So big smiles on Chris Chibnall’s face this week on the close of his crime drama ‘Broadchurch’ which has been more successful than he could have hoped. He sent out this tweet to inspire other writers;
‘Note to writers: #Broadchurch was a spec script. I wrote it for myself. It’s taken on a life I never dreamed. Get writing. Things do happen.
I remembered another writer telling me never to delete anything, which has set me in good stead recently, although I do sometimes wonder if knocking this blogging stuff on the head would also free up some time for ‘serious’ writing. Anyway, Broadchurch is over now and although I think the ending was pretty obvious from at least the penultimate episode when DI Miller looks into Susan Wright’s face and says ‘How could you not have known?’ re her rapist husband, I knew this was going to mirror back at her. And it did when her friend Beth uttered the same words to her about her own husband, Joe the killer.
It did take me a little while to warm to it, mostly as I come from a very similar small seaside community and kept squirming, and it did take at least two episodes to not have ‘Doctor’ resounding in my head as David Tennant looked moodily into the distance in a long coat (but minus converse trainers)… but it caught me in the end. Well-written and cast, slightly iffy accents to the trained ear but it definitely captured a small community pulled apart from tragedy. Oh and the beacon burning at the end may have looked a bit blurry eyed sentimental but that’s a big deal down that way.
My only criticism is the scene that verges on abuse apologism, where Hardy explains Joe’s ‘love’ for the murdered boy as if it was hard to understand, and puts it to Miller as if it may actually have been the things we don’t understand about the heart. No. Paedophiles often romanticise their feelings and even from prison, try to send their victims (children that is) valentine cards.
This highlighted perhaps a flaw in research as I don’t think a man ‘in-love’ with an 11-year-old boy would have made the leap from cuddles to killing without a background. Anyway, series 2 is on the cards so we shall see if it twists and turns any more. I have a feeling the back story of Tennant’s character ‘Hardy’ will be the focus as the flashbacks to his childhood and glimpses of another mystery child on the beach were never explained.
Olivia Colman has been quite rightly praised to the hilt for her portrayal of the detective who could not see what she was getting into bed with so well and twitter hashtagged her brilliance with excited squeals of ‘Give that lady a Bafta!’ Which reminded me of this film…
Tyrannosaur: directed by Paddy Considine (2011)
I would recommend this film with caution if I'm honest. It is hugely triggering for anyone that’s ever been in an abusive relationship and as grim as it is in places, it does show that violence and misery is not choosy of where it lurks in society.
It rots relationships in impoverished or affluent households, but importantly, the little ray of light in this film is that unlikely friendship can be made in dark times. Unlikely friendships are a big interest for me, which is why it may have clicked, I admit it is a film that leaves you a little pensive for a while after…I don’t think that’s a problem though.
There does seem to be a tradition of UK film writers that do the grim, the realism, the social comment, which isn't to everyone’s taste unless it’s light and dressed as a soap opera (*ahem* Eastenders) but I don’t think it fetishsizes the poor like perhaps something like 'Shameless' has been accused of. I like the grittier end of 'This is England' more than the cosiness of 'Love Actually'. As difficult as some parts are to watch in places, it wasn't gratuitous and it did do a good job of revealing the multi faceted sides of domestic violence.
Anyway, the basic premise is an alcoholic, violent tempered man, shortly after kicking his beloved dog to death, kicks off in a post office, gets beaten up and ends up hiding in a charity shop run by a very faith trodden, Christian woman, played by Olivia Colman. There were times when the current climate of ‘privilege checking’ came into my mind as her life seems surfacely ‘happy’ and ‘comfortable’ to outsiders as Joseph (played by Peter Mullan) points out…but was, in fact, as horrendous and violent as the community he is part of.
Without wanting to give too much away, as the story unravels, their friendship deepens and the role of who is the ‘goody goody’ starts to blur as well as the old adage of ‘ behind closed doors’. Privilege checking is only really something you can do for yourself, as nobody really knows how difficult/easy another person’s life is.
So my only criticism, a strange pub sing-along scene that smacked of an Oasis video a bit, it was jarring and lost me for a moment. Other than that, there were amazing performances, particularly Olivia’s ‘ Hannah’ with heart wrenching pleas to her husband to ‘stop hurting me’. Little wonder she excelled at her portrayal of DI Miller in Broadchurch which in comparison was a bit Reader’s Digest. And on top of this, she can do comedy too.
So I recommend this film to those that like the work of Shane Meadows, Carol Morley, although this film won lots of praise from critics and awards, it has been a little overlooked. Oh and to save any disappointment, Tyrannosaur is the pet name of a dead wife who stamped on the stairs and probably a metaphor for inner monster, no dinosaurs to see here. Kudos to Peter Mullan, Eddie Marsan (may never be able to look at him again though) and Olivia Colman.
You can still watch Broadchurch here.