Friday, October 29, 2010

Review: 'Red Riding' trilogy

To view this gritty, gripping series is to enter a devil's bargain: Watch and you'll never forget.

By KENNETH TURAN, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
February 12, 2010

The powerfully disturbing "Red Riding" trilogy will haunt you waking and sleeping, night and day. If you survive the watching of it, that is, which is no easy thing.

It's not the five-hours-plus length of this trio of devastatingly bleak modern British noir films that's daunting. Far from it. Strongly made by three different directors with three different crews but using scripts from the same writer and the same cast for its recurring characters, these films are put together with so much ability and skill that the time simply melts away.

Rather, the hard paradox of this project is that what makes these merciless films at times almost unbearable to watch also makes them frankly impossible to get out of your mind. Not only do they create a gritty, compelling world thick with the fetid air of venality, corruption and desperation, but they also periodically traffic in ghastly and horrific torture, sometimes shown, sometimes merely described, but always circling back to a series of sadistic, soul-destroying murders of women and little girls.

All this and more comes from a quartet of intense, chaotic novels by David Peace ("fictions torn from facts that illuminate the truth," he says) that in turn were inspired by events surrounding northern England's real-life Yorkshire Ripper murders.

While each book was initially supposed to get its own film, budget cuts at British TV giant Channel 4 meant that only three could be made. Each novel is named after a year, but when the film title comes up on-screen, the phrase "In the Year of Our Lord" is added, as if to ironically remind us that we are entering a world where godly behavior is going to be difficult to find.

Though the search for murderers is the engine of Tony Grisoni's driving scripts, that's not what the "Red Riding" films are about. With the meaning or even exactly what's happening in specific moments often intentionally unclear, these are unsettling, multi-layered investigations of character and society, described by the screenwriter as akin to "Dickens on bad acid." In this thoroughly corrupt society, no one is pure enough to cast the first stone, but the drive to end unspeakable evil is still a powerful one, even if it runs through fatally compromised individuals.

These intensely atmospheric pieces are set in Leeds and embedded root and branch in what the films present as the brutal culture of the North of England, where accents are hard to decipher, where the cold -- spiritual as well as physical -- gets in your bones and where the motto of the police is "This is the North, where we do what we want." The "Red Riding" title comes from the Ridings, a trio of administrative areas in Yorkshire, with the addition of red likely calling attention to the violence of the murders and the allusion to the fairy tale, reminding us that young girls were involved.

The first part, "1974," directed by Julian Jarrold, follows cocky and ambitious young Yorkshire Post crime reporter Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield) as he starts to suspect that the torture deaths of little girls over several years could be linked. His investigations lead him to surly chief detective Billy "The Badger" Molloy (Warren Clarke), powerful developer John Dawson ( Sean Bean), local vicar Martin Laws (Peter Mullan), mysterious rent boy BJ (Robert Sheehan) and the beautiful, haunted young widow Paula Garland (Rebecca Hall). But no good will come of it, no good at all.

Directed by James Marsh, the second part, "1980," involves a second series of murders, the ghastly Ripper attacks on women. The Home Office, worried about the pace of the Yorkshire Police investigation, sends in a key operative from Manchester, Peter Hunter (Paddy Considine), to try to figure out what's going on. He comes up against a resentful, resistant police culture, typified by the sadistic detective Bob Craven ( Sean Harris). "How deep does the rot go?" Hunter wonders. "Who stops it?"

Attempting to answer that question, the third part, Anand Tucker's "1983," follows two characters, solicitor John Piggott (Mark Addy) and top cop Maurice Jobson (David Morrissey), as they both are compelled against their better judgment and even their self-interest to staunch the flood of corruption, to attempt to get to the source of evil that always seems just out of reach.

Though there are differences in visual and directorial style in the three parts, on a first viewing at least they seem all of a piece, more united by themes, scripts and actors than divided by individual flourishes. The acting is exceptionally convincing and adds an air of verisimilitude. It's remarkable to find out that Hall, almost unrecognizable as a North Country Marilyn Monroe type, came directly from Woody Allen's fluffy "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" to this, which must have been the most mind-bending of transitions.

Though the sadism and torture laced throughout the "Red Riding" trilogy is only fitfully present, when it does arrive it is graphic and upsetting enough to make watching this exceptionally well-made series very much a devil's bargain. You take the risk and hope the price you pay is worth it. Which, given the agonizing subject matter, is perhaps just as it should be.


Red Riding Trilogy

March 10, 2010

"Red Riding Trilogy" is an immersive experience like "The Best of Youth," "Brideshead Revisited" or "Nicholas Nickleby." Over the course of 302 minutes, we sink into a virtual world: the corrupt police and establishment figures of West Yorkshire in England, at the time of the real-life "Yorkshire Ripper." Peter Sutcliffe, the Ripper, was convicted of killing 13 women, and may have killed more. The fictional Ripper here enjoys the same inexplicable immunity to police investigation.

This is the sort of undertaking the UK's Channel 4 excels at, and is approached in the United States only by ambitious cable TV series. The experience could give you the impression that the three parts were filmed at separate times. The visual style proceeds from 16mm to 35mm to high-def video, different actors play some of the characters at different times, and there are three directors, each with a distinctive style. But that was all part of Channel 4's plan, and the completed trilogy aired in March 2009.

A large cast of characters is involved in a complex series of events. Few viewers could be blamed for failing a test on what happens, and who (in addition to the Ripper) is guilty. Strict continuity is sidestepped to such a degree that some characters do not quite seem to remain dead. This is a way to reflect the shifting nature of reality in which there are many concealed motives, and the police version of events is fabricated entirely for their own convenience.

The police have their reasons, chillingly dramatized in a scene where conspirators drink a toast to "the North!" Yorkshire is in northern England, traditionally hostile to the South (London), but what does that have to do with a license for corruption? The toast is an example of the human willingness to excuse behavior by evoking meaningless abstractions (The South! The Young! Partytime! Der Fuehrer!) Where they are is irrelevant to what they do.

They are in a society that seems, to our North American eyes, clearly distinct from other parts of Britain. In some segments, the Yorkshire accents are so pronounced that Channel 4 wisely adds subtitles. We are inhabiting a subculture. In the early scenes, our attention is focused on an investigative reporter, new in town, Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield), who looks deeper into the murders, but is unlucky enough to get personally involved with a woman linked to a separate series of crimes. Their intimate scenes together are the closest the trilogy will come to human kindness.

Dunford is an unalloyed hero. Much of the rest of the story involves conspirators who plot among and against themselves. Any sense of objective morality is lacking. We get the sense that no one rises high in the police without knowing the rules and playing by them. They arrange for their own immunity.

There is a public outcry as the Ripper continues to kill and evade capture. It was the same in real life. Scotland Yard was brought in, represented indirectly here by a veteran cop named Peter Hunter (Paddy Considine). He makes little progress, largely because the officers he's working with have guilt to conceal and much to cover up.

Without revealing anything crucial, the reality is that the Ripper murders are invisibly connected to a police cover-up of a deadly real estate conspiracy, and if you pull a string from the Ripper, the whole ball of yarn of the larger conspiracy may unravel. A central figure becomes a vile chief of police, played by David Morrissey, who is so alarming that one searches the Web to discover he looks like a nice enough man in real life. The casting here and throughout is essential to the trilogy's effect.

All this time a mentally challenged suspect has been held as the alleged Ripper. He has even confessed, which after police interrogation in Yorkshire is a foregone conclusion. His guilt is convincingly challenged, which leads to a reopening of the case, as well it might, because the murders didn't stop with his imprisonment.

One wants to believe no police department in North America has even been as corrupt as this one from Yorkshire. That may not be true, but the chances of a television trilogy about it are slim. "Red Riding Trilogy" hammers at the dark souls of its villains until they crack open, and it is a fascinating sight. We're in so deep by the final third that there can hardly be a character whose hidden evil comes as a surprise: Can innocence exist in this environment?

The directors, who worked on their segments more or less simultaneously, have impressive credits that do not, however, suggest the different feels they bring to their segments. "Red Riding: 1974" is by Julian Jarrold, whose "Brideshead Revisited," "Becoming Jane" and "Kinky Boots" are all some distance from the immediacy of his 16mm film.

"Red Riding: 1980" is by James Marsh, whose documentaries "Man on Wire" and "Wisconsin Death Trip" don't suggest the 35mm feature feel of his segment. Anand Tucker ("Shopgirl," "Hilary and Jackie"), who directed "Red Riding 1983," is a specialist in clearly delineated ambiguity, at odds with the moral anarchy of his segment. I gather they were not hired to reproduce their strengths, but to find the right approach for this material.

I have given only the sketchiest of plot outlines here. The trilogy isn't so much about what happens objectively (which can sometimes be hard to determine), but about the world in which it takes place, a miasma of greed and evil. I have no idea whether the real Yorkshire police were led by monsters such as these. Someone must have thought so. Channel 4 aired these segments as they stand.

Men and Terror Run Wild

The New York Times
February 5, 2010
Andrew Garfield in "1974"

The blood that runs through the “Red Riding” trilogy — three movies based on four crime books by the British author David Peace — begins as a river that races and then rages until it floods this dank, dark, pitiless world in misery. By the time the third movie finishes, some half dozen young girls will have been murdered, along with more than a dozen women. Men will have died as well, tormented by other men wearing smiles and sneers, and wielding fists, drills, lighted cigarettes, the usual guns and even a rat that ends splattered against a wall.

That rat is a reminder that the first book in Mr. Peace’s “Red Riding” quartet, titled “Nineteen Seventy-Four,” is an explicit nod to George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and its infamous rodent of terror. The title of Mr. Peace’s book and the quartet as a whole — the other titles are “Nineteen Seventy-Seven,” “Nineteen Eighty” and “Nineteen Eighty-Three” — work as an obvious point of connection with that Orwell masterpiece, though there are more similarities, notably an enveloping sense of dread and a criminal gang that maintains its grip on the population through sadistic violence, all faithfully reproduced in the movies. Throw Irish hunger strikers and Thatcherism into the mix and set the whole thing in Yorkshire, the northern county birthplace of certain puddings and terriers and apparently endless horror. Stir.

The trilogy was adapted by Tony Grisoni, who has contributed to a few films by Terry Gilliam, including “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” and so has an acquaintance with excess. And the three movies, each directed by a different filmmaker for a combined 305 minutes, are nothing if not extreme: along with all the female corpses and the dead and wounded men, there are off-screen miscarriages, multiple instances of child abuse, intimations of incest, a firebombed house and several cremations, all shot from inside the chamber, no less, as if the camera were perched in the pyre. Shortly after the first film opens, the main character attends a wake. The second movie ends in a cemetery. There’s a wedding, but it looks like a downer.

Made for British television, the “Red Riding” trilogy is the latest in an estimable line of crime entertainments from across the pond, like the “Prime Suspect” cycle, with Helen Mirren as a supremely human detective, and the more recent mini-series “Five Days,” about a missing mother. The trilogy’s pulp-literary pedigree, one further buffed by several high-profile festival showings — last October it played in the New York Film Festival, where it was presented rather hopefully as “one of this year’s great cinematic events” — partly explains why it is being released in theaters in America. Starting on Friday, the movies will play back to back, with intermissions, for a week at the IFC Center in New York. Thereafter, they will be shown separately and also open elsewhere. (They’re already available on video on demand in some areas.)

Despite this unusual sendoff, the trilogy affords a fairly familiar immersion in contemporary British cinematic miserablism, where men and terror run wild, and beauty exists only in the cinematography and some of the performances. All else is horror. Certainly that’s true in the trilogy, which, starting with “Red Riding: 1974,” leaps into the void when a young Yorkshire journalist, Eddie Dunford (Andrew Garfield, not up to the leading-man task), realizes that the murder of a girl might be connected to a few earlier deaths, an insight that finds him first chasing after clues and then being chased in turn. The director Julian Jarrold shot the film in Super 16 millimeter, which gives the images atmospheric grit and swirling grain that, with the almost comically ubiquitous cigarette smoke, nicely thickens the air.

The second movie, “Red Riding: 1980,” glossed up with 35-millimeter film and directed by James Marsh with an elegant, self-conscious visual style at odds with the grunge milieu and desperate crimes — dead bodies are as attractively framed as some clouds reflected in a window — pivots on Peter Hunter (a solid Paddy Considine). An outsider brought into Yorkshire to conduct an internal review of the police investigation of the so-called (true life) Yorkshire Ripper murders, Hunter soon enough becomes the hunted. At the same time, a local detective, Maurice Jobson (David Morrissey), who appears in the background of the first movie, steps closer to the center, while a clergyman, Martin Laws (Peter Mullan), edges further into view. Both men become focal points in the final movie.

As the trilogy unwinds, the violence keeps the action hopping and you occasionally gagging, either in revulsion at its severity or at the tender, loving care with which it has been art directed. Meanwhile, some of the actors, notably Mark Addy, who plays a lawyer unkindly named Piggott in the third movie, and Rebecca Hall, who plays a grieving mother in the first, firmly hold your attention, which is striking, given that the story’s totalizing worldview doesn’t allow for much variation in human behavior. In a universe populated by victims and victimizers, there is screaming and shouting, but no joy, little laughter, barely any pleasure: when Piggott tells a joke, it proves more of a jolt than any death because it’s comparatively rare.

If the characters are generally deprived of life’s small and large pleasures, there is some enjoyment for the viewer, who can admire how different characters melt in and out of the trilogy, gaining and fading in importance, as supporting players in one movie become the star attractions in the next, and vice versa. A relatively minor player in the first film, for instance, a male hustler, B J (Robert Sheehan), steps forward in the second chapter only to jump into the spotlight in the third, becoming a force of change, an intermittent narrator and (weak) voice of conscience. Several members of the police force remain constants, including two professional sociopaths, Bob (an excellent, terrifying Sean Harris) and Tommy (Tony Mooney).

If you stick through to the end of the trilogy, you will be treated to further brutal displays, now in digital, as Anand Tucker, the director of the third movie, “Red Riding: 1983,” attempts to tie up the ragged ends through the combined efforts of B J, Maurice and Piggott, who each hurtle down to their own private hells via flurries of flashbacks. Although Mr. Tucker brings welcome warmth and unexpected humor to the series (thanks mainly to Mr. Addy), he stumbles badly when, after a teasing buildup, he reveals the marble-white body of a murdered girl who, while grossly disfigured, also looks as beautiful as a carved Della Robbia angel. The murderer has turned her ravaged body into an aesthetic exhibit, an assault Mr. Tucker mimics.

The “Red Riding” trilogy looks fine blown up on the big screen, though it’s easier to watch at home, where the remote offers fast relief from a grim fiction that, with its murky palette and unyielding cruelty, serves up a nihilistic vision that is unyielding, hermetic, unpersuasive and finally self-indulgent. What matters most in the books is Mr. Peace’s scatting prose and imaginative hijacking of real tragedies for his Grand Guignol fantasies, which brings to mind James Ellroy (“L.A. Confidential”), but danker and without the obvious glee that Mr. Ellroy takes in his own work. What matters in the movies are some of the performances and the slickly packaged sadism. Nothing else on screen is at stake, certainly not life or hope.

In 1940, a year after Britain declared war on Nazi Germany, Orwell wrote that ours was a “shrinking world” in which, the “ ‘democratic vistas’ have ended in barbed wire.” In the “Red Riding” movies that world has shrunk to the size of a pebble: it’s hard, unblemished by variation and very, very small. And the democratic vistas aren’t behind barbed wire: they’re nonexistent, which makes for entertaining nightmares but not dreams.

“There is less feeling of creation and growth,” Orwell continued, “less and less emphasis on the cradle, endlessly rocking, more and more emphasis on the teapot, endlessly stewing. To accept civilization as it is practically means accepting decay. It has ceased to be a strenuous attitude and become a passive attitude — even ‘decadent,’ if that word means anything.”

"Red Riding" is a trilogy of films commissioned by Channel 4, based on the novels by David Peace. Each film is directed by a different directors, (l to r) Julian Jarrold, Anand Tucker and James Marsh, photographed at the Covent Garden Hotel, London Photograph: Karen Robinson


Red Riding: 1974

Opens on Friday in Manhattan.

Directed by Julian Jarrold; written by Tony Grisoni, adapted from the novels by David Peace; director of photography, Rob Hardy; edited by Andrew Hulme; music by Adrian Johnston; production designer, Cristina Casali; produced by Andrew Eaton, Anita Overland and Wendy Brazington; released by IFC Films. At the IFC Center, 323 Avenue of the Americas, at Third Street, Greenwich Village. Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes. This film is not rated.

WITH: Sean Bean (John Dawson), Warren Clarke (Bill Molloy), Andrew Garfield (Eddie Dunford), David Morrissey (Maurice Jobson), Peter Mullan (Martin Laws), Robert Sheehan (B J), Sean Harris (Bob Craven), Tony Mooney (Tommy Douglas) and Rebecca Hall (Paula Garland).

Red Riding: 1980

Opens on Friday in Manhattan.

Directed by James Marsh; written by Tony Grisoni, adapted from the novels by David Peace; director of photography, Igor Martinovic; edited by Jinx Godfrey; music by Dickon Hinchliffe; production designer, Tomas Burton; produced by Andrew Eaton, Anita Overland and Wendy Brazington; released by IFC Films. At the IFC Center, 323 Avenue of the Americas, at Third Street, Greenwich Village. Running time: 1 hour 36 minutes. This film is not rated.

WITH: Paddy Considine (Peter Hunter), Maxine Peake (Helen Marshall), Andrew Garfield (Eddie Dunford), David Morrissey (Maurice Jobson), Tony Pitts (John Nolan), Peter Mullan (Martin Laws), Robert Sheehan (B J), Sean Harris (Bob Craven) and Tony Mooney (Tommy Douglas).

Red Riding: 1983

Opens on Friday in Manhattan.

Directed by Anand Tucker; written by Tony Grisoni, adapted from the novels by David Peace; director of photography, David Higgs; edited by Trevor Waite; music by Barrington Pheloung; production designer, Alison Dominitz; produced by Andrew Eaton, Anita Overland and Wendy Brazington; released by IFC Films. At the IFC Center, 323 Avenue of the Americas, at Third Street, Greenwich Village. Running time: 1 hour 44 minutes. This film is not rated.

WITH: Mark Addy (John Piggott), Andrew Garfield (Eddie Dunford), David Morrissey (Maurice Jobson), Peter Mullan (Martin Laws), Robert Sheehan (B J), Sean Harris (Bob Craven), and Tony Mooney (Tommy Douglas).


Giving Serial Killings Serial Treatment

The New York Times
January 31, 2010

Sean Bean in "1974"

“IT’S getting dead murky, isn’t it?” says a detective in the “Red Riding” crime trilogy, a voyage into the decaying heart of Northern England in the 1970s and ’80s. This adaptation of three novels of the four-book series by the Yorkshire-born writer David Peace is an ambitious endeavor: it is shot by three directors, shares characters (though the protagonists shift) and mingles invention and fact. Like David Fincher’s 2007 serial-killer drama “Zodiac,” the “Red Riding” films are more about capturing an era than solving a mystery.

“Certain crimes allow you to examine a particular time and place,” Mr. Peace said when reached by telephone in West Yorkshire. He was speaking of the Yorkshire Ripper murders, in which a man named Peter Sutcliffe was jailed in 1981 for the deaths of 13 women over five years in Yorkshire and neighboring counties and whose crimes inspire the atmosphere and the events in Mr. Peace’s books and their three-part adaptation.

“What I was trying to figure out,” Mr. Peace continued, “was why did this happen here, and was there something in the way we behaved that made us somehow culpable? Or were we very unfortunate, that here was this evil man?”

The “Red Riding” trilogy, which opens Friday at the IFC Center but had its premiere last March on British television, conjures life in a benighted world of corrupt police and missing children, of weird secrets and guilt-ridden romance.

Eddie Dunford, the brash, callow reporter played by Andrew Garfield in the first of the three films, “Red Riding: 1974,” is only the first to question the established disorder. In the second, “Red Riding: 1980,” a detective (Paddy Considine) from Manchester is assigned to review the Ripper investigation, while “1983” tracks a feckless lawyer (Mark Addy) and a wavering cop (David Morrissey) in the aftermath.

The hellish experiences of these four characters are rendered through an unusual experiment in comparative style: each picture had its own director. Julian Jarrold, who shot “1974” on Super 16, creates a twisted noir and fuguelike atmosphere to depict Dunford’s investigation and doomed romance with a victim’s mother (Rebecca Hall).

On the telephone from London Mr. Jarrold, who also adapted “Brideshead Revisited” and “Crime and Punishment,” said that for one shot he told his director of photography “to come back with a ‘Lost Highway’ shot,” referring to David Lynch’s twisted and textured 1997 film.

Shot in Leeds, “1974” and its follow-ups delve into the notoriety of “the North” against a backdrop of block houses, humble sitting rooms, nuclear power plants, offices and pubs. The Northern creed and manner — tough and often humorously blunt — are epitomized in the films by the police and their allies. (According to the films’ screenwriter, Tony Grisoni, it’s all analogous to “what Jacobean English dramatists thought of Sicily.”)

The casts’ British stalwarts include Warren Clarke (once a droog in “A Clockwork Orange”) as a stonewalling police chief, Sean Bean as a cocksure developer, and Mr. Morrissey (who played Gordon Brown in “The Deal”).

“In Northern England it was quite grim, quite hard,” said Mr. Morrissey, who grew up in Liverpool in the ’70s. “There was a very white, working-class male world, which was very insular, and it was a very violent place.”

Mr. Morrissey, who stars in “1983” but appears in all three films, recalled the specter that seemed to hang over those years: “There was a sense that one world was closing and the other one was not ready to open.”

Because of budgetary restraints (all three films were done for a lean $9 million), the book that deals most directly with the Ripper, “Nineteen Seventy-Seven” was not filmed. But the haunting presence of the crimes feeds into the dread of “Red Riding: 1980,” which focuses on Peter Hunter (Mr. Considine), a Manchester detective who is investigating the local handling of the case. A creeping paranoia becomes the film’s dominant mood as Hunter’s inquiry is thwarted through misdirection and violence; meager solace comes from a wistful affair with a colleague.

Seeking to offset the nebulous threats working against the protagonist, the director, James Marsh, chose a clean, wide-screen look for this involuted middle story, shooting on 35 millimeter.

“I felt that Peter’s character was a very straight arrow, and I wanted the film to be really clear,” Mr. Marsh said in an interview in Manhattan.

Mr. Marsh is best known for the Oscar-winning documentary “Man on Wire,” but he also made “Wisconsin Death Trip,” which examined a Midwest town struck by myriad tragedies at the end of the 19th century. His “Red Riding” opens with an audiovisual overture of actual and fabricated radio and television reports of the crimes combined with recreated photos of victims.

(Mr. Peace, 43, who came of age at the height of the investigation into the Yorkshire murders, recalls the efforts to solicit the help of ordinary citizens: “They set up temporary sheds in every bus station where you could go in and listen to tape recordings of what they thought was the Ripper’s voice.”)

The unsolved killings in “Red Riding” and the portrait of Northern masculinity, brutality and corruption suggest a terrible sins-of-the-father burden borne by a beleaguered society. The full scope of the institutional rot always seems just out of reach, as if — in Mr. Grisoni words — “you’re seeing a tiny fraction, in the same way a child would.”

For the conclusion of the grim saga, “1983,” its director, Anand Tucker, used a Red One digital camera and introduces golden sunshine and a lighter touch. But horrific secrets still emerge in this story about a struggling lawyer (Mr. Addy) and a police officer (Mr. Morrissey), who grows shocked by the unsavory sides of his colleague’s extracurricular endeavors.

“I wanted an anti-noir, a light noir,” said Mr. Tucker, who made the homicide-free “Shopgirl” and “Leap Year.” “It’s two characters struggling to find the light, to find some hope or redemption.”

Taken together these varied visual formats and the ambitious historical canvas lend a cinematic scope that belies the trilogy’s original broadcast in three installments on Channel 4 in Britain. Andrew Eaton, its producer for Revolution Films, confirmed in an interview that theatrical distribution was always their ambition. For the American release IFC Films plans, at least initially, to release all 305 minutes of the films as “Red Riding: Special Roadshow Edition” with two intermissions, though they will also be available individually through video-on-demand.

The trilogy has already found interest from the director Ridley Scott for an American remake, which sounds like an unusual bit of cultural transposition until you learn that Mr. Peace himself wrote the source novels while abroad. From 1994 until recently he lived in Japan and taught English while writing.

Some inspiration for his “Red Riding” quartet came from the case of child killer Tsutomu Miyazaki, who was sentenced in 1997 and later executed for a series of grotesque murders, and Mr. Peace also recalls going to “Se7en” and “Zodiac” during his stay. It was also in Japan that he wrote other North-set novels, including “The Damned United” (which was adapted for film last fall) and “GB84” (awaiting production).

“I wrote six books, all about West Yorkshire,” Mr. Peace said, who has since returned to his storied hometown to be close to family. “It must have been a kind of homesickness. Although the West Yorkshire tourist board are not as proud of the Red Riding books.”

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