Author Topic: Sundance Channel: Top of the Lake  (Read 7752 times)

ses

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Re: Sundance Channel: Top of the Lake
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2013, 01:44:26 AM »
I just set up my DVR to record all 7 episodes this week.
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oneaprilday

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Re: Sundance Channel: Top of the Lake
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2013, 12:08:56 PM »
I'm really looking forward to hearing what you think. (And I hope we can make this a spoilers thread at some point - I'd love to talk details.) It's such an odd show, taking the tropes and cliches of a crime drama and using some of them but also ignoring altogether - delightfully so, I think - certain other beats we'd expect for such a genre. It wasn't difficult to figure out a lot of the mystery and the whodunit, but I don't think the show is primarily interested in hooking us into the mystery - that's just a vehicle, though effective enough in itself. Like In the Cut, I think it's more about tone, and developing a sense of the community and the characters, as well as certain themes. And while there's a plot resolution (this is no The Killing), there's also a lack of resolution - particularly emotional resolution - for certain characters that I love. I'm left - because of that lack - continuing to be invested in what I've watched over the past weeks. Gonna rewatch all the episodes back to back soon and see how it replays; now that I know the plot details, I'd like to see what else I notice, what other connections and ideas I can trace.

Verite

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Re: Sundance Channel: Top of the Lake
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2013, 07:40:30 PM »
And while there's a plot resolution (this is no The Killing), there's also a lack of resolution - particularly emotional resolution - for certain characters that I love. I'm left - because of that lack - continuing to be invested in what I've watched over the past weeks.

Kind of related: one of the things I dig the most was that each episode's ending (exception: the last episode) felt kind of abrupt.  I haven't gone back to look at them but it seems like each one was a direct cut to the closing credits with Tui's pic on Robin's wall (no fade to black before the credits).  That may not be how they ended but that's how they are in my memory.  But most importantly - whether direct cut or fade out - when the final scenes ended felt kind of abrupt.  For me, this adds up, and contributes to the lack of resolution you mention.

That Robin and Tui are (may be?) half-sisters reminds me of the relationship in In the Cut, and both films have trauma bonding the sisters which is a part of the look at dysfunctional families....which is something that Top of the Lake shares not just with In the Cut but with A Girl's Own Story and Sweetie as well.  Campion and Lee extend the reach, and here, a whole community is dysfunctional (with some corrupt people carrying out heinous acts).  "Family" is also expanded/destroyed.  And in the beginning, the GJ/New Age stuff was the clearest connection to Campion's past work-- Sweetie and Holy Smoke.

It was really great seeing Tui smiling and having fun when her friends visited her.  I really hope Jacqueline Joe continues to act.  Her nonverbal acting is soooooo great.

A really dark, disturbing work.  There are things from episodes 5 & 7 that I won't be able to shake off for a while.  But it's Campion & Lee so there's funny stuff as well.  My favorite: "What are these crazy b*****s doing?" and the shot of the albino looking one laughing.   

Quality stuff.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 07:50:50 PM by Verite »
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Verite

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Re: Sundance Channel: Top of the Lake
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2013, 07:46:38 PM »
"There is no match for the tremendous intelligence of the body."

What a line to say to Robin at that moment.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 08:04:17 PM by Verite »
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oneaprilday

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Re: Sundance Channel: Top of the Lake
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2013, 10:47:48 AM »

Kind of related: one of the things I dig the most was that each episode's ending (exception: the last episode) felt kind of abrupt.  I haven't gone back to look at them but it seems like each one was a direct cut to the closing credits with Tui's pic on Robin's wall (no fade to black before the credits).  That may not be how they ended but that's how they are in my memory.  But most importantly - whether direct cut or fade out - when the final scenes ended felt kind of abrupt.  For me, this adds up, and contributes to the lack of resolution you mention.
Great point, yes, that final closing credit shot as well as the opening sequence took on more and more resonance as the show went on, and the images from both really linger. The opening sequence puzzled me at first - so almost amatuerish feeling or something, so not slick - but I do love it now. It captures the quality of the show.  So the opening and closing - just perfect bookends that don't really offer closure or "ends" at all.


That Robin and Tui are (may be?) half-sisters reminds me of the relationship in In the Cut, and both films have trauma bonding the sisters which is a part of the look at dysfunctional families....which is something that Top of the Lake shares not just with In the Cut but with A Girl's Own Story and Sweetie as well.  Campion and Lee extend the reach, and here, a whole community is dysfunctional (with some corrupt people carrying out heinous acts).  "Family" is also expanded/destroyed.  And in the beginning, the GJ/New Age stuff was the clearest connection to Campion's past work-- Sweetie and Holy Smoke.
Yes, I've been thinking about that, too, and Campion's interest here and in so many of her films in the simultaneous closeness and dysfunction of family relationships, especially sisters and mother/daughters. The whole GJ group of women echoes those relationships, too, of course. I loved the increasing depth of the connection between Tui and Robin, and I loved the relationship between Robin and her mother, too, troubled at the root but inextricably bound to one another. I'm thinking of the roots of the tree symbolism in Sweetie - something that both supports and destroys.


It was really great seeing Tui smiling and having fun when her friends visited her.  I really hope Jacqueline Joe continues to act.  Her nonverbal acting is soooooo great.
Yes, so fantastic, right? Loved her. That moment of protectiveness at the end should be so campy, but it's not; it so perfectly captured her feral pain and passion.


  But it's Campion & Lee so there's funny stuff as well.  My favorite: "What are these crazy b*****s doing?" and the shot of the albino looking one laughing.   
:D Loved that, too. Campion's definitely - even on her own - got a sense of humor that I think people tend to miss. She can be deadly serious and deadly funny - in the same moment or with the same line. The Bunny and Matt romp has something of that paradox in it, for example.


ses

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Re: Sundance Channel: Top of the Lake
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2013, 01:02:20 AM »
Just saw that it is on Netfilix Instant.
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Bondo

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Re: Sundance Channel: Top of the Lake
« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2013, 12:18:07 AM »
After about a million and a half shows recently where I watched one or maybe two episodes and chucked them aside, I plowed right through this. I've been a critic of Campion in the past, saying her films (Angel, Piano and Bright Star) felt a bit too closed off emotionally. Earlier in the thread there was a suggestion that her influence wasn't felt heavily enough but for me that sense is a positive as I felt the emotionality of the characters way more than I have in her films.

As a series, there were plenty of things that didn't quite add up or feel fleshed out enough such as GJ's camp or the baristas reveal at the end but the primary plot worked pretty well and there was just a lot of great moments and broad ideas in the show. Like, as much as I don't think GJ's camp really had plot payoff, its representation as in some ways a safe space (though still under some menace) for women harmed in varying ways by men fed into the broader show's focus on the victimization of women (and some men) at the hands of brutal men. It is a refuge for the viewer, knowing that the scenes there can be a bit of a break from the often challenging scenes elsewhere.

I really loved the scene where the woman walks into the bar, slams down money and makes an open offer for sex. Such an interesting turnabout on traditional gender dynamics in sex.

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Re: Sundance Channel: Top of the Lake
« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2013, 05:27:26 AM »
Just finished watching the last four eps.  Did the rainforest scenes, esp'ly the kids' party scene,  remind anyone of Picnic at Hanging Rock?  Also, did it leave a doubt that Matt was the father of the child?  I mean, Al lied about a lot of stuff.   
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Re: Sundance Channel: Top of the Lake
« Reply #28 on: May 01, 2013, 12:18:34 PM »
Oh, interesting parallel to Picnic - I like it! Picnic has a dreamy, surreal quality, and here, Campion offers a much earthier, grittier tone - but the young characters out in the natural setting, their lives a mixture of innocence and the loss of innocence, a mixture of knowing-ness and naivete - all undergirded with uneasy threat - make the film and show thematically similar.

And yeah, I think there's definitely doubt about the paternity. And speaking of Al, I didn't trust him from the beginning, did you? Too smooth and too weirdly interested in Robin, and his way too nice house clinched the "something rotten" vibe. But still, I liked how it played out, and Al is still a little more complex that just plain "creep." I think, in a twisted way, perhaps he saw some sort of redemption for himself in Robin.

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Re: Sundance Channel: Top of the Lake
« Reply #29 on: May 01, 2013, 12:53:21 PM »
Just finished this. Thought it was just alright, nothing spectacular. It had me interested enough to find out the conclusion though. I'll try and make the effort to go back and read everyone's posts and see what y'all think/thought.
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