Category Archives: David Peace

The Red Riding trilogy: David Peace’s Northern England nightmare

Seldom does the nuance and grit of hard-boiled and noir crime fiction translate to the screen. A brilliant exception is the movie adaptations of English writer David Peace’s Red Riding Quartet of books.

Tony Crisoni – who has very few credits of note under his belt with the exception of the screenplay for the 1998 version of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – has taken Peace’s dense, multi-layered alternative history of murder and police corruption in northern England in the seventies and early eighties, and delivered three disturbing and gripping movies. A feat that is all the more amazing given they were made for TV in the UK.

The first film, 1974, follows cocky young reporter Eddie Dunford as he attempts to prize open the mystery surrounding the unsolved murders of a number of young girls, the latest of whom has just been found sexually abused and with swan’s wings stitched to her back.

In the course of his investigation he comes into contact with John Dawson, a local businessman embroiled in a corrupt relationship with the police, and BJ, an elusive male prostitute. He also becomes sexually involved with the despondent mother of one of the missing girls. In the face of escalating threats, Dunford continues his efforts to find the truth with horrendous consequences.… Read more