Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1983

(This review covers all three parts.)

This is BJ's story. So why isn't BJ the main character? In part, it's to maintain the mystery til the end, which effectively illustrates how this kind of corruption and violence could be masked and covered up by letting the audience experience the cover up unfold. But in no small part, it's because British television is bourgeois media that refuses to center a gay sex worker in their stories, even if those stories are about how corrupt and horrible their own servants are. No matter how progressive these films might pretend to be in their (mostly fictional) expose of police-petty bourgeois-religious corruption, the medium speaks louder than the message.

Over the course of the three films, we are shown how the system eats up those who try to "fix" it. We are shown that pedophilia is a weapon of the corrupt and powerful over the weak. We are shown how racism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism are married to the system's self-defense mechanisms, how the cover up is enabled, how ruthless it all is. But we are shown it through the eyes of naive agents of the state--media, police, the legal system. Ultimately, the violence of the system is all that is there to fight its own "corruption" (this is how the system works this is not corruption this is what it is and why it must be demolished).

BJ deserved a better arc. So did every victim presented here save the white men that the story centers instead. This doesn't mean the story isn't good or that the message is valueless. It doesn't mean I didn't like it. But it bears mentioning that the creators of the films were complicit in this elision (creators including the studios and execs, as well as the directors and writers).