Jane Campion's much anticipated new mini-series Top of the Lake has premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to glowing reviews. Screen industry bibles Variety and The Hollywood Reporter have both published lengthy dissections of the six-hour series, which was filmed in around Queenstown and Glenorchy, and have particular praise for Campion's vision, and the uneasy tone created by the juxtaposition of a beautiful landscape with morally ugly people.
"This multi-stranded crime saga ... is satisfyingly novelistic in scope and dense in detail. Yet it also boasts something more, a singular and provocative strangeness that lingers like a chill after the questions of who-dun-what have been laid to rest," says Variety's Justin Chang.
"It should prove an enticing proposition for fans of investigative dramas in the vein of Twin Peaks and The Killing, even though the yarn's less procedural-oriented nature and primary focus on a rape case provide early clues that Campion and co are treading different thematic territory here. But by far the material's most distinctive element is its setting, a wooded region of stunning natural beauty and surpassing human ugliness that lends a uniquely bleak and bitter tang to this well-worn genre format."
Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy also makes the Twin Peaks comparison, and calls the show "an edgy, disturbing and altogether first-rate crime drama ... A classic example of a story unfolding in a gorgeous setting that hides no end of squalor, depravity and corruption under the surface."
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The show will begin airing in New Zealand on UKTV from 8.30pm on Monday March 25.