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Ghost Canyon

'Southcliffe'
(Rory Kinnear, Sean Harris, Shirley Henderson, et al / DVD / NR / (2013) 2019 / BBC Home Entertainment)

Overview: Following a rash of shootings in an English market town, the crimes are retold through the eyes of a journalist and the tragedies' victims.

DVD Verdict: Tony Grisoni's powerful four-part drama starring Rory Kinnear tells the story of a fictional English town devastated by a spate of shootings that take place over a single day.

For those not in the UK know, the writers here have taken the real events of Hungerford, Cumbria and Dunblane as their inspiration, showing the characters and the sparks that lead up to one man (Sean Harris, brilliantly haunting) snapping and begin his random killing spree in a small fictional town in the UK.

The tones here match the bleak morning fog of this sleepy coastal community and the camera takes it's time, not always showing you everything you want to see, a statement perhaps that the film makers here are willing to take risks and its all the better for it.

Clearly taking well grounded advice from shows such as 'The Killing' time is taken to show all sides of a person so there will be more emotional consequence for the viewer later on.

Perfectly placed to show an example of this technique is the fact that as the first episode ends with the spree just beginning we are only given a taste of what's to come at its climax.

This four-part miniseries unwinds much like that throughout and thus is a slow and patient drama that jumps from past to present and back again.

To my mind, and in my humble opinion, 'Southcliffe' is a masterpiece of pace and elliptical pauses. The acting is heart-wrenching and brilliant.

The script soars with unadorned language in which some of the most vicious and touching lines unfold in the spaces between words.

In closing, its style won't be to everyone's taste and I am sure some will find it a bit slow, but in a time of never ending crap reality TV and repetitive game shows, its about time someone showed some balls and made these sorts of gritty dramas that the UK used to be (and are starting to get back to being) so good at. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.

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