Paddy Considine stuck in my head the very first time I saw him in Shane Meadow’s A Room for Romeo Brass and by the time he put in a terrifying performance in Meadow’s fourth feature, Dead Man’s Shoes, it was plain to see what a strong actor he was developing into. Not satisfied with being a promising young actor though, Considine has also dived head first into the world of directing with his stand out short Dog Altogether (featuring another outstanding performance from Peter Mullan). After seeing him take some smaller supporting roles in somewhat larger films Hot Fuzz and The Bourne Ultimatum, it was exciting to hear he was playing the lead in the second part of the Red Riding trilogy 1980.
Directed by James Marsh (Man on Wire) 1980 sees Considine take the role of Chief Constable Peter Hunter as he struggles to get the police’s hunt for The Ripper back on track. Marsh’s 1980 takes a very different approach from Julian Jarrold’s 1974, opting for a more realistic docudrama feel as opposed to the darker, nightmarish world in Jarrold’s film. Setting the tone early, Marsh’s film opens with a montage of news footage that instantly submerges you into the Ripper case. Later, Marsh plays with the docudrama approach more so when he introduces ‘home video’ footage of Hunter and his wife (Lesley Sharp) at a Christmas party, giving us a rare look into the Chief Constable’s much guarded home life.
Not as stylish or filmic as 1974, Marsh’s 1980 does, like it predecessor, featuring an exceptional British cast and some stand out individual performances. Julia Ford, Maxine Peake, Peter Mullan, Warren Clarke, David Morrisey and the terrifying Sean Harris all put in fantastic supporting performances and make the corruption and fear of the time immediately believable. However, it’s Considine’s performance that steals the film and his controlled portrayal of Chief Constable Hunter and his steely determinedness are mesmerising. Hunter is like a mystery wrapped in an enigma, engulfed in his work and suffering problems in his home life, we never feel like we’re seeing the whole picture and all credit has to go to Considine for adding such depth and complexity to his character.
To be honest I didn’t enjoy 1980 as much as I enjoyed 1974, where I felt Jarrold’s first part of the trilogy could easily stand alone as an individual film, I couldn’t say the same of Marsh’s film. 1980 always felt like it was part of something else and if I hadn’t seen 1974 the previous week, I don’t think I would have enjoyed this second part of the trilogy as much. Saying that, it was easily the best thing on TV this week and will probably be one of the best things on TV all year.