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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Top of the Lake: The Best Kept Secret on Netflix

I don't know where it came from or when it got here, but after stumbling over this gem of a miniseries I am now honestly afraid to cancel my account ever again. Because after over twenty years there is finally( finally) a worthy successor to twin peaks, with Elizabeth Moss and the New Zealand wilderness as its stars.

Moss plays a detective brought in on a case involving a suicidal twelve year old girl and her eventual disappearance. Rote stuff on paper but the script, setting, and casting will make it so even the most bitter cynic will at least give the first couple episodes a shot. Because besides Kenneth Branagh's “Wallander”(also worth your time) there is really nothing else out there quite like it...and buddy this show is out there.

Note the fuzzy Chihuahua.
From the gleefully sexist local police station to the (kiwi neck?) meth cooking mini mafia as well as the battered woman’s naturist commune TOL has a riveting revolving door of sets and locations to the point where even if one gets on your nerves there’s another that’s worth sitting around for. There isn't a weak link in the cast and the brass ring of the leads are award worthy.

Really, if all I had was Peter Mullan I probably would have finished the series out of spite, because Mullan is honestly one of the best villain actors out there right now. But no, I also got Moss who not only nails the Australian accent, but gives the best damn performance of her career. After ten minutes of watching her play Det. Griffen I had all but forgotten about Peggy Olson. As a long time admirer of Mad Men, that was no small feat I assure you.

While the ins and outs of the ancillary conflicts of Laketop are interesting at first, when the case hits the doldrums around the middle of the third episode it hits them hard. It's not that I don't want to know why a bunch of middle aged women are living in shipping containers in the middle of a field, its just that I’d much rather know what happened to Tui and whether or not she's still alive. It's not a dip in quality...well it kinda is, but it remains very well acted and scripted. But it does turn into a soap opera for a good two and a half hours.

But you won't care once the finale revs up. It saves just enough little twists for the end to keep the average viewer entertained and rewards the more hard boiled police procedural veterans like me. So to sum things up, this a fantastic little miniseries for any one looking to scratch that creepy small town itch and for mystery lovers in general. Check it out.

P.S. There is a ton of middle aged nudity and sex. So now you know that.

Recommended Viewing

  Peter Mullan:

The Red Riding Trilogy

Session 9



Elizabeth Moss:

The West Wing
 Mad Men...obviously.

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