Tuesday, September 23, 2014

First 'The Fall' Season 2 Reviews

From Daily Mirror
The Fall was a rare thing when it aired last year, both critically acclaimed and loved by viewers. 
A gripping psychological thriller that saw DSI Stella Gibson (Gillian Anderson) try to track down a perverted serial killer in Belfast. 
On the face of it, Paul Spector ( Jamie Dornan ) was a family man. But in reality he was a murderer who was sexually motivated and able to avoid police detection again and again. 
Some viewers complained about sleepless nights and feeling tense after episodes, but it was so gripping they carried on watching nonetheless. 
The second series starts 10 days after Spector's last attack, with the girl involved still alive but struggling to cope or help. 
Whilst Gibson goes about her work tirelessly, Spector's is in the background as a menacing presence. 
Aside from a phone call he barely speaks in the opening 30 minutes, but viewers still know he is very much there, almost like a caged animal. 
And fans of hunk Dornan will love the long lingering shots of him contemplating his next move. 
With Gibson leading the episode, a scene on a train then kickstarts Spector's action towards the climax. 
We may notice change in him in coming episodes, but as DSI Gibson says as she addresses her colleagues: "He is a man who takes his fantasies and turns them into realities." 
There are six episodes instead of five this time around. BBC drama boss Ben Stephenson says it has "gone up a huge level". On the basis of the opening episode, he's not wrong. 
It is far from comfortable viewing, but it is hugely compelling. 
*The second series of The Fall will air on BBC2 this autumn.

From The Guardian
• This preview is spoiler-free 
The most repulsive drama ever broadcast on British TV is back. Not everyone agreed with that Daily Mail description of The Fall; indeed, it was BBC2’s most popular drama for 20 years and its return is one of the most eagerly awaited TV events of 2014. 
When it aired in 2013, The Fall – starring Jamie Dornan as the hunted and Gillian Anderson as the hunter – made for particularly difficult viewing. At a preview screening on Tuesday night in London, the first episode of the second series revealed itself to be gripping but a slow-burner unlikely to win over new fans. I spent the first 30 minutes wanting to see more from Dornan, as estranged family man/serial-killer Paul Spector, and the second half with my hands over my face. That’s entertainment? Probably. 
Set 10 days after the final episode of series one (open-ended cop-out? I rather liked it), the second season opens with both Dornan and Gillian Anderson’s DSI Stella Gibson in glorious isolation. Dornan literally so; though Gibson, seconded from the Met Police to root out bent Belfast coppers, has always been an island. 
“I look the same but I am not the same as before,” says one of the victims. Neither is the drama. Spector’s pretence of being an ordinary family man, the double life that gripped in its first run, is all but shattered. But not entirely so. At a Q&A following the screening, writer Allan Cubitt, who also directs this six-part series, described Spector’s daughter, Olivia, as “the heart of the thing. She is the most distressing victim in The Fall.” 
Dornan said the script “transcended everything I thought it could be. You will see as the series goes on it is quite remarkable what it entails.” 
But don’t expect a big reveal as to the back story of Anderson’s enigmatic DS Gibson. “There are a small handful of scenes, moments where you you understand her a little bit more,” she said. “If it were more than that, I would be disappointed.” 
The BBC is clamping down on spoilers ahead of its transmission, expected in November, but Cubitt said he “wasn’t giving anything away” by flagging up the “growing obsession” between the hunter and the hunted. 
“That’s the way of these investigations, particularly the multiple murderer, the police become increasingly immersed in their world, their psychology, in the hope of gaining the upper hand, some kind of insight, to stop them what they are doing,” he said. 
Cubitt said he had not toned down the show in response to complaints about the on-screen violence against women – “There was some criticism but by no means a majority of people or anything of that sort” – but admitted: “My mantra during the first season as we should neither sanitise nor sensationalise Spector. That is a very difficult line to walk.” 
Its return rises or falls on a moment, midway through the first episode, in which Spector’s character takes hiding in plain sight to a whole new level. Ingenious or incredible, it will either have you gasping – like much of the preview audience – or leave you pondering the decline of The Fall.

From Radio Times
Warning **mild spoilers** 
Jamie Dornan was on a bit of a high last night at the screening of The Fall 2.  He had flown straight in from Los Angeles for the event and was given a beer by his minder before launching into raptures about the BBC2 series, and especially scriptwriter Allan Cubitt. 
“I didn’t feel that we could move substantially far forward from the first series and how moved I was… but when Allan sent me the second [script] I just thought he was showing off,” said Dornan. “It just transcended everything I thought it could be. It’s quite remarkable what he does, so I couldn’t wait to do it.” 
But is he right? Is it really that good? 
I greatly admired series one, but like many viewers and critics was left profoundly troubled by the violence and disappointed by the end when Gillian Anderson’s DSI Stella Gibson failed to land Paul Spector (Dornan's family man and bereavement counsellor with the most horrific and disturbing line in killing young brunette women for kicks). 
The Fall 2 opens a few days after his last attack with the victim alive but so traumatised she is unable to help police. Spector is holed up in Scotland, his flit with his family which closed the first series clearly coming to nothing. His wife has returned back to Northern Ireland with the children… but will he follow and continue his killing spree? 
Well, despite the protestations of Cubitt that he had not toned down series two - despite the many criticism of the graphic violence against women, the lingering way the camera focused on the appalling crimes - the first taste of the next batch does feel less distressing and I have a sneaking feeling that this may be deliberate. 
The focus seems to be more on the victims – which, as a show like Danish series The Killing demonstrated, can almost be as unbearable to watch as psychotic violence 
As Cubitt put it last night: “I made a conscious decision that we would not start with violence. We would get to know them.  We cut away from the violence in fact. I am not attempting to minimise the impact of it because I think that actually the more you draw the audience into a psychological relationship with the victims the harder it’s going to be. 
“The bigger your investment in the characters the more impactful the dramatic moments would be so you don’t have to cut people up to make that impact.” 
Series one ran to five episodes, series two to six, which gives it more time to breathe. This leads to the odd unneccesary longeur, but also to some chilling, drawn-out moments. I am finding it difficult to forget Spector’s encounter with a woman on a train who looks like she could well be his next victim and another disturbing sequence in which Spector finds his daughter Olivia’s dolls – and cannot resist tying them up. 
It seems that a key source of drama will be in these moments of psychological insight – trying to understand Spector and seeing the repercussions of his crimes. Cubitt said last night that the one character that breaks his heart is Olivia (she is “the heart of the thing... the most distressing victim in The Fall”), and it looks like we are moving to a different kind of horror in series two. 
Another driver will be the increasingly obsessive relationship between two people who have never properly met each other on screen: Spector and Stella. So a different kind of experience this time. But it looks like it could be just as rewarding.

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