Season two checks Jane Campion wring cinematic glamour from a sleazy Sydney cityscape, with Nicole Kidman meeting 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 such cases, 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 drop, and human hair, long and 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 grace of the South Island scenery played such a major part in the first sequence. But Campion wrings other kinds of elegance, still cinematic though, from a seedy Sydney cityscape.
Detective Robin Griffin( Elisabeth Moss, altogether mesmerising again, and now briefly overlapping herself as the lead in the two most sucking dramas currently on tv ), has returned to Sydney to hurl herself into work and to forget about all that is went down by the Kiwi lake. And also, maybe, because she has a teenage daughter here, a child she gave up at birth but whose word which reached only a few years ago, trying 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 relation, 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 hurting of missing out; non-biological motherhood, surrogate motherhood. Real-life motherhood, more: who plays Robins daughter, Mary, when they do( of course) shape contact? Campions real-life daughter, Alice Englert.
Nicole Kidman, the big-name movie star, as Holly Hunter was in the first sequence, is fabulous and so very real as Marys adoptive mother: academic, fiercely cunning, infuriating, especially to her( adopted) daughter. Any kind of mother-daughter affair, it seems, is not just a easy one.
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