One of the nice things about streaming Netflix is the non-mainstream content you get exposed to. In this case, Netflix offers the Red Riding trilogy from England. As a fan of crime dramas, such as Homicide: Life on the Street or Clockers, I am always interested in realistic stories that show the underbelly of society. Red Riding hits all the right notes. The trilogy consists of Red Riding 1974, Red Riding 1980 and Red Riding 1983.
The three films deal with the police corruption in North England, specifically the West Yorkshire Constabulary. Against a series of serial killings and child kidnappings, including the Yorshire Ripper murders, we see brutal police methods put to work to gain a conviction, regardless of the guilt or innocence of the accused. The top notch cast plays their detectives as hard men with rough edges. There is no pity in the interrogation rooms. The story here does more to frighten the viewer than any goofy horror film. Once you see how utterly helpless suspects can be in the grasp of corrupt police officials you will know what it's like to be truly powerless and vulnerable.
Everyone is on the take as well. These officers don't so much view their job as serving and protecting as maintaining graft and protecting their patrons. Indeed, in the first film, asking the wrong questions about a string of child kidnappings stretching back several years gets cub reporter Eddie Dunnford in a lot of trouble.
One of the greatest aspects of the films is the cinematography. The bleak english countryside communicates the desperation of the people living near Yorkshire and the village of Fitzwilliam. There is an altogether familiarity for residents of our rust belt of gray concrete, desolate public housing and desperation.
The films demonstrate how authority can be corrupted in the absence of an informed public who cares about what is happening. In 1974, especially, we see how a corrupt mall developer uses money and influence to get public officials to do what he wants while they look the other way. Familiar, eh?
If you are a crime buff and enjoy realistic, gritty dramas on the subject I recommend all three Red Riding films.