Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Killing

I just finished watching The Killing and I have to say I was very impressed. I found it hard to concentrate on the subtitles at first without endless tweeting and fannying around as I normally do when I watch something, but it grips you quite quickly (I'd say 2 episodes in). NB. I'll try not to spoilerise for those who haven't seen it but I might mention a few minor details so if you want to be safe, you might not want to read (I wouldn't, because I'm really anal about not reading reviews until I've seen something). But don't worry, I wont tell you whodunnit.
I'm trying to work out what makes this show so watchable, and what's good about it, but it's hard to explain. I wouldn't watch an ITV drama about a murder investigation, so why this? Well, initially because of the hype, of course. But just what is so gripping about it?
I think the format is partly responsible; 20 days to solve a murder investigation gives you enough time to get into it and really look forward to the next episode.
The main draw, I suppose, is the lead character DCI Sara Lund, who's one hairstyle is a ratty ponytail, and two outfits that consist of a white jumper your nan would knit you for Christmas with black stitching, and then the exact same jumper in black with white stitching. At one point she rips the jumper; the next day she's still wearing the fucker. She never stopped to sew it up, I'll tell you that much. She doesn't even stop to sleep. The main story is that she gets so wrapped up in solving the murder of Nanna Birk Larsen (get ready to hear the words 'Nanna Birk Larsen' about 20 billion times) that she forgets she has a boyfriend, son, and pretty much everything else.
There are lots of good things about The Killing. I like the relationship with her 'partner' Mayer (actually her replacement, but she outstays her welcome). He's a brilliant character, scoffing Wotsits and chain smoking (indoors! Racy) pretty much the whole series. I like the fact Lund is so dismissive of his smoking and then about halfway through she asks for a toke on one of his fags, and after that she's just a full time smoker.
There are so many cool scenes in it; *spoiler*when she stops the plane was soooo fucking cool. You were just thinking 'so, she's really going back to Sweden?' then it's like 'nah!' I like the tension in the first few episodes when her boyfriend is just constantly ringing saying 'so you're coming today?' and she's 'yeah, I'll be there Saturday.' Yeah.
In fact the whole way the end of the episodes is set up is cool, it's shot really nicely and they play this tense music so you know shit's about to kick off. They always have a good cliffhanger, too.
The other key character is the unfortunately named Troels Hartmann, aka a blonde Martin Kemp, who is running for Mayor of Copenhagen and gets dragged into the murder case, although by the amount of fuss about the election you'd think he was running for President of the USA. So is he the only honest politician on the planet? His assistant (Claudia Winkleman) is certainly a bit shady.
My suspicions were raised when it looked like they solved the murder in episode 15 (with 5 episodes to go? Come on) and in an episode shortly after that something so shocking happens I could barely sleep that night. Is it far fetched? Completely! But it's totally compelling. Lund's spiral into complete obsession with cracking the case is brilliant, and brilliantly acted. I like it at one point when she gets into trouble and they take her badge off her. When her boss realises she was right, he doesn't say sorry, just gives her her badge back on the sly. It's little touches like that which keep it really clever and cool. Towards the end she's still trying to run the investigation from the back of a police car. You've got to admire her spirit.
OK, I haven't ruined too much, I hope. If you haven't seen it, watch it! And when you watch the last episode, at the end they have an advert for The Killing 2, which got me all excited! I'm going to be fluent in Danish at this rate.


rachel said...

Brilliant review! Reminded me of lots of moments I'd forgotten. Lay off Troels, though, he's ways more exciting than the Martin Kemp comparison...

lightupvirginmary said...

hey thanks, I appreciate it.