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

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

An Asian duet finish their noodles, then take a big wheelie suitcase to the top of a cliff at night. The sizing of the case, its obvious heavines, 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 tumble, and human whisker, long and pitch-black, billows out in the underwater currents, as if it is alive again.

I worried about the move from New Zealand to Sydney for Jane Campions Top of the Lake follow-up Top of the Lake: China Girl ( BBC2 ). The immense, lonely attractivenes of the South Island scenery played such a major part in the first sequence. But Campion wrings other kinds of glamour, still cinematic though, from a sleazy Sydney cityscape.

Detective Robin Griffin( Elisabeth Moss, absolutely mesmerising again, and now briefly overlapping herself as a leading role in the two most absorbing dramas currently on tv ), has returned to Sydney to throw herself into work and to forget about everything that went down by the Kiwi lake. And too, maybe, because she has a teenage daughter here, a child she gave up at delivery but whose character which came only a few years ago, searching contact she carries around with her. Perhaps the time has now come for that contact.

There is a lot of reflection on what it means to be a baby, and specifically the mother-daughter rapport, 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 sting of missing out; non-biological motherhood, surrogate motherhood. Real-life motherhood, extremely: who plays Robins daughter, Mary, when they do( of course) form contact? Campions real-life daughter, Alice Englert.

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

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The big-name movie star Nicole Kidman is ferocious and spectacular in Top of the Lake: China Girl. Image: See-Saw Films( TOTL2) Holding Pty Ltd

It is also a little about female affection, which is not straightforward either. It gazes as if it might not happen for Robin and her policeman partner Miranda( Gwendoline Christie) to begin with. The blame lies almost entirely with Robin, but then she is suffering, remember? And occasions change( I binged, it is 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 washes on to Bondi beach, with its horrendous contents. The investigation takes them to a dark surface of Sydney, a neighbourhood of illegal migration, exploitation, human trafficking and prostitution.

As a mystery and a cop display, it is totalling compelling. Less bonkers than the first succession, tighter, better proposed. Last-place duration, the status of women camp by the pond was brilliant and amusing, for example, but it could have been removed without doing any structural damage to the whole stuff. The equivalent in this a community of horrific young male porn-surfers who are incapable of communicating with women who arent copulation works are more integral to whats going on.

Oh, yeah, the men. If they are not pathetic, they are misogynistic, racist pigs. Dicks, all of them, literally they follow their own penises around like stupid puppies. The one intriguing male reputation, with a bit more to him, is Marys boyfriend Puss( David Dencik ). And he is really creepy, devious and brutal. Do all the men have to be so ghastly? Maybe they do, if Puss is correct, and the destiny of boy is to enslave maidens. And if wives must and do take back power.

Awww, good adore, good me, are you feeling a bit gender-bashed? Ill be all right. And I cherish it, because it is beautifully written, beautifully performed, beautiful to be addressed by. And really funny. Dry, canny, mood, via masterly talk. But also surprisingly visual, silent-movie humor, nearly slapstick. Like the slapstick height discrepancies between cop marriages Robin and Miranda. And at the very beginning, when the couple are pushing that wheelie suitcase, containing such dead dame, off the cliff, it rolls down towards the edge, but then gets stayed, teetering on the brink, and needs a nudge before gate-crashing into the ocean.

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

Read more: www.theguardian.com


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