Thursday, October 15, 2009


Reading the news item on Variety magazine’s website announcing that Columbia Pictures has acquired the rights to remake Channel 4’s astonishing adaptations of David Peace’s Red Riding Quartet left me frankly bemused, especially when a follow-up piece from The Guardian noted that the three films, directed by Julian Jarrold, James Marsh and Anand Tucker are going to get a theatrical release in a number of countries around the world, including the US.

Even with Ridley Scott onboard as director, frankly I don’t see the point. Sure, we’re accustomed to seeing film adaptations of classic and contemporary literature, TV series, video games and even theme park rides, not to mention toys, but taking a narrative that has already been presented on screen in long form and then squashing it down to around one third of its original running time seems rather a pointless thing to do, especially when it usually means jettisoning all the subplots, character moments and nuances that make the original so memorable.

Worse, because it has been bought by an American film company the story has to be relocated to American shores. Will that work? Well, here’s one they’ve made earlier. Have a watch and decide for yourself. In the meantime I’m going for a lie down.


At 9:07 pm, Blogger Stephen Gallagher said...

Routine-looking cop vengeance fare, I have to say... which was never true of the measured and tragic original. Is it just me, or has Gibson lost that indefinable something that characterises a leading man? These days he just looks like an older bloke who hasn't yet twigged how wrong it looks when he dyes his hair.

At 10:25 am, Blogger Good Dog said...

Granted Hollywood made a pretty good fist of adapting State of Play because, however brilliant Paul Abbott’s serial was, it was still a relatively straightforward thriller that just needed some subplots and characters chopped out to get it down to a shorter running time.

But Edge of Darkness, like Potter’s The Singing Detective, which got the movie treatment some time back, has so many themes and ideas and essential secondary characters that without them it becomes a very routine and below par revenge story.

After making a few calls a day or so back I was kindly sent a copy of the film script. Without a title page I couldn’t tell what particular draft it was – although a lot of dialogue and situations that appear in the trailer are on the page, while most of the action sequences are not – and frankly it was bloody awful even before they turned Carven into Rambo.

Ages back, when we heard that Martin Campbell was chomping at the bit to make a film version we couldn’t, for the life of us, think why he’d want to do this. Even without Mel Gibson saying, “You had better decide whether you're hanging on the cross or banging in the nails”, this really is The Passion of the Christ Almighty!


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