Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Family, Friends & Foes

The Green Man is a 3 part BBC adaptation of a Kingsley Amis novel and stars Albert Finney as a rakish hotelier who's in charge of a luxurious but haunted country gastro-retreat. Unfortunately Finney's constant womanising and alcoholism have strained his family relations to breaking point and after his father dies our protagonists ghostly visions take on a more corporal form. Originally written in the 60's and adapted in the 90's it's showing it's age a bit but Finney's excellent performance and the curious brew of comedy, sex and horror keep things nicely afloat as he drifts between revulsion and temptation by the offer made by an evil cleric. All in all good
(not so clean) supernatural fun - must root around for the book.

Wild Palms will, no doubt, always be overshadowed by Twin Peaks, which preceded it by a year or so, but it's a clever 6 part scifi mini-series about technology and power that probably has more resonance than ever in our current milieu. As a new interactive, holographic TV system is about to be launched a corporate lawyer finds his family and world turned upside down when he's drawn into a conflict between two groups vying for the future, the Fathers and the Friends, the former helmed by a demented CEO determined to translate recent successes into political power and digital immorality. There's big buckets of talent involved on and off screen - Oliver Stone producing, Kathryn Bigelow directing and Belushi, Loggia, Dourif, Dickinson and a trailer load of other familiar faces starring but it's actually the script that shines through for once with the crisp dialogue sheltering a careful ambiguity. Like Green Man, the past 20 years haven't done it any favours and maybe Belushi is a bit out of his depth but it's still a potent, if unheard, clarion call about the dangers of mixing corporations with politics.

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