els bastards

Cry me a River

It has been a while since I got so emotional over the final episode of a TV series, and I am a sensitive soul who watches lots of shows. Yet, as I calmly sat on the sofa as the story of River came to an end, there was a scene that set me off. There's no point fighting what you can't control, so while I Love to Love by Tina Charles played in the background, I let myself go.

River is a British series of only six episodes created by Abi Morgan, who sticks out for two reasons when it comes to evaluating the quality of her work: the plot and the actors. Although the story might not seem that original, especially with such competition around, the programme makers have managed to bring together in a single season all of those details of British drama we love so much. On the one hand, there is the social criticism, in this case surrounding illegal immigration, and on the other, are family relationships focused on the dysfunctional families of the lower classes. It is as if it had been written by Ken Loach, but with the difference that the main plotline is an investigation into the murder of a police officer. Detective River, the dead officer's partner, is the investigator that never loses hope of resolving the case. The problem is that the more he investigates, the more surprises he uncovers. I have left out one detail, John River often has hallucinations, he sees dead people, whether people he knew or historical characters.

River is played by Stellan Skarsgard, who puts in an impressive performance and who, if there is any justice in the world, will have his role recognised in more than one award ceremony this year. The Swedish actor (Dogville, Thor, Mama Mia) has never before been given the chance in any series to show what he can do as a sole protagonist, and if we scan his curriculum we will see that his best roles were all as a supporting actor. At the age of 64, however, he now has the ideal professional maturity to be entirely convincing as an emotionally unstable detective who suffers from visions, has few social relationships, is coping with the effects of childhood traumas that are hard to control and who is now experiencing more trauma after the death of his partner. Moreover, there is perfect coordination with his dancing partner, Nicola Walker, who is 100% a TV actress and who can hypnotise the viewer with a single glance or smile.

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