Broadchurch: A review even though I'm late to the party


So I'm a little slow on the uptake with this one.
I had been told of the hype surrounding the series, the Twitter frenzy and the shock when the mystery was finally solved.
I had not, however, been told, 'who-dunnit' - the culprit behind the murder in the first episode.

I got myself the DVD recently and have become obsessed.

Tonight I will watch the final two episodes of series one, so I thought I would write my thoughts, my guesses and ponderings on the series. At least before the final 'denouement', and any potential disappointment that may ensue. 

Here goes:

First of all, it is beautifully shot.

With strong references to the recent Scandinavian 'noir' thriller / murder mystery genre - such at The Bridge (Bron Broen) and The Killing (Forbrydelsen).
The use of slow motion, de-saturated / stylised colour tinted shots of the mundane - in a way that makes it sinister. Paired with haunting music, and angles not often seen in UK film or television - or even any conventional visual at all.
Things like the images of playing children, slightly out of focus, sounds of laughter made eerie due to the context of a murder story.
The theme music is, again, reminiscent of The Bridge. Nicely designed titles (Helvetica maybe?) and the use of lighting throughout, is the definition of skill. Beautiful, but also helpful in telling the story in a clever and symbolic way. My only quibble would be that it is at times perhaps not entirely realistic - but then again, the artistic should probably prevail.

The plot is complex.

Above all it is a story of a community falling apart. The way in which a tragic incident can push any existing cracks deeper, and create toxic suspicion amongst almost everyone.
Whether the murderer is caught or not, is almost irrelevant, compared to the real issues of human interaction and interweaving lives. I say almost.
Suspicion is thrown from character to character from the off. Whether it be through a lingering stare, a worried glance, a shaking hand, or a camera shot that appears to be watching them from a hedge or afar.

The acting is superb.  

David Tennant in the lead as DCI Alex Hardy: a damaged and surly police officer, placed at the small seaside village of Broadchurch in unclear circumstances, with what seems to be a complicated and uncomfortable history. He plays the frustrated and secretly deeply pained detective so subtly and believably that he is quite possibly the most relatable character.
Olivia Coleman is DC Ellie Miller, a mumsy, over-compensatingly bubbly and kind local police officer. After a day-to-day life of petty criminals and small drugs problems 'on the estate' as she says - she is plunged into a freak murder case, which she finds herself inextricably tied up in. Coleman's acting is nuanced and fierce. She delivers the comedic lines with impeccable timing.
The mother of the murdered boy - Danny - is Beth, played by a seriously talented actress, but shamefully one that I've never heard of. She is powerful and highly charged in the way that she portrays severe grief in all it's forms.
All the acting is very well observed, and the actors have been well-cast.
Really impressive stuff.

I would say that the only weakness would be that some characters are maybe a little over-the-top or a tiny bit unbelievable - for example the hot-shot journalist would probably have been a little more sly in her prying. Or maybe I just don't know investigative tabloid journalists well-enough.

The rapport between Miller and Hardy is really well-written, and the development of their characters is clever, and as ever in a murder mystery - key to the solving of the case.

If I was to guess:

(I already predicted a few little things - hurrah!)

*warning - spoilers*

I think that Ellie Miller's husband did it.
I am not sure why exactly yet, but I think the boy - Danny- must have seen something that he shouldn't have. Tom (Ellie's son) said he "hated Danny" - even though everyone thought they were friends. Tom was deleting messages on his phone and computer. Danny did not like his own dad (Mark), and said he "knew stuff" about his dad, on his social media profile. I think that Danny's dad and Tom's dad were up to something together, and Danny told Tom this. Tom then hated Danny because Danny was accusing his (Tom's) dad of something? Then Danny went to investigate. (I didn't explain that very well).
Mr Miller is the only character that has not properly been suspected, and I think the plot is complex enough that it will be somebody obvious yet hidden. Tom (Miller's son) seems almost weirdly scared of his dad, and there are tiny clues that seem to show Mr Miller as defensive.

Susan is the creepy lady in the caravan park with the dog. She has some sort of history, where she seems to have changed her name from Elaine to Susan. She saw something the night of the boy's murder I think, and so did Nigel (Mark's apprentice).
I think that Nigel is Susan (Elaine)'s son perhaps? Or hates her because he knows about her past.
Nigel is very loyal to Mark, and might be trying to cover for Mark in some way (other than the thing that we have already discovered about Mark having an affair with the Australian hotel owner).
I'm not sure quite why Susan/Elaine would be covering for Mark, or anyone. (Unless Mark is her son?)
Why did she have Danny's skateboard? She seems to have some creepy thing for young boys, so maybe Danny was visiting her alot? (but unrelated to the murder case?)

Danny's body was moved from the beach house along the coast (in what has been speculated to be a boat - belonging to Ellie Miller's nephew - a junior journalist) to another location on the beach, below a cliff - and faked up to look like a fall.
What are the motivations for that?

In the first episode, I thought it might have been one of the journalists trying to create an exiting news story, but that doesn't really make sense now.

The grandma of Danny (Beth's mum) is breaking a little under the sadness and stress - but I think her character is too 2-dimensional, and I can't think of a motivation for her.

The case worker / liason officer guy is much the same.

The Australian women from the hotel has already sort-of fulfilled her role as the reason for Mark to be out late, to expose the family falling apart, and to rescue DCI Hardy from being collapsed in his hotel room. She is the only one however at the moment that knows that he is ill.

The minister from the church is young and also taught IT / Computer stuff to the kids at the school (including Tom and Danny), he is slightly suspicious as the recovering alcoholic, but now that he has been in for questioning, it seems that it would be too soon for him to be the murderer. I think he might end up with Beth though. And I also think he will be key to getting back that evidence from Tom's computer.

Danny's sister and her new older boyfriend is suspicious, but I think now that the parents know about it, it is less of a scandal.

The question still remains - when the police searched their house, they found cocaine - which Danny's sister owned up to - saying she was keeping it for a friend - which turned out to be the Australian lady. But they also found a great big wad of cash. She did not own up to that. I think this was Mark's. I think this is related to what Mark (and what I am suspecting Ellie Miller's husband) is involved in.

There is also this creepy guy who claims to get 'messages' from Danny / other dead people. I really don't know what that's about. The police think he is motivated by money, but I'm not really sure he is.

Ellie Miller's nephew (the journo boy) has a mother (Ellie's sister) that seems to be not coping very well with the divorce or whatever with her husband. She is in denial about her spending and has had the bailiffs out. She said to Ellie that she knew / saw something relating to Danny, but wanted money before she said anything. So, naturally Ellie dismissed her. But perhaps she did say something and this will become key later?

I have literally no idea.

This is all mere speculation and could be totally madly wrong.

I'm going to have some tea now, watch the last episodes, and maybe cringe badly when re-reading it later.


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