#3. Top of the Lake. d. Jane Campion, Garth Davis. UK/New Zealand/Australia.
With equal parts Prime Suspect and Twin Peaks, Jane Campion and Garth Davis’ Top of the Lake revitalizes the television mini-series (which has been in decline in recent years), exploring the abundant possibilities of the non-serial long-format narrative, co-produced by the BBC and aired on HBO in the U.S. earlier this year following its official premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. In essence a mystery involving the failed suicide attempt of a young pregnant girl, Top of the Lake’s scope expands to the dark treasure trove of secrets, lies, drugs, and sex that rests beneath a small town in New Zealand with haunting and rather devastating results. The entire cast is uniformly great, but special mention should be given to Peter Mullan, as the grizzly father of the pregnant girl, and Holly Hunter, re-teaming with Campion as the mysterious, reluctant guru of a commune of damaged women who take up residence in “Paradise,” surrounding the portentous lake.
Top of the Lake is available streaming in the U.S. through Netflix.
With: Elisabeth Moss, Peter Mullan, David Wenham, Thomas M. Wright, Holly Hunter, Jacqueline Joe, Jay Ryan, Kip Chapman, Sarah Valentine, Matt Whelan, Cohen Holloway, Skye Wansey, Geneviève Lemon, Robyn Malcolm, Madeleine Sami, Alison Bruce, Lauren Dawes, Robyn Nevin, Mirrah Foulkes, Luke Buchanan, Jacek Koman, Oscar Redding, Lucy Lawless