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The performances are consistently vivid, the violence, focus and style intense and elevated by a perfect balance of near-journalistic remove, impressionism and fully-earned emotional heft. Trust us, it's worth your time.
They gave an amazing cast the means to connect viscerally with audiences and allow the raw emotion of the story to do the work, all the way to its bleakly resigned close.
Southcliffe was an exercise in poise and pacing, skipping backwards and forwards in time, ramping up tension as we moved inexorably towards the dire outcome.
It might not be the cheeriest TV, but as far as bleakness goes, this is rare and brilliant Sunday-night viewing.
The consistently excellent and emotionally forceful performances aside, perhaps Durkin's greatest achievement here is a magnificently doomy sense of place.
Southcliffe is plainly reaching for the nuanced, novelistic, noir-ish heights of multicharacter dramas like The Killing or The Wire.
In all it's a tragic waste of an astoundingly powerful beginning that simply didn't know when or how to stop.
Southcliffe is the best British programme I have seen in a long time, it is daring, dark and artistic in a way that many writers would fear to replicate or even endure for their screenplays.
It's 50 minutes of harrowing television. Brilliant television, but harrowing. Not one to watch if you're having a bad day.
Southcliffe's only redeeming story element came in its closing scenes, when that doomed hand-over appeared to have been averted. Scant consolation, strong drama.
While Southcliffe's execution...is easy to admire, its value is less clear. Perhaps witnessing suffering at those levels is medicinal and cathartic, a cleansing grief enema. Perhaps not. Either way, it's not an experience I'm in any rush to repeat.
Audience Reviews for Southcliffe: Miniseries
Sep 02, 2017A bereft husband walks along the bank of a river until he comes to his wife curled on the ground, crying for their deceased daughter. He doesn't run to his wife. Instead, he only picks up his pace slightly as he takes off his coat and puts it over her crumpled body. He helps her up and looks over the marsh as a gentle wind blows the reedy grasses haphazardly about. "I'll take you home," he says. "Okay? I'll take you home." The husband's gesture is rooted in futility and pain, beauty and kindness. As Thomas Wolfe once wrote, "You can never go home again." This is particularly true when you live in Southcliffe--a quaint but provincial town set in gloomy, fictional England. A lone gunman has gone on a killing spree, murdering a number of community members without ceremony or fanfare. One neighbor is working in her garden. There are no witness to her murder. Only a single bullet from afar. The husband and wife crying along the river bank are just two more of town's victim-survivors, grappling to come to terms with what's left of their life. The mass shooting and the murder of their daughter took place more than a year ago when the scene is presented. You can never go home again. This is how the four-part miniseries unwinds for its viewers. It is a slow and patient drama that jumps from past to present and back again. It is a masterpiece of pace and elliptical pauses. The acting is heart-wrenching and brilliant. The script soars with unadorned language in which some of the most vicious and touching lines unfold in the spaces between words. For T.V. Journalist David Whithead (Rory Kinear), who has been sent back to his hometown to cover the unfolding tragedy, Thomas Wolfe's famous quote means something entirely different. As a boy growing up in Southcliffe, he was routinely bullied by the townsfolk in the wake of his father's sudden and unexpected death. He knows Southcliffe to a brutal and unforgiving place wrapped in the niceties of dishonesty and pretense. Yet, at the command of his manager, return he must. In the year that follows, we watch him--and several others in the community--struggle with the tragedy's psycho-emotional aftermath: Were the shootings really random? Did we, as a community, do something to deserve them? The husband's gesture to take his wife back to their home is beautiful and kind--not because things are going to be any better when they walk through the front door--but rather because the husband is committed to suffering eternally with his wife and the town of Southcliffe.
Aug 22, 2017Brilliant performances completed undermined by terrible writing and the worst production sound mixing I've ever heard.