River (TV Series) 2015

  
John River is a brilliant police officer whose genius and fault-line is the fragility of his mind – a man haunted by the murder victims whose cases he must lay to rest. A man who must walk a professional tightrope between a pathology so extreme he risks permanent dismissal, and a healthy state of mind that would cure him of his gift.

  
Stellan Skarsgård plays the part of John River magnificently. He displays his fragile state of mind across his face as a permanent reminder to the viewer that this man is not well. Whilst hunting for the killer of his partner who was shot apparently at random, he must also navigate other difficult murder cases and the constant questioning of his own mental state all while being haunted by murder victims he couldn’t save, and even a smirking Victorian killer who seeks to drive him to madness. 

  
Eddie Marsan plays Thomas Cream, a sinister killer from the 19th century who even professed to be Jack the Ripper. Thomas haunts River, trying to poison his mind and stop him from getting the killers responsible for the many cases he’s investigating and also from becoming mentally well again. Watching River battle with his clear mental illness is heartbreaking as Skarsgård is so invested in the character that it’s clear to see he’s done his research and has taken the time to really craft the character and make him both believable and sympathetic. The supporting cast are also really good and you will recognise a lot of faces. There are some disturbing elements, but it’s so well written that you just can’t turn away. 

  

Fans of Scandinavian drama will find lots to like here, as even though it’s set in London, it’s very similar to programmes like The Killing and Borgen. The BBC have really delivered here with what is a fantastic piece of drama. Absolutely brilliant. You can pre order the series on Blu Ray and DVD now via the following link: 

http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk/shop/index.php?route=product/search&filter_name=River

River is released on November 30th. 

5/5  
JM

 

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Lady in White (1988)

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One Halloween a young boy named Frankie Scarlatti (Lukas Haas) tells a scary story to his classmates. Frankie has a vivid imagination and likes to write stories. After school, two bullies grab Frankie’s hat and throw it into the class cloakroom. The bullies tell Frankie where he can find it. However when Frankie goes to get his hat, the bullies lock the door behind him. Frankie is locked inside the cloakroom where it begins to get dark. As it gets dark Frankie sees the ghost of a young girl being attacked by an unseen force then vanish. Somebody comes into the cloakroom and begins to look around. When Frankie makes a noise, the unknown person attacks Frankie and he blacks out.

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Frankie finds out that the spirit he saw was of a little girl that was taken from the school years before and murdered. Several other children were also murdered in the following years but the killer was never found. When Frankie blacked out he had a vision of the girl whom he spoke to. She asked Frankie to help her find her mother.

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As Frankie begins to dig further into the vision of the spirit and the other murdered children, he realises that the killer might be someone very close to home. All of it having something to do with the mysterious ‘Lady in White’ who lives by the cliffs. This movie is very eerie. I remember seeing it a very long time ago now, and I remember it scaring me. Not that it has many jumpy moments, but rather it’s just a really well put together ghost story.

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Lukas Haas is brilliant as Frankie. Alex Rocco is also great as Frankie’s dad Angelo, and the great Len Cariou plays the family friend Phil. The effects of the ghosts can be a bit ropey in places, but the story is so well told that it would be cruel of me to really mark it down for that. If you have never seen this movie, then I urge you to track down a copy and give it a watch. It really is a creepily good movie.

4/5

JM

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