Season two examines Jane Campion wring cinematic charm from a sleazy Sydney cityscape, with Nicole Kidman meeting Mosss Detective Robin Griffin
An Asian couple finish their noodles, then take a big wheelie suitcase to the top of a cliff at night. The width of the case, its obvious weight, and the cemetery( 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 “hairs-breadth”, long and pitch-black, billows out in the underwater currents, as if it is alive again.
I worried 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 enormous, lonely allure of the South Island scenery played such a major part in the first series. But Campion wrings other kinds 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 sucking dramas currently on television ), has returned to Sydney to hurl herself into work and keep forgetting about everything that went down by the Kiwi lake. And also, 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, seeking 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 tie-in, in ToTL 2.0. Motherhood that has hitherto been denied but that they are able 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, more: who plays Robins daughter, Mary, when they do( of course) clear contact? Campions real-life daughter, Alice Englert.
Nicole Kidman, the big-name movie star, as Holly Hunter was in the first line, is fabulous and so very real as Marys adoptive mother: academic, ferociously inventive, infuriating, especially to her( accepted) daughter. Any kind of mother-daughter relation, it seems, is not an easy one.
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