Thursday, 6 December 2012
Wow. Just Wow. That sums up my response to the new channel Four series The Fear a stomping new crime thriller with a difference.
Richie is a gangster who's been the unchallenged top dog of his town for 15 years and his violent days are behind him. He's got all of the local politicians, police, and officials in his pocket and the cover of respectability to gloss over his gangster past.
He's also got two soft and stupid sons who use his name in vain when dealing with organised sex traffickers from Albania who don't like being used. Promises are made in Richie's name and the Albanians want what they are promised.
When the sons fail to deliver, they take what they feel they are owed and Richie's peaceful new world is blown into oblivion. He's the sort of man that would usually have nipped such a threat in the bud with swift, untraceable violence. But he has a problem. Dementia is eating his brain, he's slipping back into the dark days of his past, he forgets where he is, who he's with, what he's done, and he's unaware of the danger his empire is in and how far his mind is lost.
At the point where he can deal with them and hope to salvage something, his mind goes off on a tangent and any plan for peace goes horribly wrong. Once his condition becomes apparent to the family, his sons are out for themselves. They have always used Daddy's name as a shield but now they have to stand on their own two feet.
The cool and business headed son has been beaten and raped by the gang into submission and compliance and the other is so far off his head on coke he just reacts like an idiot, doesn't think, and has now put the whole family in future danger with nothing to protect them.
Peter Mullan is excellent in the role. Despite his criminal past, you feel for him and his situation. He is like a monster one minute when he beats up one of his sons, and like a frightened child the next in his wife's arms as he begs for help in understanding what is happening to him.
The last episode is on this evening at 10pm. I'm expecting a great climax to the story but I hope like the last Channel Four series that I enjoyed so much Secret State it doesn't have the same disappointing ending.
I expected a better finale following the authentic feel of that political thriller but the fourth episode trailed off into fantasy land as it came hurriedly to an end which could have been handled much better.
I am not expecting to be disappointed by The Fear's ending. It certainly has far less to resolve than Secret State's convoluted plot and in some ways we already know that Richie's life is hanging by a thread. The slow moving bullet heading his way in the very first opening scene gives an indication of how he is going to end up. I suppose it just depends on who is behind the gun that fired it.