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Top Of The Lake DVD Review

Top of the Lake DVD

“Top of the Lake” is an overrated TV mini-series.

Over the course of six 60 minute episodes, writers Jane Campion (“The Piano”) and Gerard Lee craft a complex mystery involving a 12 year old pregnant girl (Tui) who later goes missing in Laketop, New Zealand. In order to find out what happened, a Sydney based Detective (Robin Griffin) is called upon to return home to NZ to investigate this crime. Who impregnated/raped Tui? Who kidnapped her? Are the Mitcham crime family somehow responsible? How do GJ (a spiritual leader) and her followers play into the story? Is Detective Parker a legitimate cop? What happened in Robin’s past? Why did Tui try to drown herself? These are but a few questions raised in this intricate, sprawling mystery mini-series.

Under the watchful eyes of directors Jane Campion and Garth Davis, “Top of the Lake” should have been a top of the line detective/mystery series. Sadly, it just feels like a standard crime drama with a payoff that is not worth the long time investment.

While no one can’t deny that the series tackles a lot of important topics such as rape, crime, the dark side of humanity, and corruption, these ideas are lost amidst a story that is let down by the writing. Between the deliberately slow pacing and some frustratingly vague story moments to the often overly poetic scenes and the increasingly over-the-top scripted horrors, this ensemble mystery makes one yearn for an original show such as Twin Peaks” (which “Top of the Lake” certainly owes a lot to).

On the plus side, the series does boast some fine performances by veteran actors such as Peter Mullan, David Wenham (best known as Faramir in the latter two “Lord of the Rings” films), and Holly Hunter (who gives a truly unique performance). The only cast member who feels out of place here is “Mad Men” actress Elizabeth Moss. Her performance is not strong enough to carry the show and she’s entirely miscast as a New Zealander.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: Widescreen. How does it look? Picturesque. With that said, I’m surprised this didn’t receive a Blu-ray release.

Audio Track: Dolby Digital 5.1. How does it sound? The track hits all the right notes.

Extras include “Orphan Black” and “One Life” trailers.

Overall Thoughts: I’m not sure why “Top of the Lake” was showered with awards and accolades, but evidently some folks out there dig this ambitious mini-series. Personally, I’d recommend watching something far more out there like the aforementioned “Twin Peaks.”

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July 19, 2014 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , ,

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