Archive for June 26th, 2012


by Allan Fish

(UK 2004 352m) DVD2

The Las Vegas of the North

p  Kate Lewis  d  Coky Giedroyc, Julie Anne Robinson  w  Peter Bowker  ph  Lukas Strebel  ed  Anthony Combes, David Rees  m  Robert Lane  art  Grenville Horner

David Morrissey (Ripley Holden), Sarah Parish (Natalie Holden), David Tennant (DCI Peter Carlisle), Thomas Morrison (Danny Holden), Georgia Taylor (Shyanne Holden), Steve Pemberton, David Bradley, Bryan Dick, Kevin Doyle, Emily Aston,

We feared the worst when we heard the premise of Blackpool.  The idea of characters bursting into lip-synched song had been patented by Dennis Potter all those years ago, and one had to ask who could really aim to do it as well, let alone better.  Lars Von Trier’s Dancer in the Dark took it a step further by having a star in Björk who didn’t have to lip-synch, but Blackpool would revert to formula.  In actual fact, though, it wasn’t quite the same as Potter, for in Blackpool the actors do sing the songs, it’s just that they sing them low and are deliberately heard behind the original song (listen very carefully and you can tell).  It’s a showy show, a gaudy show, but also a dark tale of love and death on the Golden Mile.  It was the big unexpected hit of 2004.

Ripley Holden is a fortyish proprietor of an amusement arcade on the promenade who dreams of a casino hotel to rake in the punters, wanting to bring a touch of Las Vegas to Blackpool.  Problem is that he’s doing it on the never-never with the help of a shady accountant.  To complicate matters, just as planning permission is about to be granted, a body is found on his premises.  Normally his close friendship with one of the police chiefs would paper over that crack, but an outsider – a Scottish detective based in Kendal – is called in and he instantly sees Ripley as the guilty party.  If that wasn’t complicated enough, Ripley’s wife meets said detective, and they fall in love.  Oh, and then there’s Ripley’s two kids… (more…)

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