Literature of the North Atlantic: Faroese and Icelandic Literature in a Scottish context

Literature of the North Atlantic: Faroese and Icelandic Literature in a Scottish context

University of Edinburgh, Wednesday, 18 February 2015.

Mads Bunch is the keynote speaker for this session which is part of the 2015 Nordic Research Network Conference.  He runs the Scandinavian Scholars Group on Facebook and is a mentor for and supporter of young and emerging scholars.  He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Scandinavian Studies and Linguistics at the University of Copenhagen.

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The talk was about whether there were similar traits in the way in which writers from the Faroe Islands, Orkney Islands and Iceland wrote in terms of genre, subject, nature, world view, characters and style in the 20th century.

We are provided with a history of a number of writers from the three islands and how most writers try to write.  In the 1980s and 1990s stories tended to be influenced from the Centre out towards the Periphery – it was rare to have the influence happen the other way round and influences from one periphery to another were non-existent.  Mads surmised that this might be because the islands were too similar so it was difficult to find any contrasts because the writing was coming from the same experiences.  There needs to be a significant contrast between identities and ways of living to find inspiration.

He talked about the “rugged zone” – a mix of old and new, nature and culture, spirituality and materialism – and how important it was that new styles of writing must be developed in order to encompass that hybrid experience.

He described the islands as Europe’s Literary Little Finger – and that each island did in actual fact have a different centre.  For Iceland it was the Saga tradition, then having Denmark as a coloniser until 1944, followed by the influences of the UK and USA military bases during the 2nd World War.  For the Faroes, it was Denmark then briefly the Latin American Magical Realism.  For Orkney it was the Orkneyinga Saga with a general orientation towards Norse and British influences rather than the rest of Scotland.

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Mads talked about the Saga Past being dominant in Iceland, but not the Faroes, and how it was still very much shaping the Orcadian literature scene.  It’s often said that the Faroese are the descendants of the seasick Vikings which might explain some of this.

In terms of genre – writers tended to write historical novels – a bit of fiction and some historical facts at the same time.  For nature, Orkney writers talked of men finding peace from the outside world when returning to the islands. He touched briefly on characters which were often more descriptive of the women, often portrayed as folklore creatures with their sexual allures.

The part I found most interesting was when Mads talked about the different writing styles.  For example, the Orcadian way of writing in a Saga style means there are no adjectives and often written from a narrator’s viewpoint.  In finishing off, Mads summarised that whilst Icelandic and Faroese writers were being influenced more by what was happening around them (9/11 and then then financial collapse) the Orcadians had not moved on – his view is that the Orkney writers are “pregnant with possibilities” and he’s keen to know what will happen next.

Questions revolved around one audience member who was keen to promote another Icelandic writer; another who remembered books being traded for other goods in her relatives’ houses; whether similarities could also be found in poetry and what differences technological advances had made to the way in which literature was being read and distributed.

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To be honest, I’d been hoping for an interesting talk, perhaps looking at particular authors and extracts from their books – perhaps how they described landscapes and how those compared across the Faroes, Iceland and Orkney; looking at the different animals or plants that were described in the books; or how the characters could be seen as similar (or completely different because of the differences in culture of these great islands).  However, on reflection, with this session being part of the wider university set of events, it was always going to be a bit more academic than that – I’d like to see Mads in a more informal setting, talking about these things in a much less theoretical way.

For the non-academic lay person (i.e. me) it was a bit dry.  In fact, if there had been some sand in the room, it wouldn’t necessarily have come as a surprise.  The vast majority in attendance seemed to have enjoyed it.

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Spiral – Engrenages Season 5, Episodes 11 and 12

Spiral – Engrenages Season 5, Episodes 11 and 12

So how will it all end?  Will the main characters all survive?  Will Roban’s nosebleeds come to something sinister? Will the murders be solved? Will Marianne return? Is there any chance at all that Laure will manage to not lose her baby? Will the viewing figures show that women stopped watching after handsome Pierre died?

One thing is for sure, on a night where the TV programmers in the UK torture us with The Voice and Take Me Out, two programmes which have taken ideas from Cilla Black’s long running show Blind Date, it isn’t going to be a Laure Laure laughs.

Despite it seeming to take an age to get round to Saturday evening each week for another double helping of Spiral, two episodes a week means that we have reached the end of the series tonight.  (I say again, a sixth series has already been commissioned).

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What’s French for dénouement?

So here we go.  Something to really get your heart racing on Valentine’s Day.

Karen (trying so hard to not refer to her as the boy with the dreadlocks) is visiting her family home with a birthday present for her little sister.  Her mum says they don’t want her there and sends her away.  Given we haven’t seen her mum in the series, we can expect her to feature again later.

Kim, following her dog mauling is recovering in hospital, but is not yet conscious.  Her mum tells Laure and Tintin that it was Karen and her cronies that set the dogs on her.  They go and search the now deserted flat they were staying in.  They find a picture of Karen with Sandrine’s kids and also the same drug that was in Lucie, Sandrine’s daughter when she was pulled from the canal.

The police in Bobigny, a north-eastern suburb of Paris catch the girl named France from Karen’s gang as she is threatening someone.  Laure wants them to release her so that she will lead them to Karen, but the Bobigny bobbies don’t want to.  Especially since she head-butted one of them when they arrested her.

Gilou is back!!

Laure calls Roban to ask him to arrange for France to be released.  He cuts the call short as he is in a restaurant waiting on someone.  What’s this?  A date for Roban?  He’s in a jumper for goodness sake!  But no!  It’s Marianne!!  She orders a coffee and he has some humble pie, admitting that there may have been some truth in what she said about him and his attitude.  He begs her to come back to work for him and tells her that he is useless without her.  In case this was making anyone feel good, it’s at this point that he has another nosebleed.  She asks if he has seen a doctor, but he says they will just say it is stress.  She will think about coming back.

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Djibril is meeting with Ziani.  He has been arranging for top of the range cars to be stolen and then given to Ziani, who puts diplomatic number plates on them and ships them to Libya.  Djibril says he is two short.  Ziani insists that they must be Porsche cars.

Laure is in the police station.  She is taking her belt off and looking at her swollen belly in the mirror.  And she has her hair down!  Tintin comes and tell her to come quickly.  They go outside and we see Herville in the back of his car and very drunk.  He doesn’t know where the steering wheel has gone.  It’s rare to see them all laughing.  Herville is singing Tintin’s name.  Herville had been having a drink with Gilou earlier, where he told him he was leaving.  He would head up a Unit that nobody else wanted.  Seems he stayed in the pub all afternoon.  Some light relief.  Things aren’t going to go well.

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After they take Herville home, where he mumbles about leaving and at one point asks Laure to help him pack, Laure and Gilou leave Tintin to get him in.  As they reach Gilou’s apartment, Laure tells Gilou it has been hard without him.  Gilou says that he doesn’t think she needs him and he doesn’t mind her going it alone, but he is fed up of her using him.  Have to say, I wasn’t sure that she was.  Gilou gets out of the car and Laure goes to follow him, but sees him embrace Cindy, so she leaves.

Josephine goes with Ziani to see Mendy and Roban.  Ziani seems completely disinterested as he plays with his mobile phone as they discuss what will happen to him.  They unfreeze his accounts and put him in custody.

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Laure and Tintin go to see hairdresser Laeticia, who they know used to share a cell with Karen, to see if she knows where she might be.  She says she doesn’t.  Karen of course visits her soon after and says she needs money and Laeticia tells her that the police are looking for her.  Karen sees Laeticia with the daughter of the hairdressers’ owner and asks if she is the daughter.  Kidnap alert!

France throws her mobile phone away as she gets out of the station.  But it’s ok, because the police are tailing her.  Nothing can possibly go wrong.  As they follow in cars, another inconspicuous surveillance van, on a scooter and on foot, Laure takes a call to say Kim has woken up.

Kim tells Laure that it was Karen who let the dogs out.  She also says that it was Karen, France and other gang member Fatou that killed Sandrine.  Sandrine had banned Karen from seeing Lucie again.  Karen had wanted to keep Lucie, but knew she couldn’t.  The canal had been France’s idea.

Laure phones Gilou to tell him to stop following France and arrest her.  Well he can do the first bit, as they have managed to lose her.

Judges Roban and Mendy are not happy when Machard tells them that he has released Ziani.  Apparently, relations between France (the country, not the gang member) and Libya are more important.  Machard rubs salt into the wounds by saying to Roban that “at least he won’t hang himself in his cell”.  Ouch.

Laure isn’t happy at the loss of France and still hurting from the jealousy of Gilou with Cindy, is blaming him.  Telling him that he has “messed up a bit recently” is pushing it a bit, given that he is the one that has been holding it all together for most of the case.

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Herville has most of the things in his office in boxes and continues his propensity to have the best lines when Laure asks him if he is having leaving drinks and he replies “Well, me and drinks…”.  Laure starts to tear up as he tells her to look after herself.

The police have found the squat that the gang are now living in, but there isn’t anyone there.

Karen and Fatou steal a van and soon they are bundling Laeticia and the hairdresser’s daughter into the back of it.

Marianne is back!!

Roban tells Laure that Bremont is to arrest Djibril for his involvement in stolen cars, and that they may still be able to get Ziani after all.  Laure tells Gilou and Tintin about the Crime Unit’s plans.  Gilou doesn’t think it is right to let that happen to Djibril and Laure says “but it is ok to shag his girlfriend?”.  She isn’t taking that well.

The hairdresser identifies Karen as someone who came to see Laeticia at the salon.  She has now received a call asking for ransom money for the safe return of her daughter.

Ziani is hosting a party to celebrate his liberty and thanks Josephine for her role in “ironing” things out.  Maurice, one of the partners at Edelman’s firm tells Josephine that she will get a position on the board of directors if she votes with them to dismiss Edelman.

As Laure and Gilou chat in the office, she takes her hair down again as she asks him what is happening with him and Cindy.  She has clearly watched too many shampoo adverts, thinking this is what makes men go weak at the knees.  (Although she does look better with her hair down).  Gilou says that the sex is good and they laugh a lot.  Sounds ideal.  Also, have you seen Cindy!!  He says that he thought they had a future together, but when he realised they didn’t, he wanted some fun.  Herville comes in and reminds them to do some work.

Djibril phones Gilou and says he needs to see him.  He asks for Gilou’s help to steal a car.  Not sure why he thought he would do this.  Gilou tells him that the judge has a file on him.  Oh Gilou.

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A meeting place has been arranged for the ransom exchange and the bag with the money will be filled mostly with paper and money on the top.  Although the hairdresser has been told to go alone and not involve the police, all the gendarmes in Paris are in attendance, but guess what?  Karen gets away with the bag.

Given the developments on the murder case, Stephane is reunited with his son.  Look, it’s all going to be happy!

The girl gang are very unhappy with the bag not containing much money.  The hairdresser’s daughter has an asthma attack and they film it and send it to the mother.  When she phones, she asks to speak to the police and tells Laure that they must pay up or the girl dies.  Her mother blames the police.

Laure gets Karen’s mother to come to the station.  She thinks that if she speaks to her, it may convince her to hand over the child.  The mother says that Karen was an accident and she wishes she had aborted her.  Nice.

Bremont and the rest of the Crime Unit arrest Djibril, but when they take him to the garage the cars were in, it is empty.

Edeleman is shocked when Josephine joins the board meeting and even more so when they say there will be a vote to dismiss him.  The vote has to be unanimous and Josephine votes with the rest of the board.  What has she done now!

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As Djibril smugly tells the Crime Unit that they have nothing on him, one of them plays a recording of Cindy telling Gilou how much she enjoyed their lovemaking.

Bremont tells Roban that there were no cars in the garage.  He also tells Roban that Djibril is Laure’s informant.  Roban hadn’t been told this.  The judge goes to see Laure and tells her that “anyone can betray me, but not you.”

When Karen phones the hairdresser’s mobile again, Laure puts her mother on the phone, but Karen hangs up on her.  The mother though recognises from the video of the child having an asthma attack that it is at a disused water park she took Karen to in her youth.

Cindy phones Gilou and tells her that Djibril has rung to say he is going to kill her.  Gilou tells her to lock the door and he is on his way.  As Gilou arrives, Djibril has just smashed through the door.  They start knocking lumps out of each other and Cindy tries to stop Djibril, but gets her head banged off the wall for her troubles.  Gilou manages to eventually get the better of Djibril and Cindy manages to run off.  (Hoo-ray!)

Tintin has conveniently waited until the fight is over to ring Gilou and ask “where the fuck are you?”  They are heading to the water park.  With the obligatory arsenal of armed police.

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Incidentally, do you think the makers of Spiral are Arsenal fans?  Arsenal of weapons is often displayed.  Roban looks like their manager (and Warhol and Ecclestone).  Given the propensity for head-butts this week, there might also be a homage to Zinedine Zidane.  I like to think they maybe have a soft spot for “Dirty” Leeds too, given the two perfectly executed sliding tackles we saw this week, which took out those being chased.

The police quickly manage to restrain France and Fatou, but Karen holds a knife to the child’s throat and is backing away from them until she gets to a railing at the edge of what looks like the Seine rather than a water park.

Laure puts down her gun and takes off her stab/bullet proof vest and edges towards the two.  Karen gets herself on the other side of the railings.  As she lets the child go, Laure lunges towards her and they both fall into the water.  Laure screams as she is stabbed in the stomach as they go over.

There is no sign of Karen’s body.  But we had been told that she couldn’t swim, so I guess that’s the end of her/him.

It shouldn’t have been funny when we see Laure in hospital and a doctor comes up to Gilou, Tintin and Herville and says “which one of you is the father?” but the expressions meant it somehow was.  The doctor says it doesn’t look good for the baby, but he thinks he can save Laure.  He says that they better phone the father.

Gilou goes outside and sobs before calling Bremont and saying that Laure is pregnant and is in the hospital, and it doesn’t look good, and that “She needs you”.

So that’s it.  Possibly the best series so far from Spiral, although the ending felt a little rushed and I think everyone who has watched Spiral knew that something would happen to the baby.  For me, the ending felt a little less fitting with the rest of the series and a bit more American TV drama.  Although without the happy ending of course.

I’ve already seen lots of people on social media expressing  shock at leaving things on “that cliff-hanger”, but I didn’t see it like that.  Laure will survive.  The baby won’t.  Eleven magnificent episodes.  And an ok last one.

Huge credit to the acting in this series with Caroline Proust as Laure just about bettering all-comers, but some excellent performances all round.

Lots of loose ends to address in Series 6, such as Roban’s nosebleeds.  Or the fate of the attack dogs.  And of course, will Cindy be back??

We are going to have to wait far too long for the Saison 6.

Issues:

  •  “He doesn’t move or talk” does not equal “He’s a vegetable”.
  • Seemed a bit silly for Laure and Tintin to talk about releasing France and tapping her phone in front of Laeticia.
  • Given their tailing history, could going to see Kim not have waited?
  • It has taken 15 years, but the Baha Men finally have an answer to the question in their hit single.
  • A bit over the top with the talking baby doll that Laure was holding saying “bye bye”. Think we all knew what that meant.
  • Karen stole a white van. White van man anyone?
  • When Bremont heard of Gilou and Cindy’s liaisons, did he really say “that’s none of our beeswax”?!?!
  • Gilou told Laure he thought they had a future together. Really?
  • The hairdresser told Laure she wanted to go to the ransom drop off alone. What, even though it wasn’t all money in the bag?
  • Karen’s mother recognised the water park where she used to take Karen as a child. Yet Karen couldn’t swim?
  • Roban in a jumper!
  • Notice how Roban doesn’t have nosebleeds when Marianne is away?
  • A baguette van? In France?
  • Why not put a tracker in the bag of money? (illegal or otherwise)
  • Cliff hanger??
  • Did it really take 3 of them to get drunk Herville home?
  • Herville is the best fake drunk I’ve seen in a long time.
  • Missing it already.
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Spiral – Engrenages Season 5, Episodes 9 and 10

Spiral – Engrenages Season 5, Episodes 9 and 10

Slightly later posting this week, as I had the temerity to be away at the weekend.  I’ll try not to let it happen again.

Judge Roban has summoned Stephane to his office again and asks those bringing him to take the handcuffs off.  Have you forgotten what happened the last time he came to your office??  Fake Marianne, Jean-Luc clearly hasn’t, as we see him move the scissors off his desk.  A wise move.

Roban asks Stephane if he knows Zach, but he says he doesn’t.  He also tells him that Zach was his dead daughter’s father.  Stephane seems surprised that he wasn’t the father.  Hmmmm.  Stephane talks of one birthday a present arrived for his daughter from prison, but Sandrine threw it straight in the bin.

Machard tells Roban that the Foreign Office are going mad about the visit to Ziani’s house.  He tells him that he was put with Judge Mendy to try and calm her down.  I can only imagine Machard hasn’t watched Roban in any of the previous series.

Josephine is at the office of Edelman and his partners and enters a meeting where they are talking about an envelope which was inside Ziani’s seized diary.  They need to get it back.  The ever practical Josephine suggests they ask for it.  She is tasked with this.

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Gilou is being questioned about his role in the unregistered tracking devices.  Alfonso is saying that Gilou had forced him to put the trackers on the stolen bikes.  Gilou admits that he asked him to put trackers on, but didn’t force him to do anything.  He says that none of his colleagues knew about it.

Laure visits the hospital for a scan and seems very taken with the heartbeat of the baby.  She is told that she is in danger of losing it if she doesn’t slow down and rest.  Doesn’t sound like Laure.

Roban and Mendy have had the request for the diary from Josephine.  As they try to work out the significance of the request, Roban finds the envelope.  Although it is not sealed, Mendy points out that they cannot look at what is in it.

Djibril tells Laure and Tintin that Bensimon is up for the printer cartridge heist, but they will need two cars.  Porsche Ceyannes.  Laure says she will see what she can do.

The boy with the dreadlocks (Karen) has another job for Laeticia, but decides to leave her be and use a different girl, Kimberley.  She is tasked with going to the warehouse and obtaining the departure time of the lorry carrying the cartridges.  She gets a lot more than she bargained for when managing to blag her way into the office, where she is horribly raped by worker Pascal.

Tintin plays the print cartridge buyer and seems to convince Bensimon that it is a good idea and a deal is made.

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Gilou is in a room with the cops investigating him, with Alfonso also there.  A recording is played of Gilou threatening Alfonso, which the latter has clearly taken at the time.  Things aren’t looking good for Gilou.

Josephine has got the diary back and has managed to see Judge Mendy’s file on Ziani.  Blood has been found of one of the irons taken from his house and his DNA is also on it.  She tells Ziani it doesn’t look good on the iron front and concocts a story for him where he had spilled on his tie and used the iron to dry it off.  (He would never do his own ironing).

Laure and co get ready to catch Zach and Bensimon when they rob the lorry with the cartridges, but of course it goes wrong.  Other police stop the lorry and Bensimon manages to escape and Zach isn’t even there.  And the lorry had food in it, not printer cartridges.

Zach wasn’t there as Captain Birdseye has him tied up in the boot of a car.  He hasn’t paid the money owed.  One of the Captain’s men starts hitting him.

Bensimon goes to Djibril’s bar to tell him it all went wrong and Zach must have grassed them up because he wasn’t there.  Djibril gives him some cash and there is Cindy (hoo-ray!) listening in.  Bensimon says that Zach isn’t answering his phone and Djibril tries, also to no avail.

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Djibril lets the police know that he now has Zach’s number and they quickly track it and follow the signal out into a field in the middle of nowhere where they find a badly beaten (and dead) Zach.  He has his mobile phone stuffed in his mouth.

Tintin and Laure get Marouane back into the office and tell him that Zach is dead and that it is him they are now after.  Marouane tells them that Zach had cried like a baby when he found out Sandrine had died.  He also tells them that he and Zach were in Morocco at the time of the murders of her and her daughter. This checks out.  So their prime suspect is now dead and hadn’t even committed the murders. Inspector Clouseau anyone?

Ziani has done a runner and not shown up to see Roban and Mendy as he was supposed to.  He seems to be holed up at the Libyan Embassy.  (Which isn’t a snooker competition).  Roban, of course, had looked in the envelope and tells Mendy that it was for a transfer of a huge sum of money.

Laure asks Josephine to defend Gilou.  Quite a step given Josephine’s aversion to the police and her previous one woman crusade to uncover police corruption and her previous dealings with Laure and her team.  This is, of course, a form of corruption too, given that his bosses are hanging him out to dry.  Laure tells Josephine she wants her because she is “a pitbull”.

Roban visits Sebastian, who deals with financial issues.  He advises the judge that he had investigated Ziani’s funds before but had ultimately been told to back down.

Laure had experienced pain in her belly again and told Josephine about her pregnancy.  We are treated to her checking for blood on her knickers again.  This time though, she is speaking to the unborn child.  “You scared me you little bugger.  Stay with me”.  Awwww.

The police have items of Zach’s and are sending them for fingerprints and DNA tests.  He had 17 fractures.  All to his face.

Gilou is shocked when Josephine turns up to defend him when he is to appear in front of a judge.  He says he is not a grass and won’t say anyone else knew about the trackers.  The judge reckons she has enough to charge Gilou.  Josephine says she wants to have a confrontation with Gilou and his bosses (Herville, his boss and the Commissioner.)  When this is refused, she says she will appeal.  She later tells Laure this is a bluff to try to get them to back down.

The piece of paper that Kimberly had written down the lorry times on, which the police had recovered from the lorry debacle, has a print which matches one from Sandrine’s daughter’s shoe.

Laure and Tintin race off to the printer cartridge factory to find out who had been at the warehouse that could have got the details.  Pascal shows them the CCTV and they see Kimberly arriving.  He explains she had come looking for a job and had left soon after.  Laure soon works out that there had been sexual relations and he says she came onto him, but the CCTV footage shows her running out afterwards to her waiting car.  (The car has fake plates on).  He is taken to the police station.  Ha.

Gilou, who isn’t to talk to his colleagues or go to work goes home to find Cindy outside his flat.  Despite everything that’s happened, I’m sure it all must be worthwhile as he has sex with Cindy.  Djibril is not going to be happy if he finds out.

Laure goes to see Stephane in prison and asks about the present that he told Roban about that had arrived for his daughter from prison.  He doesn’t know who it was from and is annoyed at her for putting him in prison in the first place.

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Djibril meets Gilou.  He tells him that Zach has been killed.  Gilou tells him he has been suspended.  Djibril is concerned about people hanging about outside his bar.  Gilou investigates and finds out they are police.

Laure phones Tintin’s wife and says that he loves her and she should give him another chance.  Tintin is surprised when he is told that his wife is downstairs the next day.  He tells a colleague to piss off when asked if he can get the car back from her.  Not quite the reunion he had hoped for when she tells him that she is leaving him.

Edelman tells Josephine about a transaction which will allow French businesses to set up in Libya, which is worth a lot of money.  Ziani is the middleman.  Roban and Mendy have frozen his funds so he will go to see them if they release his funds.

Laure spots that the plates on the car Kimberly was in are not the same front and back and manages to work out what they should be. They trace the car as stolen.

Herville goes to see his boss and the Commissioner and is offered a job heading up the armed police unit provided he sticks with them and says they know nothing about the shady deals being done by Gilou and co.  Herville goes completely against character and says he couldn’t look at himself in the mirror and will tell the truth.  The case against Gilou is dropped.  Hoo-ray for Herville!

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Laure and Tintin and their grey-haired colleague go to the house of the woman whose car was stolen that Kimberly was in.  It is the same estate that Karen lives in.  They find out that the woman is Kimberly’s mother from a photograph and use the mother’s mobile phone to text Kimberly telling her to come home.

As Kimberly nears home a boy on a bike informs her that the police are at her house.  She goes straight to Karen’s and tells her.  Karen says she must stay there and not go home.  Kimberly is worried about her mum and runs from the flat heading to her home.  Karen and her friends give chase.  Karen stops at a van and takes a key from the wheel arch and opens the back doors.  Two huge rottweilers appear and chase after Kimberly and catch her and savage her badly.

As Laure and Tintin wait in the flat, they hear sirens and go outside to find Kimberly with lots of blood and bites on her.  She is still alive though.

As Laure interviews the dog’s owner he says that only a few people know where the key is.  Including Karen.  Laure will be seeking her out very soon!

Only one week to go.  I have no idea how I’m going to cope when this ends!

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Issues:

  • Can we not get to see Judge Mendy with her hair down?
  • Quick Jean-Luc! Hide the scissors!
  • A new record. 20 minutes in before we saw Laure eating.
  • You could argue Gilou should have been up-to-date with his Union subscription, or you could say if they were that rubbish, he was well out of it.
  • Not sure how wise Roban was telling Stephane that his daughter wasn’t actually his when he was not handcuffed. Remember he tried to commit suicide before?
  • Great scene where Laure steals a biscuit from the Union rep’s office before leaving, after she had hacked his computer.
  • Who were the police that chased after the lorry when Laure and co were about to pounce? Were they police?
  • Is there more to Cindy than meets the eye? (And what a lucky eye it is).
  • Amazed that Laure didn’t go for Marouane when she asked if they had flown to Morocco and he said “no, we swam”.
  • Did Sebastian really say to Roban “Good luck old chap”??
  • Whose print can have been on the note? Kimberly? Karen? Bensimon? Pascal?
  • Given Karen’s previous spell in jail, her fingerprints would be on the database.
  • Gilou came out of questioning and walked through his colleagues like he’d just scored the winner in the cup final.
  • Je suis Gilou.
  • Seemed a bit of a leap that Laure immediately got that Pascal had had sex with Kimberly.
  • Djibril almost strangled Cindy for wearing revealing clothes. What will he do if he finds out about her and Gilou?
  • I did say she would die soon.
  • Would Laure really not have contacted Gilou?
  • Are the police hanging outside Djibril’s bar really police?
  • Yet to see Herville in a car with Tintin. Been waiting all series to use ‘Herville’s adventures with Tintin.’
  • The union rep’s password on a Post It note in the drawer. Even more authentic genius!
  • Particularly brutal episodes.
  • They didn’t even have time to give Roban a nosebleed. Lulling us into a false sense of security?
  • Line of the night from Herville – “Trouble is like bog roll. Once you pull, it just keeps coming”.
  • Second best from the same character – “First I’ll have a slash, then I’ll see the Commissioner”.
  • Not sure Tintin’s wife getting a call from his pregnant colleague claiming to be the reason her husband is late home every night is a good idea.
  • To prevent his wife leaving, Tintin should have arrested her for stealing a police car.
  • Can I get a lawyer for the dogs?” Priorities.
  • Cindy doesn’t even mind someone needing a shower. *sighs wistfully*.
  • How did Cindy know where Gilou lived?
  • Did Kimberly get the details wrong because of the trauma of the rape? Did she get it wrong on purpose? Did Karen?
  • If Josephine helps the dog owner, that will be a pitbull representing rottweilers.
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Spiral – Engrenages Season 5, Episodes 7 and 8

Spiral – Engrenages Season 5, Episodes 7 and 8

Remember the dreadlocked boy that was with Laeticia last week? Well a few of you took great delight in telling me that the “dreadlocked boy” was actually a girl. Takes me back to the time where I thought a male acquaintance of mine was gay after he had a string of partners called Chris (Christine), Nick (Nicola), Lee (Leigh) and Dave. Ok that last one isn’t true, but still.

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We begin in the morgue with a very dead Pierre lying there with Josephine and Laure looking at his body.   And some of you didn’t believe he was dead. There is no clemency for Monsieur Clement. Pierre’s parents arrive and you can see it was his mother he got his looks from. When the parents ask if they know if Pierre had a girlfriend, Josephine says she doesn’t know.

Roban arrives at his office to see a cleaner mopping up Pierre’s blood in the corridor. Bug-eyed Machard tells Roban that Pierre’s death will have an effect on his ability to fairly deal with the case and that the Vice President wants him to stand down. Roban wants to stay on and manages to convince them that having another judge help will solve the problems. He asks for Judge Mendy, who was removed from the case so he could do it. She isn’t happy but pretty much has to do it.

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More bad news for Roban as Marianne says she is taking some time off and doesn’t know if she wants to work for him anymore. She tells him he used to be about fairness. He is now so aloof and arrogant that she can’t take it anymore. After losing Pierre last week, this is too much!

Josephine is in Pierre’s flat. She finds a door plaque that has his and her names on from their old office. She is in his walk in wardrobe feeling his clothes. Smelling his shirts (does he not wash them?) and doing a lot of crying.

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The new caring, sharing Gilou continues his new persona by asking Laure how she is after Pierre’s death.

Sandrine’s parents, the Delormes are back at the police station and Mrs Delormes is complaining to Laure that they do not have custody of their grandson. She highlights what his dad Stephane has done now, after the events which followed his kidnapping of Pierre.

Tintin and Gilou are at a phone shop where they have traced the mobile phone that Laeticia had binned. They discover that Sandrine had been in the shop several times buying phones. Including seeing CCTV footage of her buying the sim card in question.

Karen, the boy with the dreadlocks, goes to give Laeticia her money for luring the bank bloke last week, and she says she doesn’t want it. Karen grabs her by the throat and tells her that she will do as she is told.

The police manage to track the phones that were sold to Sandrine and pick up upon a meeting that is to take place in a burger joint. Here Tintin and Gilou look incredibly suspicious with their earpieces and speaking into the mic on them. They hit the jackpot when the elusive Zach comes in and speaks to Captain Birdseye about a drug deal. The cops are too far away to hear what is being said.

As Zach leaves the restaurant, they follow him in two cars, but of course manage to lose him. Tintin gets the blame for this as his wife has taken his police issue car (and the kids). Laure and Gilou seem to forget the other car is out of action because they crashed it.

Zach gets back to the flat he is staying in with his partner in crime, Marouane. If you needed any other evidence of their evil, Marouane opts to play as Manchester United on the computer game they are playing

Herville tells Gilou that one of the illegal trackers they were using has been discovered on one of the scooters they were bugging, after the scooter was involved in an accident where a teenager was killed. Gilou goes to see his pal Alfonso at the garage and warns him to get rid of anything dodgy as the scooters will be linked to his garage.

Tintin tells Laure that he knows she is pregnant. It is obvious because “look at the size of your breasts”. I, of course, hadn’t noticed this. The lack of political correctness continues as Gilou goes to check up on the police car being fixed and greets the mechanic with “Hello poofter”. Tut. (Not sure of what translated from)

Gilou goes up to Djibril’s flat to eat some sushi. There, Djibril’s girlfriend Cindy (wow) is about to go out and he tells her she is not wearing that as it is too slutty. He ends up grabbing her by the throat, pushing her up against the wall and Gilou has to intervene. She changes then leaves.

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Josephine cuts off a lock of her hair and puts it in one of Pierre’s suit pockets. She knows his parents are going to come round to get a suit for the funeral, so she bags up the rest and puts them in the recycling.

The police have managed to trace the car Zach was driving to a hotel in an industrial estate, so it is raid time again. Pretty much all the gendarmes in Paris are in attendance, heavily armed. They are not sure what room it is, so Gilou and Laure do a recce. Zach spots them and hides and texts Marouane. As Gilou discusses with the receptionist, Laure heads upstairs and sees Marouane coming out of the room and gives chase. Despite the number of police, they don’t have anyone round the back and he manages to disarm her. Fortunately for Laure, Gilou and the rest of the cavalry arrive. Zach gets away, but they have Marouane and the money stolen from the banks.

A eulogy at chambers is held for Pierre, where the Chief Justice is speaking about him in front of the biggest picture of Pierre, or anyone, you have ever seen. He says that his passion “shot him down”. I thought it was that bloke outside Roban’s office?

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Josephine and Laure go for a half lager together. Given their contemptuous relationship in the past, it is quite a surprise to see them together, but they need to lean on each other. Josephine says “if Pierre could see us now”.

The police interview Marouane who answers “no comment” to everything. After his lawyer leaves, they almost seem to be getting through to him when they tell him about his implication in the murders, but he holds firm.

Gilou has to go and get Djibril out of police custody after he was arrested for being in possession of a stolen car. He claims he was left with it after providing it to a gang that was going to do a job stealing printer cartridges. The gang had been nabbed.

Laure and co discover that the room that Zach and Marouane were staying in was being paid for by a Samuel Bensimon. They get Djibril to go to the bar and say he was on a job with Marouane but he got caught. He tells him about the printer cartridges job and says he is planning it. Samuel seems to bite.

Judge Mendy asks for Roban’s help in a case against a Mr Ziani, a businessman accused of unregistered employment of workers and beating one of them with an iron. Mendy, Roban, Laure, Gilou and Tintin go to the luxurious house and tell Mr Ziani (and his very pretty wife, Agnes) they are going to search the premises. Roban finds a cupboard which has crammed beds in it and they also take 2 irons. Tintin identifies Ziani as the man Djibril met when he followed him last week.

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Laure discovers that the Delormes used to be foster parents, but had their licence revoked. After some digging, she discovers that there had been an accusation by Karen (dreadlocked boy) that the father had interfered with her when she was being fostered. This was then retracted. (Although still completely horrible, he maybe thought “Karen” was a boy too). It really all does link in Spiral. Nothing is there just for the sake of it.

When Laure goes to get Karen, she and her cronies have just robbed a well-to-do woman of her designer shopping and given the woman a bit of a beating. Karen explains to Laure that she was taken in by the Delormes when she was 14. She eventually reveals that it was Sandrine that was being abused, but Sandrine and the parents forced her to retract her accusation.

Laure calls the Delormes in and her, Gilou and Tintin interview the husband. He keeps repeating that he didn’t do anything. Laure goes to Mrs Delormes and tells her that he has admitted to abusing his daughter. She folds and says that was in the past and what about the custody of her grandson? Mr Delormes confesses once he hears what his wife has said. Entrapment anyone?

Josephine is going to tell the Chairman that she is leaving the bar, but Roban convinces her to stay on. Edelman has given her the job of representing Ziani. Roban will probably regret convincing her to stay on after she manages to get her client out on judicial supervision when Mendy and Roban wanted to detain him. Edelman invites Josephine to work for him and gives her a lot of money following her work with Ziani.

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A touching moment between Laure and Gilou when she asks what kind of mother she would be which ends in the pair hugging.

Cindy, Djibril’s lovely girlfriend, tells Gilou she wants to press charges after her boyfriend’s assault. As this would take away their snitch, as he would go to jail given his previous misdemeanors, Gilou arranges for the form he gets her to fill out to be filed in a drawer for the time being.

After some DNA testing, the police discover that Zach is in fact the father of Sandrine’s daughter, which would maybe explain why Stephane doesn’t appear to care much for his now dead daughter.

Roban finally shows some compassion for Stephane and visits him in prison and tells him not to give up.

Djibril has set up a meeting with Samuel, where Gilou is going to pose as the buyer of the printer cartridges. As the ubiquitous surveillance van sits outside Djibril’s bar with Tintin and Laure on board, there is no sign of Gilou. That’s because he has been arrested for conspiring to trade stolen goods. Herville remains tight lipped as Gilou is taken away.

Is there anything better on TV than this?

Apologies for a lengthy read. A lot happened this week.

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Issues:

  • Was that a new haircut from Marianne? Did she decide on taking a holiday because she didn’t like it?
  • Are the makers Arsenal fans? Wenger hybrid Roban and Machard looking like the father of Mesut Ozil.
  • Laure’s pregnancy cravings appear to have started. She is craving absolutely everything. I think she was eating in every scene she was in.
  • Saw much more of Tom with Laure and co this week. Is he the Pierre replacement as female eye candy?
  • Someone needs to look at the police budget. Not enough cars, but they have about 100 police ready whenever there is a raid.
  • For the second week in a row, Gilou says “aren’t you a bit close” when following in a car. They always do it like that!!!
  • Tintin had a can of beer in the office. I want to work there please.
  • And Judge Mendy was internet shopping in office hours too.
  • Hands up who knew that Gilou was going to throw Laure’s cigarette away? Ok, you can all put them down now.
  • I really hope they don’t have Laure and Gilou getting together.
  • Especially because the last episodes are due on Valentine’s Day.
  • Is Judge Mendy ultimately going to be Roban’s replacement? Those nosebleeds don’t look good.
  • With the amount Laure is eating, are we sure she is pregnant and not just putting on weight?
  • As well as drinking every week, Laure was also smoking this week.
  • Advertising Eastenders between Spiral episodes. Really??
  • I wonder how many women have written in asking for the giant picture of Pierre used in the ceremony for his death.
  • Did Laure’s “Don’t shoot, I am with child” mean that she is now starting to care about it?
  • How big were Pierre’s shirts?
  • For clarity, my man boobs are ever increasing, but this is a beer belly, I’m not pregnant.
  • Thought Roban was going to burst into song when he said to Judge Mendy “But I sent you away (Oh Mendy).”
  • Just how good is the acting? (Mrs Delorme aside).
  • You can tell that Cindy is going to be killed by Djibril because Gilou didn’t deal with her complaint against him. So I’m going to try not to get too attached to her. (Won’t be easy).
  • Herville also found out Laure was pregnant. Did he hear her shouting it to Marouane? Or did he spot the increased boobage too?
  • With the additions this week of Judge Mendy, Cindy and Agnes, they are appeasing the women pining for Pierre by having lots of good looking women.
  • Why was Zach and Marouane’s room being paid for? They had all that stolen money.
  • If I wasn’t a giant, I’d be looking for the bin with Pierre’s suits in.
  • Ironically, given that what I said about Pierre’s parents, Pierre’s father was played by someone with the same surname. Perhaps his real father?
  • Was Josephine’s name misspelled in Laure’s phone?
  • Remember I said in the issues section of my first blog that incest would be involved?
  • The actress who plays Cindy is called Fanny Valette. I’m not sure if she has previously been a bond girl.
  • “Lovely taps” – Roban.
  • It isn’t easy to get a French woman to give up her designer goods.
  • I don’t think anyone could argue that Laure is positively glowing.
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Spiral – Engrenages Season 5, Episodes 5 and 6

Spiral – Engrenages Season 5, Episodes 5 and 6

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“Some strong language, violent scenes and sexual scenes from the start”. But they didn’t warn about the spider. The thousands, nay millions out there who have arachnophobia wouldn’t have been impressed with the start of episode 5. A rather large spider crawling across the shoulder of a man. But who is this man? Well he is the one sharing a cell with Stephane. Who looks to have hung himself.

Djibril, the owner of the bar Royal Pacha tells the police that the man known as Blanco is Cederic Gouzet. As Laure, Gilou and Tintin question him in the police station, Tintin is a bit overly harsh with him, which Laure tells him off for. Tintin doesn’t trust Djibril. I think we can all see why.

Pretty Pierre is visiting Stephane in hospital who has survived his suicide attempt. Some marvellous sympathy from the model solicitor as he tells him to “pull himself together” and then, the even more ill-judged “hang in there”. Monsieur Clement does not appear to have received any mental health training. (Although translation may play a part in that).

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As Judge Roban tells Pierre that he needs to stop caring so much about his clients, the Judge’s nose starts to bleed. This happens again later. It would seem a stroke or a heart attack may be on the way for Wenger/Eccelstone/Warhol.

Gilou has found out that the jewellery being stolen is taken to a mansion which someone called “Papa” runs. There is a foundry at the back of this house where the stolen goods are made into gold bars. The Commissioner wants a raid in the morning before he goes away for a few days and wants to invite the media to attend the raid. Herville of course says this will be ok.

After Djibril comes good in obtaining Blanco’s mobile number, Gilou and Laure are tracking the number in their car. Technology seems to be letting them down and then they manage to run into a car, which is being driven by him! Without revealing their identities, they manage to sneakily obtain a fingerprint and pay him off for the accident. The car he was driving is a car rental used by Stephane’s company. His fingerprint doesn’t match the one taken from the shoe of the girl in the canal.

Josephine has a new client. A young girl, Laetitia, who is already in prison who has been caught with a big supply of cannabis in her cell. Her original crime had been arson. She tells Josephine that her friend is a dealer and she was keeping the drugs for her. And she won’t snitch.

Tintin goes home and upon opening the door, hears all manner of conversations and kids screaming and leaves again. He decides to sit outside Royal Pacha and watch the goings on. He is also drinking. He is woken by Gilou ringing asking where he is. It’s raid time.

As usual in Spiral, the French police go in mob handed with all kinds of firepower. Papa’s mansion, which looks remarkably like The Creepy Coupe, driven by The Gruesome Twosome in Wacky Races, is full of people. As Laure and Tintin go round the back of the house, a dog starts to lunge towards Laure barking its head off. Tintin, playing the role of Dick Dastardly, shoots it dead and we see that it was chained up. No Muttley laugh here. They see a man trying to climb over the wall to escape and manage to apprehend him. They do manage to find gold bars in the foundry at the back. Herville and the Commissioner stand in front of the cameras saying how great they are. The media focusses on the shot dog.

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Laure tells Roban about Blanco and the connection with Stephane’s firm. Roban isn’t happy she waited 3 days before telling him. He tells her to arrest Blanco. Marianne gives him a withering look.

Josephine performs well in court and manages to get Laetitia off. She was just about to have a parole hearing, so this would have stopped her getting out of prison.

Laure is having problems in rearranging her termination in Holland and there is to be quite a wait. She goes to see her pathologist friend and tells him of a “friend” who is pregnant and wonders if he has an abortion pill she can have. She is told about how this many weeks in, hands and feet will have started to develop. Laure says she will tell her friend this.

Laure and Gilou are back in the surveillance van watching Blanco’s car. When their colleague turns up who is going to put a tracker in the car, it is too late as Blanco comes back. They follow him and sit in the van outside the building he has gone into.

Unbeknown to the two, the man whose calls they have been listening to on Blanco’s phone is in the building, and he gives Blanco a real kicking. (Blanco had dissed this man on the phone and refused to meet him). Laure and Gilou then see an ambulance arrive which takes a severely beaten Blanco away.

Laeticia is out of prison. She goes to her mum’s house, but her mother doesn’t answer the door to her. A young dreadlocked boy speaks to her, but she says she isn’t doing those things again, whatever they may be. She tries to find accommodation, but ends up back at the boy’s when unsuccessful.

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Gilou and Laure go to see Blanco in hospital. He of course recognises them. They explain they have pictures of him at the raid which is linked to the murders and that he will be charged for both. He tells them (off the record) about the man who had been on the phone and who gave him the beating. His name is Zach, sometimes known as “Nutjob”. (Sounds nice). Blanco identifies Sandrine as an acquaintance of Blanco, but when they tell him who she was, he retracts this.

Tintin answers the phone to his wife as he enters the office, telling her he is on a stakeout in Reims with Gilou and won’t be able to pick up the kids. As he arrives at his desk, she is sitting at it. Oops. She storms out. Laure gives him a sorry look.

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After Tintin stakes out Djibril again and follows him, Djibril tells Gilou that he can’t be their informer as Tintin is spying on him. When Gilou confronts Tintin about this, they have a fight in the office. Stationery goes everywhere! It’s not the best fight ever.

Gilou, Tintin and Laure go to visit a flat that Zach was living in, that had been set up by Sandrine. They find in the rubbish equipment for making a fake bomb.

Pierre has made it through the first round of Bar Council elections. He is being congratulated by everyone including a Mrs Perez, who is absolutely stunning. When she appears to dismiss Josephine, the green eyed monster becomes a green eyed monster. When she sees the smarmy lawyer that won in the case against her last week, Eric Edelman, she suggests they go to dinner. He has already sent her flowers saying he was impressed with her abilities. He tells her that she shouldn’t be representing widows and orphans and that the truth doesn’t matter. Josephine, still trying to turn over a new leaf, tells him she doesn’t need careers advice and leaves.

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We see Laeticia with the dreadlocked boy and Zach. She is to go and chat up a man pointed out by Zach. She gets him to his flat then texts Zach where it is. As the man puts his hands all over her, Zach and co arrive and give him a beating. This man has the keys to several banks and Zach makes him go and take all the euros out of them, while the fake bomb strapped to his chest convinces him that he will be blown up if he refuses. The man is later found dead.

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Roban wants to see Stephane. After both Laure and Pierre have said to the Judge about Sandrine’s possible involvement, but nothing on the record, he wants to ask him about any relationship with Blanco. He is also choosing to ignore his suicidal tendencies. Despite this Roban does not believe him and when he tells the accused that he will not be getting out or seeing his son, Stephane snaps. He grabs a letter opener from Marianne’s desk and holds it to Pierre’s neck and starts to back out of the room. When he gets into the corridor, officers have guns pointed at him. Pierre grapples with Stephane and gets partly free as one of the officers fires. But he hits Pierre!

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Josephine is listening to her messages on her mobile and listens to one from Pierre saying he loves her and wants to live with her. She phones back and someone else answers and says he has been shot. She rushes to the hospital, but is forced to stand outside as the doctors and nurses try to save his life.

Laure receives the news and races to hospital and finds a numb looking Josephine in the corridor. The two women break down and fall to the floor in each other’s arms. Pierre is dead!!!

Wow. Completely unexpected to me, especially with it increasingly looking like Tintin and/or Roban aren’t looking good. Truly magnificent TV.

Issues:

  • Laure’s football manager coat is becoming the new Sarah Lund’s jumper.
  • The phone call where the woman tells Blanco to “bring kebabs” and he replies “No, pizza” and she is ok with this. Pizza instead of kebabs? Not even close!
  • Gilou, who seems to be the only one with his head screwed on this series, was taking pictures of a couple making out!!
  • A great look from Josephine when Laeticia told her she was “expecting a man”.
  • “Gird those loins”.
  • Great acting from Audrey Fleurot as Josephine when phoning Pierre to be told of his shooting.
  • When Laure was holding her stomach as they looked in Zach’s trash, was that the baby kicking? Or is it too early for that?
  • What was with the “off the record” interviewing of Blanco in hospital?
  • Tintin shooting a dog. Be afraid Snowy!
  • Sure there is more to the arson case involving Laeticia than was described.
  • Gilou up for promotion?? Really? His drug taking and shady dealings can only have been months ago!
  • Excellent scene with Bremont and Laure when she thought he was talking about the baby when he said “our kid” about the snitch.
  • Was the man Laure and Tintin caught trying to escape the mansion Papa? I’m not sure.
  • They certainly don’t go out of their way to show the nice bits of Paris.
  • Tintin has a picture of Gilou’s face on his mobile phone screen when he calls. Wonder what comes up when his wife calls?
  • Did the subtitles really translate ‘as-salaam alaikum’ as ‘Hello mate; how are you?’
  • Where were the sexual scenes we warned of at the start?
  • They have the RSPCA in France?
  • Marianne really needs to have serious words with Le Juge.
  • It seems they overbought fake blood this series.
  • If ever an office needed a team building course it’s this one.
  • The nurse didn’t seem to be trying very hard to get Pierre’s heart started.
  • When Laure and Gilou followed Blanco in their van, Gilou’s “this is risky, he’s going to spot us” made me laugh out loud. They always follow right behind.
  • Josephine’s reformed self is likely to go very quickly now.
  • Laure really needs to buy some bigger trousers.
  • I’m sure I heard thousands of women screaming “Noooooooooooo!” when Pierre was shot.
  • For those struggling to cope, I don’t think there is a helpline specifically set up to help deal with his passing, but I believe he is also in Mr Selfridge.
  • He was far too handsome anyway.
  • Was Laure really eating cheese singles?
  • I’m not sure of the time of year this is set, but I hope Laure gets a brush in secret santa.
  • Does anyone else feel emotionally drained after two episodes?
  • Is Pierre really dead?
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Son of a Gun – Film Review

SON OF A GUN

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After obtaining free tickets to see Son of a Gun at Cineworld in Edinburgh through The List magazine, I find myself at the Fountainbridge cinema on a Tuesday night.  All I know about it is that Ewan McGregor stars.  I’d opted not to research the film beforehand, so it was all a surprise to me.

It’s taken 6 years since winning a major prize at Cannes for his short film Jerrycan for Julius Avery to make his first feature film. He is also screenwriter on this Australian film.

The lead role in the film is taken by former Home and Away actor Brenton Thwaites, whose star is very much in the ascendancy, having already appeared in films with Angelina Jolie (Maleficent), Laurence Fishburne (The Signal), Jeff Bridges and Meryl Street (The Giver), and the Helen Hunt comedy Ride.  He plays JR, sent to prison for a relatively low level crime, the details of which we never find out, whose pretty boy looks (he is supposed to be a slightly hard to believe 19 in this.  He’s really 25) bring him to the attention of the prison abusers.

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JR is left with a dilemma.  Be subjected to all manner of invasions of his body, or accept the offer of protection from long term prisoner and thief Brendan, played by Ewan McGregor.  This protection will of course come at a cost.  When JR gets out, he must help Brendan and his cronies escape.

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Invariably, he decided to seek Brendan’s protection and subsequently helps them escape.

So after going to prison for a six month stay, JR is now effectively on the run from the police for much more serious crimes.  That, however, is not the focus of the film.

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While the film is essentially a prison drama/crime film, it seems to be trying a little too hard to come across as a Hollywood blockbuster.  All the clichés from the genre are here.  Bad guy who seems to unofficially run the prison, daring escape, car chase, forbidden love, drug taking, sex scene, double crossing etc etc.

McGregor is reported as saying he reads a lot of film scripts which are just versions of other films, but this one was different.  It didn’t seem very different to me.  McGregor uses his own accent in the film, although his heritage is never explained.

To throw in another expected turn, a job of the “one last job” variety manifests itself, and despite them all being on the run, and with safehouses procured, they seem to roam about pretty freely.  Will they pull it off?  Will some or all of them get caught?  Will JR stay away from Tasha? Will they remain loyal to each other?  Will you care?

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While Brenton Thwaites will likely go on to bigger things, despite sounding like a Yorkshire bitter, and actress Alicia Vikander, who plays Tasha, will continue to be cast in films with ever increasing budgets, it seems like a strange one for McGregor.  The fact that it seems a little out of his comfort zone is maybe why he found it a bit different, as he is cast as the hard-nosed bad guy with a temper and a vicious streak.  A bit of a departure for him, and not one that he was entirely convincing in.

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Jacek Koman threatens to steal the film as crime kingpin Sam, but the character doesn’t really develop, and you find yourself not really caring about him too much.

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It’s not all bad though and it rattles along at a fair old pace, with the Hollywoodesque parts trying hard to hold your attention.  It is also worth pointing out that I am possibly not the target audience this is aimed at, and it is unlikely I would have picked this as something I’d go and see.  I just think I was looking for something that grabbed me a bit more, and as a directorial debut, Avery could maybe have tried to be a little more original, but I suppose the more commercially acceptable it is, the more likely he is to get funded for another one.

It wasn’t awful, but it seems like it could easily be instantly forgettable.

Thwaites and Vikander won’t find it difficult to find themselves on teenagers’ bedroom walls, but hopefully will have more challenging scripts to show off their real acting prowess in future.

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The film arrives in UK cinemas on 30 January 2015.

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Spiral – Engrenages Season 5, Episodes 3 and 4

Spiral – Engrenages Season 5, Episodes 3 and 4

This having to wait a week malarkey is not good.

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The saviour of Saturday night TV has arrived again and on an evening which includes The Voice, Star In Their Eyes, Take Me Out and Celebrity Big Brother, making it until 9pm without having poked your eyes out is quite an achievement.

BBC4 at 9 has long since been the only decent thing on my telly on a Saturday evening and a night in usually involves whatever series I’m watching on DVD or a film to get to there. Whilst whatever is at this slot hasn’t always been brilliant (I just can’t take to Montalbano at all) there have been some great programmes. Spiral is up there with the best of them.

We begin with the woman who was found in the canal, Sandrine and her daughter lying in the morgue (both looking remarkably clean and fresh) and Sandrine’s creepy parents looking at the bodies. Husband Stephane arrives, much to their chagrin, and an argument ensues before the husband pushes them out. He bends down to his dead wife and whispers “I’m sorry”. As we continue to discover, he has a lot to be sorry for, but this seems like a fish of the crimson variety in terms of her murder.

Laure and Gilou are interviewing Sandrine’s schizophrenic brother, Olivier. Asking why Stephane’s laptop was in his freezer, he asks them what else a freezer would be for. This might explain why my laptop freezes so often. They seem to be making progress after bribing him with a packet of cigarettes and he says he knows what was on the computer, but his paranoia prevents him from telling them. The doctor confirms that he was at the facility he lives in during the time of the murders, despite what he said last week.

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The Police Commissioner is telling the heads of Units that a spate of jewellery heists have been taking place and that there needs to be focus on this. Herville, seeing the chance for brownie points, volunteers Laure and co. They clearly have nothing else on the go.

Judge Roban tells Josephine Karlsson that the police car involved in the crash has been repaired, but he is going to stage a reconstruction and get an expert in to do it.

While the police wait for news on whether or not their IT expert can recover some of what was on Stephane’s hard drive, Tintin reflects that what with the brother’s brain, “that’s two broken hard drives”. Spiral has always had a bit of undertone of not being politically correct and I’m sure we will see more of it. Given this was in reference to a computer, you could say it was both PC and not PC.

As Laure phones a clinic in Holland to book in for her termination, we are treated to her beginning the conversation in English. This seems to happen in all foreign drama at some point, but it is short lived as the person on the other end of the phone can speak French.

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Handsome Pierre has decided to stand for the Bar Council, but his candidacy is in trouble as another candidate has complained about Pierre not giving him a requested case file. Pierre later admits to Josephine that he had lost the file when moving offices. She comforts him by taking him to bed. She then goes above and beyond by explaining to the Chairman of the Council that she had lost the file. This would potentially get her into major trouble, but she uses her considerable charms on the Chairman to the extent where he praises her honesty and says he will sort it out. It would seem that nobody can say “not tonight Josephine’.

Gilou and Tintin are watching CCTV of the jewel thieves, and them ram raiding a cashpoint. The CCTV man is impressed with the surroundings and asks how they get an office like this. Tintin replies “set off a bomb”. Very dark.

Gilou and Laure track down a girl who seemed to be implicit in stealing the car that was used in the ram raid and are staking out bar Royal Pacha where the woman had picked up the man whose car it was. The girl leaves the bar with her friends and Laure approaches them on foot. When she approaches them, they give her quite a kicking. Proving once and for all that The Clash’s old adage “I fought the Laure and the Laure won” to be incorrect. Gilou catches up and manages to catch and arrest the girl.

For the second week in a row, we see Laure going to the toilet to check for blood on her groin. There isn’t any this time, despite receiving several blows to the stomach. In typical Laure style, she tells Gilou that “those bitches might have saved me a trip to Holland. No such luck”.

After meticulous examination of the CCTV, they have a clear shot of most of the face of one of the gang, which the girl in custody tells them is ‘Blanco’. The gang spend most of their time driving around Paris on scooters and the police know where they congregate. Herville jumps the gun wanting a quick result and although they catch some of them, they are all too young and they don’t have enough to get a conviction. There is also no sign of Blanco.

Finding Blanco is becoming increasingly important, as his fingerprint was also found on the shoe of the girl who was in the canal.

While the police suspect the owner of the bar of being involved, it turns out that he is a police informer working for Laure’s ex Bremont, who may be the father of her unborn child. Laure doesn’t want to have to speak to her former squeeze, so they try to make him their informer and essentially blackmail him to get this to happen.

SP22

Roban’s expert has convinced him that it was the police car that had ran down the police officer and decides to charge the two officers involved. Josephine will be the lawyer for the dead officer’s wife. Given how inappropriate some of the cast are at times, it seems a missed opportunity that there is no comment on the expert being a dwarf. It all seemed to get a bit David Lynch for a moment.

The IT expert has managed to recover some videos from the wiped hard drive of Stephane’s laptop. They contain hardcore porn videos which Stephane had directed and filmed. It seems that he has a pornographic website that shows amateur videos. As they show Roban one of the videos, his lack of reaction suggests he has seen it all before. As the police interview one of the female stars of the videos, she tells them that they included gang bangs and scatological scenes. (Defecating for those not in the know). Hardcore indeed.

Despite Josephine managing to persuade the man originally accused of running over the policeman of testifying in court, Kevin, the smarmy police lawyer manages to cast doubt on the testimony of the expert. Although Kevin says in court that it was this man that recommended the lawyer he used, who told him to say it was he who ran over the officer, the judge says there is not enough evidence, which hits the widow hard. Her husband is dead but nobody drove the car which killed him.

SP24

Pierre has done enough for Stephane to be awarded custody of his son, but Roban tells the woman responsible for making the decision about his film making antics.

The police discover that Stephane had a second mobile phone and after getting a record of the calls, they find that calls were made in the area of the murders on the night they happened. He is arrested and put in custody. Given that his toddler son has also said to the police that his daddy used to hit his mummy hard, it’s not looking good for him.

Sp26

Laure, increasingly disheveled, gets a lift from Gilou to the train station to head to Holland for her termination. Gilou is doing all he can to help her, while her relationship with Tintin is falling apart. After running for the train, she answers her phone as she gets on, and the bar owner says that he knows Blanco and wants to talk to her. Laure jumps off the train just before it departs……

Do we really have to wait another week?

Issues:

  • I really wouldn’t like to get arrested in Paris.
  • Laure is always right and she thinks Stephane is not guilty.
  • Do you not need a ticket to get a train in Paris?
  • Is Gilou perhaps Robbie Williams’ dad?
  • 90% of men have porn on their computer? Nonsense. It’s much higher than that.
  • When did Roban get all blind & prejudiced?
  • Roban should just look and see the looks his wonderful secretary Marianne gives him to know if he is right or not.
  • The French pronounce “gang bang” “gong bong”
  • No, Stephane has never filmed miners, it’s usually repair men.
  • Could a Renault Megane go fast enough to knock someone over?
  • ‘The human soul is a bottomless pit’ was a great line from Judge Roban.
  • But I don’t think Spiral can ever top the scene of Gilou and Tintin doing Muppets impressions.
  • Even though the literal translation of ‘crapaud’ is actually ‘toad’.
  • What’s French for mardy?
  • Great camera work in the new police building, but they could use a lift.
  • Really don’t think Laure would have one of those infernal “keep calm” posters in her office.
  • It’s amazing how much they all seem to be stuffing their faces in this.
  • Amazing subtitles of “Is the Pope a Catholic?” when “It is obvious” was said.
  • Similarly, Kevin’s friends telling him not to be a pillock was a stretch.
  • Are the French police really still using fax machines?
  • The Surveillance van would have been as well having ‘Surveillance van’ written on the side.
  • I hope Tintin is going to get through this. His cries for help are being universally ignored.
  • Laure persuaded Gilou to go for a drink when he didn’t want to. After seeing her ex in the bar, she decided not to go (there must be no other bars in Paris) then Gilou went anyway!
  • The number of times we see police officers putting their guns in their drawers is taking up about 10 minutes a night.
  • Why would Stephane hide the website from his wife if it was above board? Well I’m not sure she would have been impressed and he had two young kids.
  • How come the Shisha-bar informer called Laure not Gilou?
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