Tuesday 27 October 2009

Murderland again

The second episode of the three-parter starring the excellent Robbie Coltrane has just been shown. In David Pirie’s crime drama, Coltrane plays Hain, a discredited yet appealing cop whose lover worked as a part-time prostitute and was found stabbed to death in her home not long after he’d paid her a visit.

The first episode showed events from the perspective of Carrie, the victim’s daughter. This time, the focus was on the perspective of Hain. Whilst the sequence of events from the past unfolded, we also saw Carrie, now grown up and searching the solution to the mystery before she commits to a new life, calling on Hain and trying to find out more.

In fact, she didn’t find out much. We learned a little more about other potential suspects, but forward movement in the story-line was limited. A number of the scenes we saw last week were repeated, and even though sometimes different camera angles were used, I felt that we went over too much old ground. It felt rather like padding, when I could have done with more story.

The idea of telling a murder story from different points of view is very appealing. It’s been done in plenty of novels, sometimes very cleverly, and I’d rather like to have a go at it myself one day. But the brilliance of the film Vantage Point, for instance, is certainly missing from the construction of Murderland. So far, at any rate. I will withhold final judgment until next week’s episode. The acting is very good, and the mystery-solving tug sufficient to entice me to tune in to find out whodunit.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Using the POVs would be tricky, I think, but very interesting. Wouldn't work with my cozies, but I'd love to try it with another series one day.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Louise said...

I absolutely agree. The plot is unfolding very slowly and not enough ground was covered, given the episode was a good 45 minutes long.

I would be interested to see if you watched Criminal Justice this year which also, I felt, dragged slowly over 5 nights to a rather lack-lustre culmination at the end

Martin Edwards said...

Elizabeth, I began with single point of view (third person) but gradually broadened out. However, single pov does allow for extra intensity, something Murderland lacks in episode two.

Martin Edwards said...

Greetings, Gypsy Lady. I didn't watch Criminal Justice - five episodes felt like too big a commitment of time that could be devoted to writing!