Pinnacle of the Lake: China Girl review- Elisabeth Moss is entirely mesmerising, again

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Season two meets Jane Campion wring cinematic charm from a sleazy Sydney cityscape, with Nicole Kidman assembling Mosss Detective Robin Griffin

An Asian pair finish their noodles, then take a big wheelie suitcase to the top of a cliff at night. The length of the case, its obvious load, and the graveyard( Waverley ?) they pass through leave you in little doubt about what is inside. That is before a split opens up in it, from the fall, and human mane, long and black, billows out in the underwater currents, as if it is alive again.

I to be concerned about the be removed from New Zealand to Sydney for Jane Campions Top of the Lake follow-up Top of the Lake: China Girl ( BBC2 ). The immense, lonely elegance of the South Island scenery played such a major part in the first sequence. But Campion wrings a different kind of beautiful, still cinematic though, from a sleazy Sydney cityscape.

Detective Robin Griffin( Elisabeth Moss, absolutely mesmerising again, and now briefly overlapping herself as the lead in the two most absorbing dramas currently on television ), has returned to Sydney to shed herself into work and to forget about everything that went down by the Kiwi lake. And too, perhaps, because she has a teenage daughter here, small children she gave up at delivery but whose note which came only a few years ago, attempting contact she carries around with her. Perhaps now is the time for that contact.

There is a lot of thoughtfulnes on what it means to be a mom, and specifically the mother-daughter affair, in ToTL 2.0. Motherhood that has hitherto been denied but that can maybe now be caught up on; motherhood that will never be, the madness and tendernes of missing out; non-biological motherhood, surrogate motherhood. Real-life motherhood, extremely: who plays Robins daughter, Mary, when they do( of course) become contact? Campions real-life daughter, Alice Englert.

Nicole Kidman, the big-name movie star, as Holly Hunter was in the first succession, is fabulous and so very real as Marys adoptive baby: academic, intensely ingenious, infuriating, especially to her( adopted) daughter. Any various kinds of mother-daughter tie-in, it seems, is not an easy one.

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The big-name movie star Nicole Kidman is relentless and incredible in Top of the Lake: China Girl. Photograph: See-Saw Films( TOTL2) Holdings Pty Ltd

It is also a little about female affection, which is not straightforward either. It searches as if it might not happen for Robin and her polouse marriage Miranda( Gwendoline Christie) in the beginning. The glitch lies almost completely with Robin, but then she is suffering, recollect? And occasions change( I binged, “its impossible” not to, when it is all there now, on iPlayer, and it is so addictive ).

They are together on the case of vehicles of the suitcase, which eventually bathes on to Bondi beach, with its awful materials. The investigation takes them to a dark slope of Sydney, a plaza of illegal immigration, exploitation, human trafficking and prostitution.

As a whodunit and a policeman indicate, it is totalling compelling. Less bonkers than the first sequence, tighter, better projected. Last-place period, the womens camp by the lagoon was brilliant and comical, for example, but it could have been removed without doing any structural damage to the whole happen. The equivalent in this a community of dreadful young male porn-surfers who are incapable of communicating with women who arent sex employees are more integral to whats going on.

Oh, yeah, the men. If they are not sorry, they are misogynistic, prejudiced pigs. Dicks, all of them, literally they follow their own penises around like dumb puppies. The one intriguing male persona, with a little bit more to him, is Marys boyfriend Puss( David Dencik ). And he is really creepy, devious and violent. Do all the men have to be so ghastly? Perhaps they do, if Puss is correct, and the fate of humanity is to enslave wives. And if females must and do take back power.

Awww, good desire, poverty-stricken me, are you feeling a bit gender-bashed? Ill be all right. And I adoration it, because it is beautifully written, beautifully acted, beautiful to look at. And really funny. Dry, canny, fun, via masterly dialogue. But too astonishingly visual, silent-movie fun, almost slapstick. Like the slapstick height difference between cop collaborators Robin and Miranda. And at the very beginning, when the couple are pushing that wheelie suitcase, containing the dead dame, off the cliff, it wheels down towards the edge, but then get put, teetering on the brink, and needs a nudge before disintegrating into the ocean.

It is good news that Campion has discovered the small screen. It is not small-scale; she makes it look big it is large-hearted, yields her opening. Top of the Lake would never have equipped into a movie.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

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