"Cracker", 1993

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Belle
Posts: 1391
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

"Cracker", 1993

Post by Belle » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:31 am

There are many episodes of this fabulous series available on U-Tube. I've mentioned the series in another thread. Robbie Coltrane is fabulous as, in fact, is the entire cast.

A great actor is like a well-tuned musical instrument; he or she uses the voice, modulating to the ebb and flow of the lines to suit the context and the emotions. Coltrane is one such actor. Easily one of the greats. There is plenty of humour in this series and bucket-loads of irony and complexity. As the wife of a difficult "Fitz" says, "Other men have made offers, but all of it was wasted because nobody has got a 10th of this (pointing to his head) or a 20th of that (pointing to his heart)".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2NYdrN ... Bq&index=4

Belle
Posts: 1391
Joined: Tue Mar 17, 2015 10:45 am

Re: "Cracker", 1993

Post by Belle » Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:14 pm

I've re-watched a few episodes of this splendid series since posting those original comments a few days ago and will make some observations:

"Fitz" is a forensic psychologist who is more akin to a Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammet gumshoe; he is always wearing the same clothes and never seems to change; he has addictions and weaknesses as do many of Chandler's noir characters; he makes the smart and fast one-liners in a cynical, street-wise way - similar to those of Sam Spade in Hammet's "Maltese Falcon" and other noir characters of the mean streets.

But "Cracker" has a distinctly modern edge, with "Fitz" making comments more familiar with the 'culture wars' than with the hard-boiled, socially isolated crime solver - though he adopts those familiar traits too as he gradually becomes more excluded from family and 'polite' society. The gumshoe exists essentially in the grimy, semi-lit streets of perfidy, violence and perversion. The toxic conspires with the malevolent to create the impression that this is all there is to the city, which is a similar aesthetic found in film noir - a genre which arose out of the rapid urbanization of the USA towards the end of Prohibition. Writer McGovern is showing us a modern version of the Dickens tales of sleazy 19th century England; instead of the dust-heaps of London and the 'miasma' of the sewers this time it's the council housing estates and endless rows of anonymous, semi-detached houses of inner cities. A flip of Carla Lane's "Bread" with its humanity, humour and family values overlaying delusion, insouciance and welfare-dependency.

There is humour in this, too, though it's accidental and borne of cynicism instead of played for laughs. My only criticism of "Cracker" is that, like too many successful series that came before and which want to continue, it turns in on itself in the search for a new angle when one of the characters in the police unit become involved in a crime against a female officer. That doesn't work; not even to imply that if you spend your life around corruption it will eventually become part of your own soul -which I'm sure it does.

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