Author Topic: Prime Suspect, American remake  (Read 2014 times)

Mandos

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Prime Suspect, American remake
« on: December 10, 2011, 06:52:37 PM »
Been watching a few episodes of the American "Prime Suspect" remake.  Of course, the fact that it consists of "episodes" in the form of an American-style seasons should tell you how much of a remake it is.  The substitute for Helen Mirren is Maria Bello, and it's set in New York, and it's a little bit prettied up. 

I don't think that Bello is the new Mirren.  She does a good job, but very few actors have Mirren's gravitas and screen presence.  Mirren has a sort of old-fashioned "elegance" to her that Bello just lacks.  It's hard to describe exactly. 

So, it carries forward some of the themes, particularly the woman in a man's world, workplace harrassment aspects of it and the dilemmas of being a woman in a hyper-macho profession.  I find that it's a bit...caricatured in this new one.  In the BBC one, Jane was everywoman, and her male colleagues were a resentful everyman.  The American Jane is not quite everywoman, but her rivals are all enormous testosterone apes of a certain sort.  It makes the sexism seem exceptional and a little harder to believe. 

In American Jane's personal life, there is a boyfriend who is also a bit of a too-good-looking also-testosterone-ape guy, who is also used to highlight some of Jane's dilemmas.  Boyfriend has a child from a previous marriage and is still fighting about custody details with his helicopter-mom ex-wife, who of course is not only nonplussed by Jane, but nonplussed by the fact that her son's stepmom-to-be is in a dangerous profession where everything can't be locked down.   But she too is a bit of a caricature.  The episodic nature also means that, so far, the kinds of massively complex overarching plots and social commentary we find in the BBC one is...somewhat weaker.

In sum, while I actually like it on its own terms, well...I'm pretty sure that Helen Mirren would never have made it if she had to start in the USA, nor the BBC series as a whole.  It's not possible to use a subtler hand with more ordinary-seeming people on American networks.  Still, Bello is definitely trying, and the acting is good and the plots interesting.  But it's not Prime Suspect...

lagatta

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Re: Prime Suspect, American remake
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2011, 07:53:37 PM »
I remember one of the men in such a series (might have been Prime Suspect, or another one) sitting on his bed, sewing on a coat button that had come off. The sort of thing that can easily happen in British series, but never US ones. They have ironclad buttons, and always find a parking spot when need be.

What Mirren was going through was thoroughly normal some decades back. I'm a decade younger than her, but still remember it, and the male colleagues were certainly not testosterone apes (though perhaps they might have wanted to be so).

No desire whatsoever to see that remake. I might like to see a remake in an utterly different cultural context.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
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sparqui

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Re: Prime Suspect, American remake
« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2011, 09:13:06 PM »
I wanted to hate it but I actually liked it. I really found it completely different from the original with Helen Mirren. A very different beast.

It seemed more like a cross between "L&0 SVU" and HBO's "Saving Grace" - hell maybe a bit of Kyra Sedwick's "The Closer" thrown in. There was nothing at all reminiscent of the original British production and maybe that's why it kind of worked well. I thought it was worthy of continuing but I think it was axed.

It was so much better than the remakes of "Cracker" or "Life on Mars". These two crime dramas were too literal in trying to recreate the original dramas. The US "Prime Suspect" didn't even try. And for that I give them kudos.
If my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a tractor. -- Gilles Duceppe

 

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