Secrets And Lies-The American remake of the original Australian series. An update review-Part Two. (see 1st October for Part One Review) Minor spoilers only.On in the UK on Watch Channel Wednesdays @ 9pm


Secrets and Lies

So poor Ben has been having really rather a bad time of it lately: hasn’t he.  In a recent episode in which I was amusingly reminded of my possible prediction about Ben’s general shirtlessness.  As based on my description of the main character, Ben, in the original series.

Tut. tut tut. How really very objectifying.  I am appalled.  Truly.  Really I am.  Truly appalled even.

The best part about that episode I felt was the inadvertently comical nature of the scenario.  For some reason the atmosphere was slightly lame. Rather than sinister.  However containing a surprising and very enjoyable baddie.  This would never happen on the BBC.

Perhaps, much as I am rooting for him in all his terrible travails: Ben as a character is a little short on emoting.  As in any discernible emotion.  Well apart from looking minorly stressed (and sometimes seriously puzzled) throughout.

Still, in spite of a wee wooden-ness to his character, Ben acts a strong and convincing part as the morally upright and caring father and husband.

Ben has a strong sense of right and wrong and involuntarily turns into  his own unofficial Detective.  Investigating possible leads and suspects. At the same time- well usually (unbeknowest to Ben) later, than the ongoing investigation into him: by Detective Inspector Corneille.

Boy is the Detective Inspector a fearsome and worthy adversary.  To any wrong doer.  (in fact she is reminding me of a certain Le Juge in the series Spiral)  And for the moment, that wrongdoer is Ben, in Detective Inspector Corneille’s eyes.

Although as previously described: things have been getting mysteriouser and mysteriouser.  In this drama.

The whole success of this drama for me being based on a certain charming daftness.  Yet with a sometimes, even often-times a sinister twist.  As in seriously sinister twist.  To the plot.

Plus Secrets and Lies is forgiven a lot, in my book for being spectacularly filmed in shades of every hue.  Blue and creamy, wintery light.  Shadows and (rare) sunlight are depicted in tones crisp and clear.

This is suburbia but halfway to the mountain.  The air is fresh and cold and damp and chill.  The mystery and the plot: thickens.

***

Footnotes.

For some reason during during a scene in which Ben’s wife seems to stomp loudly around the house: I found myself worrying about the wooden floors.  Boy was she stomping.  In high heels.  Could that make holes in the floor I wondered.  I must have been bored.

But Ben’s wife is a little wooden as a character.  Plus she wears make-up to bed.  Women who don’t take their make-up off before bed are metaphorical dramatic vampires.  They never really go to sleep. Dramatically speaking.

I would tend to think: watch out husband in that movie-your wife has full make-up on all the time. She might be a psychopath.  (or a murderer)  Look-she is always ready..

***

Dag-Series Three-Episodes Five and Six-notes and dialogue only. In Norwegian with English subtitles. Minor spoilers only. On in the UK on Sky Arts Channel on Fridays @ 9pm-two episodes back to back.

Dag

Series Three
Episode Five
Some notes and dialogue on first watching.

Voice-over:
“With strong language, adult sexual themes and adult humour which some may find offensive”

Dag to Ernst:
“I have one month..”

Graphic and text:
Don’t think I’ll let you live your life in that glass jar!
Father said.

Dag to his clients:
“Same time next week then?”
One of his clients:
“Why are you looking so happy then?”
Dag:
“Because I’m going to start drinking again and maybe sleep around!”

Dag:
“Malin?”
“Malin?”
But Malin is in another place..
Clue-Varg Veum is there!

Juanita to Eva:
“Hey, Bruce Springsteen just called, he wants his clothes back, before the tour..” ha ha.

Benedikt to Dag:
“Are you sure?
Dag:
“I’m sure.”
Benedikt gets out a dice..
Benedikt: (in English)
“let it be the will of the dice!
Laughs.

Bendikt:
“Eleven 0′ Clock, time to head out..”
Then: (in a karaoke bar)
Benedikt to Dag:
“Kenny or Dolly?”

Benedikt to Dag:
“Three things you’ve never done..”

***

Episode Six.
Some notes and dialogue on first watching.

Voice-over:
“Sexual references and adult humour you might find offensive..”

Dag and a mysterious man.
Man:
“Holds up his shoe to Dag.
Dag:
“Wild Boar?”
Man:
“Correct”.

Graphic and text:
God descends to earth as a child to befriend a boy.

Man to Dag:
“What we have done here is switch from dry to liquid phosphate..”

(later)
Malin to Dag:
“Is that really Eva Braun?…”
Me I’m getting worried about Malin.

Ernst to Dag:
“To understand human nature, you have to understand why children wave at their parents on a merry go round and why the parents wave back at them”.
Ernst continues:
“Great analogy, huh?”

Dag to Eva:
“I want you- in here”.
He points to his head.
Dag continues:
“I’m surprisingly simple, I hate human beings”
“..to avoid being how pitiful I am..”
“I have to get away.”
“I only want you.”
Eva:
“You are a catch Dag”
Dag:
“It must be in your eyes only..”
Ah.

***

Quick note to my readers-Missing bit of text added to Arne Dahl Series Two Episodes one, two, three and four-notes and review posted on 27th October 2015

Quick note to my readers-Missing bit added to Arne Dahl Series Two posting on 27th October 2015
Missing bit starts right after:
“…was a beautiful thing to behold”.

Arne Dahl Series Two-Short notes on episodes One, Two, Three and Four with a One-Off Review at the end. Minor spoilers only. In Swedish with English subtitles. On in the UK on BBC Four/ 4 Saturdays @ 9pm. Two episodes back to back.

Arne Dahl


Episodes One and  Two are described as Part One and Two of:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream”


Part One.
Some short notes on first watching.

Song:
“Shadows fall across your silent face..”
“Velvet lines in time and space”..
The darkest star of all returns..”
“Ooooo…”
“And you’re left to burn..”

So the Police Sergeant comes to visit Kirstin.
He has lovely orange  spectacles.

So Kirstin is made Chief.
The team-The A-Unit: (are introduced to each other)
“Arto Soderstat”
“Gunnar Nyberg”
“Sarah Svengholm”
“Chavez”
“Ida” (new recruit)

So gotta go.  Lots to concentrate on.  All quite pedestrian.  Me I like the side story of the brother and sister.

***

Part Two of:
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Song:
“The shadows fall across your saddened face”..
“The darkest star of all returns..”
“Now you’re left to burn..”

Nb. I didn’t do notes for this episode.


***

Episodes Three and Four.
“Requiem”
Some notes on first watching.

Prologue
A droopy dreary song.  As per usual.

So it’s a robbery which seems really weird and unusual in Sweden.

Now..
I dunno. Arne Dahl isn’t that write-able really.  It’s kind of like an ongoing Police soap opera. Intense and arduous to watch at the same time.

Although the drama is warming up somewhat.

I like the daring duo of Detectives Kirstin and the young recruit, Ida.
(in the interview room).

So Bengt and his enormous joke glasses is the Public Prosecutor I think.

One of the team to the other: “A German Travel Agency”

So it’s all a bit underwhelming.  The German Travel Agency has been the most interesting bit.

Paul Helm’s Secretary is super-cool.

The best bits are when the A-Unit are not in it!  Really.

There is an excellent baddie in the deadpan man with giant oval spectacles.  Plus his nemesis. Then the the young anti-hero.  Are all excellent.

Yep.  Its the rest of them that are a bit deary: really.

Though you gotta love Arto.
(No more Viggo)
And the Police chief with the orange glasses.

***

Review

Well I found myself thinking during Arne Dahl that this would be a good programme to watch to send you to sleep.  And then I remembered I had thought of that before, the last time I watched Arne Dahl.

Well that was a bit of an interesting occurrence then wasn’t it.  Me remembering the possible soporiphic value in Arne Dahl.  Well more interesting (an occurrence) than watching Arne Dahl.

Yes, Arne Dahl does eventually grow on you like weeds.  The drama is quietly contagious.  The action and the pace is so slow and low of key as to be barely audible.  Or visible.  As a progressing drama.  Unfolding before us.

It’s just that Arne Dahl does its unfolding real-damn.  Slow.

But then of course this perception of the drama so far is just me.

I found myself comparing the meandering story-line with Wallander when watching Arne Dahl.   I never really bothered much with the story-lines in Wallander, since he was such a good actor I guess.

In Arne Dahl there is no one particular Detective to focus on.   Plus they are all a bit bland.  A little bit generic: but I do like the mugs.

The mug with “Gast” on it, which I presumed meant “Guest” being held by an interview suspect was a beautiful thing to behold.

I found myself trying to come up with a description, name or word for the style of Arne Dahl.
 (Is it some kind of meta-art? )

The drama has a densely packed conversation heavy dialogue.  Somehow the dialogue is supremely naturalistic in make-up and tone.

On consideration I didn’t feel like I was watching a home-movie style of series at the time.  Which is good I think.  Hopeful even.  Perhaps.

However in retrospect I now think that the hand held camera effect explains everything.   As if someone turned on a video camera and just let it run.

Then they had such cameras in different places.  For different story-lines.  Like they never turned the cameras off. Almost like.

We do spend long periods of time just gazing at someone doing something.  Like Kirstin lounging on her sofa.  With slightly slime-ball (at work apparently) Bengt.  Then there is poor abandoned Helm mooning about in a lovelorn way.

I did particularly enjoy and recognise from Wallander
( I know-it is unfair to keep comparing the drama to Wallander but I am)  the surprisingly similar tones and reactions of the A-unit to various events.  Chavez’s indiscretion for example.  They scolded, just like I imagined their wise and patient teachers scolded them

Each one of the characters in Arne Dahl at various times upbraided and corrected each other.  In the way that they themselves had been taught.  In that culture if you like.

Then, as a whole and individually, pretty much (except in romances of course) that character will forgive the errant friend.  Calmly delivered improving upbraid (lecture) over, they move on.  Like they were all a calmer, cooler tempered version of my favourite orange spectacled Police Chief.

***

Footnotes

I found myself wondering: are the actors and actresses acting or not acting?  We cannot tell-for sure. Arne Dahl’s success in creating this illusion of absolute naturalism for the viewer: is surely down to their acting skills.

I guess it just depends on whether you want your drama to reflect every sniffle, rustle of paper and long, drawn out silence.  With every painstakingly, achingly, slow progression of solving the crime along the way.

Making Arne Dahl unusual and sort of unclassifiable really.

Could the drama be some whole new art form?  It could be.

Arne Dahl is certainly pretty to look at.  Indeed the drama could be screened in an art gallery on one wall.

As an art installation-in perpetual motion.

***

Me, I miss the magical realism from the previous series and the Persian cleaner. Mr Nazir, I seem to remember, was his name.

No more jolly scene-stealing from Jenny Hulin, the green eye-linered ex-Chief and her inimitable side-kick, Ray.  From America.

Now Ray stole the scene from under everybody’s noses just by appearing on Skype.  In black and white.

Then there was Viggo, lovely, bumbling Viggo..

***



Postcript.

Whereas an episode of the recent series of  Beck seemed to be about three hours long in the watching- Arne Dahl felt more like six.

Me, my mind kept straying to Continuum (like-what’s going on with Agent Gardiner?) and thinking that watching that would be a lot more fun.

***

Quick note to my readers of some new and returning series in the UK: The Bridge-Series Three, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries Series Three, The Talking Dead and Made In Chelsea.

The Bridge-Series Three.
TV Trailer on BBC4: (seen on Saturday 25th October 2015)
“The Bridge, coming soon, BBC4”
“A new Saga begins”.

Yey. That will be after Arne Dahl then possibly.

A new saga, ha ha.  As we see Saga, in the TV trailer, wave Martin goodbye..

***

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries-Series Three.
New Series Alibi Channel number 131 or 200HD on Virgin Media TV.
Series Three Episode One-New. to be aired on 28th October, Wednesday @ 9pm.

***

The Talking Dead.
FOX Channel @ 10pm on Mondays right after The Walking Dead.

A post/ After episode chat show. Funny. Sometimes awkward.  Interesting. Effervescently hosted.

The Talking Dead has so far had the Director and Producer of of The Walking Dead along with cast members and fans appear as guests.

The show thus explains stuff/ things in the plot of the episode. Along with an In Memorium part for each expired undead zombie (or others) in that episode.

Best watched on demand when Ads/ advertisements are disappeared.

As with The Walking Dead, this show airs in the U.S.A. one night before it does in the UK.

Indeed the host of the show, Chris Hardwick, greets the UK viewers.  So in a return of this courtesy I am giving The Talking Dead a well deserved mention.  My first ever mention of a chat show!

The episode with the Writer and Director of The Walking Dead explaining how they constructed scenes and their ideas behind creating the story-lines was fascinating.

Also the cast members explain their character’s: motivations, feelings, progression and growth (into generally bad-ass dudes) throughout the series.

***
Made In Chelsea.  E4 on Mondays @9pm.

Not sure what number series.  Also perfect to watch after The Walking Dead.   The Sloane Square posse return from their sun-kissed summer and tempestuous times in L.A.  Back to the Chelsea skies..

***

The Returned-Les Revenants-Series Two-First Episode some notes and dialogue with short review at the end. Minor spoilers only. In French with English subtitles. On in the UK on Fridays on More4/ Four Channel @ 9pm

Series Description:
“A supernatural crime thriller set in a quiet alpine village”.

Nb. I have written about Les Revenants/ The Returned Series One episode by episode here.

***

The Returned/ Les Revenants

Series Two
Episode One.
Some notes and dialogue on first watching.

Prologue:
“6 Months later/ 6 mois plus tard”

An orange lozenge shaped light above.
(echoing noise)

(rattling noise)
A gentle voice, in French, speaks..To a patient in the back of an ambulance..

(beeping quickens)

Now:
“L’Enfant/ The Child”

(pulse getting louder)

Phew.  It was all a dream. or not as the Priest explains:
“There as a problem, with the ambulance..”
“He brought you here..”

The fantasmagorically beautiful opening credits. Sigh.  What a feast for the eyes.

A handsome man arrives at the top of the dam.  The he looks down.  We get the picture.

I think that (he) is Pierrre. No, but he looks familiar..

Soldier to the handsome man, Berg:
“The people who stayed here, are a little bizarre..”

A reindeer walks through the Plaza.

So Berg is an investigator.  Great stuff.

It’s lovely to hear French again..

The colour palette of the drama sometimes recalls the (French) series Witnesses/ Les Temoins.

So Adele and her daughter is all a bit creepy.
Adele sometimes looks like a man.  A bit like Matt Dillon in the film Drugstore Cowboy.  Or a new romantic singer.

Meanwhile at the Helping Hand Hostel things are seriously cultish.

Aha.  I think it’s Serge.

Adele’s story is like (the films) The Alien met Rosemary’s Baby.

Uh oh.  Things are a happening.  Down in the forest.  With Audrey. A young girl who appears at the top of the dam..

Chloe is the name of Adele’s daughter.  Lena comes to (see) her.  (Chloe)

So Berg, the investigator and Pierre, from the Helping Hand Hostel meet.

So I’m not really sure who some of the people are, like the two young guys who come to see Lena.

Lena’s Dad looks different but then now he is all bearded up!  I realize that I am remembering the people from the American remake  as characters. Not the french series.

I do however, remember Lucy.  This must be her music.  And now with his own special sort of romantic music, is Simon.

Meanwhile Lucy and Audrey are sailing or rather rafting.  On a lake.
Audrey and Lucy arrive.
“Knocking”
Voice:
“Sssh!”
“Be quiet!”

Chloe to the Priest:
“Will it be like us, or them?”

So Simon is swimming…

So the music is fairly stunning.  As is the scenery.

Chloe prays:
“Hail Mary, full of grace..”

Now here comes a certain handsome somebody down the road.

Lucy to Simon:
“It’s almost finished..”

Victor to Julie:
“Will you always stay with me?”
Julie:
“Of course”
Victor:
“Will you always stay with me, no matter what?”
Julie:
“I promise”.

So this is weird.
We gaze at Victor’s drawings, they are very accurate.

Doctor to Adele:
“Count down from ten”
Adele:
“Dix, neuf, huit, sept, six, cinq, quatre” / “ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four..”

****

Review.

So Les Revenants/the Returned series two is super spooky.  Seriously creepy. In atmosphere and tone.  The skies are somehow slightly overcast.  There is no real light.  No sunlight.

The colours are all pale, bleached out.  The sound is almost muted.  Within the drama.  The world of the town in The Returned, is all washed out.  Quite literally.

This is a dramatically visual half-word.  Of unsurities.  If that is a word.  Everything is unsure.  Where are they all exactly?  I mean we know the location, the name. But everything else, concrete and definable about the town: is unsettlingly unclear.

It’s almost like the apocalypse.  But exceedingly arty to view.

Thankfully, for me, the sinisterness to the whole drama is leavened and lightened by the magical realism style of some of the scenes.  Such scenes seem magical, impossible in appearance.  But we know that they are real.

These scenes are painted in a a sort of fairly dust of blue and white.  I was reminded of some similar effects in the early series of True Blood.  You know-when Sookie was wondering through the ancient forest at night..

When magic was afoot.

***

Footnote.

Off the top of my head I am thinking that the scene with the reindeer walking, in the town square or Plaza, was in the series Twin Peaks.