Apr 27, 2011
REVIEW: The Killing (AMC, Sunday 10pm)
Kate and I have been settling into the terminal gloom and splatter patterns of The Killing, which rounds out a day of good deeds and churchgoing quite nicely, we've found. I wouldn't say we love it but we're going to see this thing through. TV thrillers are more of an a priori commitment than cinematic thrillers, it being marginally more trouble to decide you don't like something and stop watching (What if it gets good in the final furlong?) than it is to say you do like it and carry on. I feel much the same way about the British Royal Family, who persist in much the same apathy zone, somewhere between 'I don't dislike them' and 'can't be arsed to figure out how to get rid of them'. Anyway: The Killing. Rainy, windswept, lots of imported Nordic gloom, as if Seattle were playing Denmark, or as if to say: To hell with Nora Ephron and her waterfront christmas lights. We like the leads, particularly Mireille Enos, the sullen, bruised-looking redhead leading the murder investigation and her unintelligible partner Joel Kinnaman, whose every second word gets tangled in his wispy scrubland of beard, never to escape. The plotting is a little high-handed, each episode boiling down to an hour of tense conversations in the rain, with occasional breaks for a spot of grief in a supermarket or Texaco station, generally followed, at the 60th minute, by an Important Plot Point, at which point the program exits with one swoop of its cape, thus lending credence to the idea that TV plotting consists not of spooning out dramatic events, but putting off dramatic events for as long as you reasonably can without full-scale viewer mutiny. It's bigger on mood — a seance session invoking the shades of David Lynch, Thomas Harris and Steig Larsson, whose presence is particularly strong in the exploitation of Goths as 1) creepy vampiric figures likely to lure your daughter into sex, drugs and assorted necromantic acts; also b) pale-faced seers who cut through the hypocrisy of adult society with the uncorrupted clarity of the outsider. The lesson: Goths may force your daughter into unnatural sexual acts but they are also represent a highly elusive and lucrative demographic that pop-dramatists would do well to cosy up to.