The Fall - on DVD and Blu-ray

Monday, 17 June 2013 00:00
Posted in TV DVDs
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The Fall - available now on Blu-ray and DVDThe Fall is a fascinating detailed and decidedly creepy series about a serial killer and the police detective tasked with hunting him down. Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, “The Last King of Scotland”) plays DSI Stella Gibson, whose secondment from the Met to Belfast ruffles a few feathers. Jamie Dornan (Once Upon a Time) co-stars as Paul Spector, by day a marriage guidance counsellor and married father of two, and by night a chilling murderer.

Gibson quickly realises that the stagnating murder case she has been drafted in to help with is in fact the work of a serial killer with the same modus operandi. The murderer has a penchant for attractive, professional brunettes who typically live on their own. He plans the act meticulously and visits the scene the day before. The victims are strangled in a ritualistic manner, after which the killer is careful to leave the scene spotless.

At the time of writing, the fifth and final episode of season one has just aired on BBC2, and the show’s impressive critical and ratings success has already lead to a second series being commissioned. It is easy to see why.

Probably the strongest aspect of the story is the characterisation of Gibson and Spector, people who are on opposite sides of the law but have more in common than they could ever imagine. Gibson is a bit of an ice maiden – ultra cool, deeply intelligent, career-driven and lacking in emotional warmth; she is quite capable of spitting male conquests out after a one night stand. She is so dedicated to the job that she sleeps on a camp bed in her office as often as she does in her insipid hotel room.

Spector is an utterly intriguing dichotomy. He is a delicate and loving father, especially to his young kids, but on the flipside he becomes a physically powerful and unflinching killer who removes his black balaclava before the act whilst maintaining a stern, glowering mask on his face as his hands wrap fatefully around his quarry’s throat.

The more peripheral characters play key parts in fleshing out the story and the environment in which it takes place. The echoes of the ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland are very evident, and the persistent threat of sectarian violence lingers, in the background, to add to an already edgy atmosphere. A sub-plot about police corruption is the icing on a sublime cake.

Other actors involved in the series include John Lynch (“Sliding Doors”, Merlin) as Gibson’s boss, Niamh McGrady (Holby City) as a smart police woman, Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife) as a pathologist who strikes up possibly the closest approximation of a friendship with the otherwise icy Gibson, and Bronagh Waugh (Hollyoaks) as Spector’s unsuspecting wife Sally, a neonatal nurse.

My only, minor reservation is about how the series ends, but then with a second series in the making one cannot really blame the writer (Allan Cubitt – Prime Suspect 2, Murphy’s Law) for handling it in the way he does. I will definitely be tuning in when it returns to our schedules in 2014.

The Blu-ray version is beautifully crisp and displays impressively fine levels of detail. There are lots of dark scenes in the series, but it is always clear what is going on.

Special features include:

  • Behind the scenes featurette
  • Filmographies (text)
  • Stills Gallery

 

The featurette is short and sweet, briefly charting the two-and-a-half year path of the project to the screen. It is worth watching, not least for Gillian Anderson’s admission that she would be a terrible detective in real life owing to her poor memory!

The Fall (2013) is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, courtesy of Acorn Media. The two-disc set has a running time of 293 minutes approx, carries a ‘15’ certificate and retails for £19.99 on DVD and £25.99 on Blu-ray, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Thursday, 20 June 2013 16:50

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