23 March 2009

Read Riding

I wasn't entirely satisfied by the conclusion of Channel 4's Red Riding trilogy. It's not that I was annoyed that not every loose end was tied up and every last part wasn't spelled out to me so much as I still wasn't entirely sure which parts I was supposed to understand and which parts were supposed to remain clouded in mystery.

Obviously, I had to turn to the David Peace books on which the films are based. Given that the three films are made-for-TV, they aren't going to be making money from cinema tickets, although they might get some from the inevitable DVD releases. However, with four books with shiny new TV-tie-in covers at £7.99 a pop, that's almost £32 for the whole set (plus another £7.99 for The Damned United, by the same author and just released at the cinema), which isn't bad, given that you can't really buy just one of the four-part trilogy because it will be thoroughly unsatisfying. This makes me wonder whether the writers and producers of the films intentionally left the ending confusing and largely unresolved in order to persuade people to head down to their local bookstore and hand over £32.

I object to paying £8 for a book so I'd been scouring second-hand bookshops since I saw the first part of the trilogy but hadn't managed to find any copies of the books for less than £7.99. Even Amazon had them for sale at about £5. Luckily, yesterday I found all four books for £5 each at Fopp and although I didn't shell out for the whole set, I did buy the first one and really enjoyed it. So much so that when I went to bed at 11 last night, I was just going to read a few more pages and ended up staying up another hour-and-a-half, gripped and unable to put the damn thing down (yes--great bedtime reading!). 

I was amazed how much had been left out of the films. How many characters had been deleted or merged. How many plot points make so much less sense without the deleted characters. And so on. So, now I'm going to have to buy the rest of the set, of course. I'm not expecting total resolution, but I hope that by the end, I will at least realise the parts that I am supposed to understand and those which are left unresolved.

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