Jane Campion’s TV Series “Top Of The Lake” Monumentally Tedious.

Jane Campion's Top Of The Lake.

Jane Cam­pi­on’s Top Of The Lake.

You’d be for­giv­en for think­ing that Jane Campion’s Top Of The Lake, cur­rent­ly on BBC2,  was the lat­est daz­zling­ly orig­i­nal and unashamed­ly intel­li­gent series to grace our TV screens. It’s not.

There’s plen­ty of plot. In so far as there are numer­ous inci­dents. There are char­ac­ters, some fine act­ing, and it’s all beau­ti­ful­ly shot. New Zealand has rarely been ren­dered as atavis­tic or as alien. But there’s absolute­ly no dra­ma what­so­ev­er. Things hap­pen. Some­times they’re explained, often they’re not. Because Cam­pi­on clear­ly has no inter­est in what you or I would call a “sto­ry”.

Or to put to anoth­er way, by reject­ing the tra­di­tions of a hope­less­ly out­mod­ed patri­ar­chal con­struct, Aris­to­tle’s absurd insis­tence that every sto­ry should have a begin­ning, mid­dle and end, she can free the female form from its reduc­tive reifi­ca­tion and reach instead for tran­scen­den­tal revelation.

What you get in oth­er words are a bunch of male and females stereo­types who just hap­pen to occa­sion­al­ly meet.

If she wants to explore gen­der pol­i­tics – and she clear­ly does – she should do a phd.

Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw in Jane Campion's "Bright Star".

Abbie Cor­nish and Ben Whishaw in Jane Cam­pi­on’s “Bright Star”.

The rea­son it’s been get­ting all these inex­plic­a­bly pos­i­tive reviews is that female crit­ics are so hun­gry to cham­pi­on any­thing that’s made by and for women, they’re ren­dered com­plete­ly pur­blind on the rare occa­sions that they get to see any.

Whilst their male coun­ter­parts are so keen to sport their lib­er­al cre­den­tials they feel com­pelled to play along. Mike Hale, who reviewed it for The New York Times here, was an hon­ourable exception.

Cam­pi­on should stick to male pro­tag­o­nists, as she did in the won­der­ful Bright Star. Because when­ev­er she deals with women, she has an uncon­trol­lable urge to lec­ture. Poorly.

You can see the trail­er for Bright Star here.

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