In the conclusion of the Red Riding trilogy, Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1983, director Anand Tucker weaves in flashbacks to create the most fulfilling film of the three and redeems two main characters featured throughout the films.
West Yorkshire is again struck by a missing young girl which is linked to a 1974 case. The corrupt police investigate the man who found the girl in the 74 case and torture him in their attempt to get information regarding the most recent missing young girl. When the torture fails, it’s learned that the man “hung himself” presumably over the grief of being caught. The main focus of this film is Maurice as played by David Morrison. What the plot essentially boils down to is Maurice is a part of the corruption of West Yorkshire and while he’s tried to help Eddie in the 1974 film it’s revealed, he hasn’t been able to do enough to save the young girls from the real killer who is still on the loose, yet protected by important friends and title. Maurice is not let off the hook in this film as he’s shown to be in the middle of some awful events where he essentially chose to look the other way. The other main sub-plot of the film is with lawyer, John Piggot who seeks out Michael, the convicted killer from the first film in the trilogy. Michael reveals that not only did he not commit the crimes he was accused of, the police instructed him to confess or else he would never see his mother again and given Michael’s mental handicap, this would have been especially difficult on the young man. With Piggot to guide him, Michael eventually reveals the real killer behind the three films, a conclusion Maurice has known for years and the two men head out for the climax of the film.
While I enjoyed the visual style of the second film more than this one, it’s not a contest as to which film of these three had the best story. Finally inside the corruption, we examine Maurice and the choices he made throughout the years depicted in these films. From the tips he gave Eddie, to the cruelness he showed towards Michael, this is the most fully realized character I’ve seen in quite some time. David Morrison as a performer is not someone I was familiar with but in this film in particular he was fantastic. Some of the looks he has in the film are haunting while others are heartbreaking. He’s able to give the character so much depth with his expressions and this film really benefited from his performance. While the actual killer was pretty straightforward as he’s been known really since the first film, the way that each character came to this revelation was rewarding. While I won’t say this film rivals some of the great trilogies of all time, these are three very well made films that I would happily watch again and again.