Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cracker - The Mad Woman In The Attic

Cracker - The Mad Woman In The Attic; TV crime, UK, 1993; D: Michael Winterbottom, S: Robbie Coltrane, Adrian Dunbar, Barbara Flynn, Christoper Ecleston, Geraldine Somerville
Eddie "Fitz" Fitzgerald is an alcoholic, broke and overweight forensic psychologist who is detested by his wife and his two kids. One day, a woman is slashed on a train, the second in the series of a serial killer. An unconscious man is found on the railroad and claims he doesn't remember anything because he suffers from amnesia. When the police is unable to find any evidence against him, Fitz is brought on the case to have a chat with the elusive man. With the assistance of DS Jane, he helps the man remember his name is Thomas and finds the real killer and stops him from another murder.

"Cracker - The Mad Woman In The Attic" marked the birth of the cult classic character, Dr. "Fitz" Fitzgerald, and is considered by many to be *the* TV crime film that has not been topped since, despite numerous episodes of "CSI" and "Profiler". Competent and skillful direction by Michael Winterbottom as well as a clever screenplay gave "Cracker" the "stuff" it needed to become a legend, yet one most not forget the lifetime performance by Robbie Coltrane as Fitz, an untypical forensic psychologist; for one, the episode starts with him about to hold a lecture in front of numerous students. Fitz just shows up, says: "Spinoza...", throws a book, continues: "Descartes...Freud...Hobbes...Locke...Adler..." and keeps throwing one book after another into the audience (!), until over a dozen books are lying on the floor and he says "Lecture over!" He then returns for a moment to the puzzled audience and tells them they should "first feel what they really feel, not what others tell them they should feel" before they read all of those books. In another scene, he asks his son and his daughter to lend him money in order to pay for his cab. The notion that a sloppy individual may exceed in excellence on some field has been tried already, yet it doesn't seem too fake here, whereas despite a mild finale and some unusual decisions, this episode intrigues and feels genuinely real.


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