“‘This is the North—we do what we want.’ These defiantly jocular words are spoken by a policeman as he throws a young reporter out the back of a van. The scene takes place in ‘Red Riding: 1974,’ the first in a series of films, ‘The Red Riding Trilogy,’ made last year for British television’s Channel 4, and now released in theatres as a mammoth, sensationally violent and beautiful five-hour movie. (The trilogy is also available on cable, as a video on demand under the rubric ‘IFC in Theaters’) The North in the policeman’s boast is West Yorkshire—the city of Leeds, mostly, but also featureless pale-green moors and, among them, small, rubbly towns with dead-looking brown houses. ‘The Red Riding Trilogy’ is based on a quartet of books written by the British noir specialist David Peace, who, starting in 1999, fictionalized some of England’s most notorious recent crimes. Elements of the following find their way into the movie: the ‘Moors murders,’ of five children, between July, 1963, and October, 1965; the murder of thirteen women by Peter William Sutcliffe, known as the Yorkshire Ripper, between 1975 and 1980; and a miscarriage of justice that saw Stefan Kiszko, a twenty-six-year-old tax clerk from Rochdale, serve sixteen years for a 1975 murder that he did not commit. Believe it or not, the series is an entertainment.”
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