Top of the Lake (TV mini-series)

Main Cast:  Elisabeth MossThomas M. WrightPeter MullanDavid WenhamHolly Hunter;

top-of-the-lake

Forget New Zealand as beautiful Middle Earth, in this series you can see a very different aspect: grim, darker and rather misogynistic. It is a detective story written and directed (most of the episodes anyway) by Jane Campion, so we get: a female lead character, complex and multi-layered played brilliantly by Elisabeth Moss, and violence against women (both physical and psychological). It starts like a case of child rape in a small town: 12-year-old Tui is five month pregnant and tries to kill herself, Det. Robin Griffin is called in as expert in child abuse. She is being back in the area, visiting her sick mother, after many years of absence. After her first interview with Robin, Tui disappears  and no one knows what happened. We embark with Robin on a mission to find Tui and the truth, and in each episode we find out more about her past and the people of the town. The more interesting aspects are the dynamics among the characters and the different facets of misogyny (from demeaning comments to outright abuse) weaved in the everyday life of girls and women of this small community. The cast is outstanding: from Peter Mullan to David Wenham and Holly Hunter, they all give very convincing and enthralling performances. Very special kudos to Thomas Wright, who reminds me of a young Daniel Day-Lewis, and masterfully balances vulnerability with strength and desire to portrait his Johnno. The scenery is also used quite skillfully to set the mood of the story: alternatively bleak, peaceful, menacing, hopeless or foreboding; it can almost be considered a character in its own right. Being a rather gloomy tale I would not recommend it for a week-end of light entertainment but I do recommend you to watch it. Striking and unconventional —7.5/10

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