown off case/causes a rumpus. Steps in, saves the day. All potential suspects are investigated, weird facts uncovered, eventually we find out it was the creepy neighbour/jealous wife/greedy heir/local gangster.

And this - this is the same but also so totally different. Are you asking why? Good. Here's why:

:: Holly Hunter with waist-length grey hair, playing a creepy/charismatic kinda cult leader followed by sad lonely women.

:: The sad lonely women - one of them has had a very traumatic experience with an chimp called Brad. With whom she used to share a bed.

:: It's all just weird. Slightly off-kilter, slightly bizarre. There's the guy high on methadone who'll only let people speak in the present tense. There's Peter Mullan, flagellating himself at his mothers' grave. There are references to the Bible, and Paradise, and serpents. It's all veering towards Twin Peaks, in the best possible way.

:: The guy above? Standing next to Elisabeth Moss in a terrible hoodie and drop-crotch jeans? Shouldn't be hot. But so is. 

:: Episode 5? Gut-wrenchingly good final ten minutes, culminating in the perfect use of Bjork. Who, in weirdness terms, is clearly some kind of long-list soul-mate of Jane Campion.

One episode left to wrap up about a million loose threads - eek!


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