I know I'm supposed to be watching Orange is the New Black and I'm getting there, but first I watched Jane Campion's Top of the Lake on Netflix. I enjoyed it, thought it beautiful and atmospheric, wasn't too put off by its "weird for the sake of being weirdness", and liked the way the story unfolded and plot points simply fizzled out.
But the reason I am writing about it here is because I'm really interested in the performances by Peter Mullan (Matt Mitcham), Jacqueline Joe (Tui), and Holly Hunter (GJ). I thought all three of them were riveting- the performances where there was nowhere else to look when they were on the screen. And I thought a lot about how they did that. In Holly Hunter's case, the character was awful- speaking in platitudes when she did speak, stomping around mysteriously when she didn't- but I thought she was great. I'm interested in how she took what was an awful part and made it great.
Mullan and Joe were riveting because they made their characters so interesting, so alive. Hunter you knew was acting but was saving something from disaster. Mullan and Joe pulled that trick of being so inside a character, you didn't even know they were acting. I admire both of these skill sets and love to see them in action and think about them a lot as a writer. How do you take a poem that's flawed or a setup for disaster and save it? How do you imbue a poem with so much of its own life and energy it doesn't feel like a poem anymore?
Top of the Lake is definitely worth a watch but these three actors were what made me watch it so quickly, what made me gulp down their moments on screen.