Friday, 20 August 2010

A Nightmare In Suburbia - Durham County Reviews

While I'm looking forward to the third season, in a thrill of anticipation, the Durham County DVD reviews of the second season keep coming in.

Anh Khoi from Montreal writes:

"Despite being the most violent and darkest crime TV series you're very likely to see, Durham County finds a magic way to put substance over grittiness. Besides, the show contains the best performance I've ever seen in crime dramas [...]
Like the first season, the second season of Durham County is magic. The writing is still first-rate. Above all, some will find that the second season's pilot has way less difficulty to set the tone because the "villain" doesn't have a dichotomous personality. Besides, in the second season, the TV series goes way further when it comes to dealing with violence. In fact, while the first season dealt with violence expressed in an extroverted way, the second one talks about people who commit it by manipulating other people [...]
...despite its very heavy topic, Durham County's charms lie in its way it depicts its gallery of disturbed characters [...]
expect to see a performance full of depth from the actors, especially from Michelle Forbes."

Full review here at anhkhoi.blogspot

Gary writes:

"[Forbes] played the role of Verity with such humanity and intensity that you totally understood her actions, even while finding yourself repulsed by them.
You see her doing reprehensible things, and yet much like Ray Prager in Season 1, you can almost see the method to the madness. And with Verity there was a definite sense of madness about her, a result of trauma in her past.
At one moment you find yourself empathizing with what she's gone through and what she's currently going through, and then you see her poisoning some chocolates to harm someone close to Mike and your feelings change, and you see that this same person you're sympathizing with earlier you can see her in her full on evil mode, and then you can STILL feel for her later in scenes where she's falling apart. It takes a special kind of actress to pull that off, and not just make a one dimensional villain."

Full review at

The Europeans, and here especially the German TV viewers, are a little late. Season 2 has yet to debut on 8 September (RTL Crime). All the more enthusiastic are the reviews of the S1 DVD set which just has been released in Germany. writes (translated by me):

"Durham County is a powerful piece of television, a drama, a thriller, a gloomy reflection of the Western middle class and its moral decline [...]
Durham County is the nightmare of a middle class suburbia. Thousands of nice small houses, surrounded by huge hydro towers which transport the convenience of civilisation to the County. The middle class lives here. Or are they just surviving? You can live here? Or do they merely close their eyes to reality? To the mortgages - for decades at the mercy of the banks? To years without prospects for the adolescents who, though living wealthy, yet don't see a bright future, a youth that generates odd little games whereby sex decays to a commodity and a murder in the neighborhood isn't daunting - but eventually a bit of excitement and variety? [...]
The first 4 episodes directed by Holly Dale are probably the best crime TV ever produced. The director remains an observer and leaves a judgement to the viewer. [...]
(On sound editing) A perfect sound is not a question of booms, it's the orchestration, the mixing, the sound effects ... in this series they are outstanding."

German source at

Update:: Give away of Durham County DVDs

* "To celebrate the end of summer, the The Cultural Post organizes its first give away of DVDs for fans of Canadian films and TV shows. [...]1rst Prize:
Durham County is a very dark crime drama that takes place in a fictitious suburb of Toronto. There's a killer in the suburb of Durham County and Det. Mike Sweeney (Hugh Dillon) tries to find him/her. Besides, Mike also deal with his inner demons. Note that Michelle Forbes delivers a legendary performance as a manipulator."
Source: anhkhoi.blogspot
"Since both prizes are zone 1 DVDs, the contest is only opened to Canadians and Americans." (quote)
Dear Anh Khoi, all Europeans are perfectly able to watch NTSC and region 1 DVDs. Just saying :)
24 August: Anh Khoi opened the contest to more regions: "... if you don't live in North America but can read zone 1 DVDs, then feel free to participate."

* DVD S1 review in the August issue of the German magazine 'Cinema': (translated by me)
A surreal suburban nightmare and a gloomy character study, with a Making-of well done [...] Suspense on its highest level.

(Original text: 'Surrealer Vorstadtalbtraum und bittere Charakterstudie mit einem gelungenen Making-of [...] Spannung auf höchstem Niveau')