Monday, October 18, 2010

TV review – “Underbelly: The Golden Mile” (2010) **1/2

Underbelly Two had a great story that wasn’t very successfully realised; this one simply doesn’t have enough story to sustain it’s running time. What might have made an entertaining four hours (maybe give at a stretch) is dragged over 14 episodes. So we have endless scenes of people walking around Kings Cross in slow motion, or those irritating photo montages. Cops do something corrupt and go out for a meal, then do something corrupt again and go out for another meal, etc etc. Emma Booth as Kim Hollingsworth is let down by men something like four times - you get sick of the character. (In the long run, a hooker turned cop isn’t that interesting.)

The series has it’s good points: Emma Booth was really good (it’s not her fault she’s in such a repetitive story), Firass Dirani is a star in the making as John Ibrahim (who comes out of this very nicely), Cheree Cassidy’s bogan whistleblower was a little different as a hero. There are some good episodes where things actually happen: like Dieter Brummer betraying his fellow cops and the final segment with DK’s boys going nuts (which feels tacked on). But there’s too little of it. And many of the cast are simply not up to the job: Brummer is too young (in a sketchy party – the Trevor Haken episode of Australian Story was a lot more interesting), Diarmind Heidenreich and Daniel Roberts are disastrously light-weight as cops (when Wil Traval joins the police force and they cut to them, it’s laughable) (NB I wasn’t that wild about Paul Tassone either but at least he has a decent moment slapping Cassidy); the characters are generally too simple (eg Trevor Haken’s wife in Australian Story sounded interesting but Natalie Bassingthwaite’s character here is just another “why are you never home” type). Underbelly are getting over-confident in their casting of soapie actors in roles – really good actors like Matt Day are wasted on the sidelines.

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